At one year old, most babies are either crawling, close to walking or off and running.  They have surpassed  sitting still and are happiest when they are given something interesting to do.  Involving babies in a messy activity can engage them long enough to capture those cute developing personalities.   Simply put, a cake smash session is way more appealing to a one-year-old than a portrait session. 

If your baby hasn’t been exposed to buttercream icing or the ingredients in a cake it’s best to determine any potential allergies first.  In doing so, you will also get a feel for how your baby may react to a sensory activity of this type.  Try sitting your child on the floor with a messy cupcake.  Try a few times on the lead up to your session.  This will help the session run smoothly.

What should we expect from our one year old?

We are asking baby to do something they would generally not be allowed to do in a place they are unfamiliar with lights flashing and everyone encouraging them to do something that would ordinarily be a definite no no!  Reactions can vary:

  • The Destroyer:  Loves to squish mashed potato through their fingers at mealtime, they will smear themselves in spaghetti and will attempt to put anything and everything in their mouth.   The destroyer loves crumbling food and is naturally attracted to anything they can finger paint with.  This personality type is fully engaged in a cake smash session, they are so deep in concentration they rarely acknowledge your presence! The Destroyer finds the experience extremely satisfying and will obliterate the cake with no encouragement or staging.
  • The Explorer: Happy to touch and taste the cake in short bursts until something in their surroundings captures their attention. They are into everything, they are delighted by objects that roll when pushed, light-up toys and toys that play musical sounds.  The explorer adapts well to new people and situations and is generally very happy go lucky.  Their attention is easily diverted back to the cake smash by adding an extra dimension to it, hiding objects and introducing a spoon for drumming.
  • The Observer: is not too keen on icing sticking to any part of their body.  An indication of this is flicking food off hands at mealtimes or becoming anxious by touching certain food textures  They are babies who prefers a clean face, hands and feet.   An extra long-handled spoon for drumming the cake, some staging or the introduction of a more familiar treat or sensory activity is best for children who have sensory aversions to food textures.

ALL babies are unpredictable and the most confident child can refuse to go near a cake or may cry whilst the most reserved child may choose to get stuck in…..there are never guarantees!  Whatever the reaction, we will encourage but never force.  So what if they don’t settle to the cake?  We take a break and try again!

What can we expect on arrival?

You will be invited to park on the drive (we have a purpose built studio at our home address) and then we will head to the studio.  Everything will be ready to go, except baby!  We take the opportunity for a relaxed chat so baby can get used to a new space and face.  I take the time to sit on the floor and play with baby to help them to relax.  I’m in no hurry and work at baby’s pace.  I suggest they come dressed in their smart clothes to save changing them to start – we don’t want them upset before we even begin!  When we think they relaxed, we will gradually move to the cake smash area.

What do you mean by 'age' portraits?

Before introducing the cake, we take the opportunity to take a few ‘clean’ photos of baby in their party best.  This takes approx 5-10 minutes.  This will help your child to get used to the lights and create some beautiful lasting portraits of your milestone.  Cake smash sessions can be for children up to the age of four so we use ‘age’ appropriate props.  On completion of this section you will be asked to change your child into their ‘smash’ outfit and give them a drink whilst I have a quick tidy round.

What can we expect from the 'smash' section of our child's session?

Your child is brought straight to the smash area and offered their cake.  We sit back and record their reactions.  If your youngster moves you will be asked to pop them back in place.  You may need to encourage them or give them a little taste of the cake so they know it’s yummy (older kids have worked this bit out!).  Feel free to bring a change of clothes for yourself….messy babies tend to crawl to parents and expect gooey cuddles.  Cakes do not always get ‘smashed’. This is fine, we just record what does happen….although that won’t mean they are not encouraged to make a mess!  Babies let you know when they have had enough so, when they give the signals we move on.  Whilst you prepare your child for their mini bath, I will be cleaning up the cake and moving the bath in place.

Do we have to have the 'splash' session?

All babies LOVE the warm bubble bath at the end.  Not only does it clean them off, but it also calms them and brings them down from all the excitement gently.  Chances are, your little one will be so exhausted and relaxed after a bath they will fall asleep on the way home.  It makes for some fantastic images. The choice is yours, if you would prefer clean your child up with wipes before taking them home please do so.  There are no reductions in the cost should you decide to do this.  

PLEASE NOTE: We DO NOT offer the splash option to children over the age of two years.


We all know all too well how unpredictable kids can be at this age.  The last thing any parent wants is the dreaded meltdown at the most inopportune time. The good news is there are some things you can do to minimise the chances of this happening during your photo session.

  1. Determine your child’s level of sensory sensitivity before booking.  If your baby hates cake, let us capture some images with the cake first and then substitute it for another exciting activity they are more comfortable with
  2. Discuss your child’s sensory reaction and personality with your photographer to decide on what will work best for your baby
  3. Avoid extra activities before the session
  4. Ensure your baby has had a nap…book a time around their sleep schedule
  5. Make sure your baby has something substantial to eat.
  6. Avoid having visitors that day
  7. Avoid overstimulation – limit people attending the shoot
  8. Avoid fussing with hair and outfit changes
  9. Some children are sensitive to certain fabrics and many babies dislike hats – especially when elastic is involved!  We can avoid these things if known in advance
  10. Leave toys at home unless you wish those items to remain in all your images.  Taking a toy away leads to a very unhappy baby.
  11. Baby’s sense and react to your stress so keep calm and keep it fun.
  12. Keep an open mind and be in the moment. Cake smash photography is candid not posed.  Those images you’ve found on Pinterest are not your child and may be the child is of a very different personality.  I’m all about capturing your child’s personality rather than trying to outdo your best friend or replicate other peoples moments.  
error: Content is protected !!