Yay! Our favorite time of year has finally come y’all! Today marks the first day of Fall Sixteen!! And I am so excited for (hopefully) cooler weather and all the year-end holiday festivities. But before I get ahead of myself and into shopping for Christmas already (ha!), there is one other festivity I am so looking forward to this time of year too, Connor’s Birthday! It’s on October 8th and it’s only her second one so we still get pretty excited about it! We did it up pretty big last year for her 1st and one of my favorite parts was planning her “Cake Smash”! And today actually marks the anniversary of that shoot, so I wanted to share a few of her adorable photos and a few tips for any parents out there planning one for their little one too!
So what is a cake smash?
If you are a new parent with any type of social media, (especially pinterest, or instagram) you are probably already familiar with what a cake smash is. But just in case you aren’t here’s a little info on what its all about. I am not sure how the trend got started a few years back, but it’s just a fun and unique way for parents to mark, celebrate, and commemorate their child’s first birthday. It’s a modern spin on traditional 1st birthday photos and can be done at home, at a park, or anywhere you’d like. The objective is basically to take adorable photos of them playing, eating, and “Smashing” their “1st Birthday Cake”! — You know, the way babies would plan their 1st birthdays if they could! lol!
So here are 5 Things You Should Keep in Mind as You Plan the Perfect Cake Smash
- Theme & Location: Choosing a theme was one of my favorite parts of planning a cake Smash for Connor. In choosing a theme I thought about her personality, her favorite activities, where she was most comfortable, in her element (like the park or at home) and her birthday party theme. And because her first birthday party was a Pow Wow themed event, I envisioned her Cake Smash to be a bit rustic, outdoor, and tribal themed too! Other fun theme’s I’ve seen are princess/prince themes, nautical, or Woodland themed. The possibilities are endless! I recommend checking out Pinterest for some awesome theme inspiration!
- Outfit(s): Once you’ve selected a theme it’s a bit easier to plan babies outfit accordingly. If your little one loves taking photos like my Connor, you can do a couple of different outfits, or you can keep it simple with just one look (for the actual cake smash photo). Some of the most popular outfits for girls are: tutu’s, frilly dresses, and sparkly onesies, and for boys: bow ties, hats, moccasins, and suspenders. So cute! The beauty of it all is that you can make it as elaborate or as simple as you wish.
- Props: Now Here’s the really fun part, choosing the props! Based off of your theme, choose at least three props (and at least one that ties in your theme). Here’s a couple of prop ideas:
- Balloons – They always add a nice touch and will make your photos looks super festive. You’d be surprised how creative you can get balloons too!
- If it’s a princess or prince theme, choose a kiddy friendly crown and maybe a string of pearls.
- Banners – If you are feeling crafty you can even make your own banner from construction paper or tissue paper. Or Esty is a great place to buy one.
- Etsy also has so many amazing shops where you can find all sorts of fun, unique and inexpensive props! – I ordered Connor’s Tee Pee from River Song Studios (they have since migrated to their own website) a couple of weeks before her shoot, and it was the perfect statement piece for her photos.
- Oh! And of course, don’t forget the cake! You can make or buy a cake. I’ve seen personal sized cakes, oversized-cupcakes and even vegan cakes! *I’ll let you in a little secret: we purchased Connor’s at Albertsons for like $20 bucks!! 😉
- A Photographer: If you have a good quality camera and you are comfortable using it, you totally can shoot the photos yourself! I don’t recommend taking the photos with a cell phone (lol!) but taking them yourself or finding a friend who can would be the least expensive route. We enlisted photographer & friend Victor Flores to take Connor’s, and I am so pleased with how they turned out! Also Because I wasn’t taking them myself, Hubby and I were also able to jump into a shot or two (which some parents like to do for these shoots as well).
- A Good Time: I mean this literally and figuratively! The key to getting good photos of your little one is timing! I’ll say that again, Timing is key! Choose a time of day where they will be most happy, agreeable, and relaxed (say after a nap or a meal). This makes for a better time for both you and baby! In hindsight, I am happy we did Connor’s photos a couple of weeks before her birthday to allow the photographer time to edit, and because she had just barely started walking/standing. These are some of the other time considerations that might be helpful for you to think about while planning. And the most important thing is to allow them to have fun, explore, and for things to not be forced! Play, sing songs, and keep some snacks on hand to get those picture perfect shots.
*A photographers note: Timing is also key in terms of lighting for your photos. If you are taking the photos yourself, a great tool to use is the free Magic Hour App that helps you find the best time of day for lightening based on your location.*
Gosh! I still can’t get over how beautiful Connor’s photos came out!
Flowers & Floral Crown: Petals & Pop Shop
Photos by Victor Flores Photography