Birthdays are all about cakes and photos. But seeing a baby covered head to toe in buttercream frosting makes for the best milestone photos. Here comes the cake smash trend that recently gained a lot of momentum as a fun way to mark a baby's first birthday.

But there's more to celebrating it than just letting a baby nosedive in a pint-sized cake—parents also want to capture the fun with pictures of the special occasion. This ultimate guide will help you set the tone and make that baby cake smash photography a breeze with the help of some tools such as VanceAI.


What Is Cake Smash Photography?

For someone totally unfamiliar with the idea, the concept of baby cake smash photography may seem absurd. And why not? After all, what's the use of ordering a perfect birthday cake, dressing your child, and then watching him smash it and get messy? However, cake smashes are garnering more attention and bringing families together in a unique, joyful, and memorable way.

  • Cake smash photography became popular as a way to mark a child's first birthday. This fun session includes your baby, his birthday cake and absolutely zero rules. No matter how weird it sounds, parents actually love seeing their babies having their way with their birthday cake.

From cake-covered hands and faces, giggles, and messy outfits, cake smash photos create the best memories for both the parents and children to look at and cherish for years to come. Because babies are unpredictable, it's a lot of fun to see how the images turn out in the end and leave you wanting more.

What Things Do You Need to Prepare?

As a cake smash photographer, you need to have the following cake photography essentials on hand,

  • A cute backdrop for kids: Pastel backdrops, for example, work nicely and complement the style of a cake smash photoshoot. If you're looking for a certain theme, though, you won't have any trouble getting a colorful, themed backdrop.
  • LED lighting: To effectively light your setting, you'll need two portable LED lights.
  • If you plan to take shots from different angles, you'll need an adjustable tripod.
  • A multi-tiered cake: Choose a cake with 2-3 tiered tiers and a soft buttercream frosting.
  • Extra props and decorations: For example, you might use balloons or flowers to jazz up your set or put bunting with the child's name on the backdrop behind them.
  • Cleaning supplies, such as baby soaps and towels, to help clean up the mess later.

Best Cake Smash Photo Ideas

Here are some cake smash photo ideas to help you prepare for a successful cake smash session.

1. Learn the Art of Distraction

Babies can be tricky to deal with, and sometimes getting them to laugh or even smile can be tough. However, getting out a forceful smile will not give you juicy photos.

cake smash photo ideas

Photographers need to connect with their subjects in order to capture the best shots. Play peekaboo, make funny sounds, have a family member stand nearby, and make silly faces to get the baby's attention. Playing nursery rhymes or using toys also helps.

In case of a meltdown, have a lovely or comfortable object on hand, such as a security item or pacifier, to help the baby feel better. If that doesn't work, tickle their toes, and they'll be giggling from ear to ear in no time.

2. Ensure Baby's Safety

When it comes to baby photography, safety should be the top priority. Cake smash photoshoots should be treated the same way. You've got a lot to think about, from making sure the baby isn't allergic to the cake's ingredients to selecting where to position the baby while still taking nice shots. If you absolutely must use a cake stand, be sure it isn't made of glass or any material that the baby could fall upon and get hurt.

You may also tape the cake stand on whatever surface you're using, such as the floor, a high chair, or a table, securing it even further. For babies sitting on the floor, make sure no objects are lying around that they can grasp or eat. If they're in a highchair, make sure they're securely fastened so they don't stand up and fall over.

3. Be Prepared for the Mess

While you might be exhausted after a long day of shooting cake smash photos, your work does not stop once the clients have left. Cleaning up is essential to keep your setup, backdrops, and props clean and last long. Not to forget, cake crumbles and icing can be a mess. Keep a few paper towels handy and wipe them as soon as you notice stains.

cake smash photo ideas

4. Bring Snacks (But Not for Snacking)

You can't expect a 12-month-old to be fascinated by a cake if they've never had one before, especially if it's their first time. Some might not even be used to such sweet delicacies or dislike the taste. Bring baby snacks or finger foods such as crackers, berries, cheerios, etc., or anything that you can stick in the cake frosting (and doesn't show in the pictures). This may eventually get the tiny one's attention as he digs into the cake for the familiar treat. This cake smash photo idea is quite useful.

cake smash photo ideas

5. Be Ready from the Get-go

Make sure your environment is equipped for a little, energetic baby to dig into a cake and then run around. When it comes to clearing up after a baby's cake smash, cake photographers share some wonderful advice!

If there's anything in the studio within their reach or feet that you don't want spoiling by icing, place it higher or out of the way. There's always the risk that while you're checking the back of the camera, mom is scrolling through her Facebook feed, and the little one chooses to sneak a piece and escape. However, if you manage to get a flawless shot, but the baby has other ideas., we can help you out.

It can be frustrating to take a near-perfect photo only to discover later that it is a blurry mess. However, with the help of photo enhancers online, you can learn how to unblur an image and don’t waste another photo!

6. Photoshoot Props

This cake smash photo idea is quite useful. Props give a photo depth, drama, and character. For this reason, they are key to any photography, and cake smash isn't any different. However, when choosing props for your cake, smash photo ideas and themes, consider shadows.

cake smash photo ideas

When you attach a light or small décor object to the backdrop, such as paper buntings or florals, they will cast little to no shadows. However, styling the background with big, heavy props might impact shadows. It's often a good idea to do some test photos the day before the shoot to check how your props behave.

7. Keep Editing to a Minimum

Another perk of being a cake smash photographer, you don’t need heavily edited photos. In fact, the simpler the photos are, the better it is. The goal is to capture the mess, so there’s no need to fix or erase any icing splotches even if you feel they’re out of place.

This cake smash photo idea is quite useful. Just shoot raw and adjust for contrast and brightness, keeping editing to a minimum. You can also use editing apps like Photo Enhancer online and VanceAI Image Upscaler for creating high-quality resolution images.

VanceAI Image Enhancer

Final Words

Hope these cake smash photo ideas mentioned can help you! After all, a baby's first birthday is a major occasion to commemorate, and snapping a few images of the birthday child in a highchair with a balloon backdrop on your phone isn't enough. If you plan a DIY cake smash photography session, you'll be able to capture more delightful, messy pictures of that special first occasion. Mastering a tool to enhance photo quality is also important to have more impressive images. That is because it helps you to remove disgusting blurry, or noisy parts.

It also enables you to finish the task of image enhancement with one single click even if you have not sophisticated skills. At the same time, it is able to enhance the resolution of your picture to a higher level within several seconds. Make better images with AI image enhancers easily. One click to increase image resolution and get your images crisper, cleaner, and make photo hd.


A cake smash session will not only make wonderful first birthday photos, but it will also be one of those special memories that will last a lifetime! Anyone can come up with fantastic DIY cake smash photo ideas with a little effort and inspiration. Read more: Convert Photo to Outline Drawing with AI Sketch Converter.

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Amaya Hamilton
Amaya Hamilton
A passionate content writer. Mostly likes to write about technology and social media related topics. You can see more of my work over on my own blog Amaya Hamilton.