How to Create a DIY Cake Smash Session

I think cake smash photos are so cute and are a fun way to celebrate the first birthday. Instead of booking with a photographer (tip: don’t wait until the last minute if you want to book with a photographer), I chose to do the photos myself when each of my kids turned 1. Admittedly, I’m into crafts and Pinterest-type stuff, so this was a fun challenge for me. If you are interested in planning your own cake smash, keep reading for my tips and tricks.

How to:

  • Location: You’ll want to find a location that is spacious enough for you to step back to photograph the child. I chose to do my photos indoors to avoid any additional distractions and possible inclement weather.
  • Backdrop: You will need a backdrop or background setting that will photograph well. I was going for a simple look and went for plain white for my photos. For one set of photos, I ordered a white backdrop on Amazon and for the other, I used white butcher paper that I taped to my wall. Try looking around for any fun rugs or sheets you may have that can be repurposed for the photos.

  • Assistance: I recommend having someone help you, if possible. You’ll want someone to help reposition the baby as they move and to act silly behind the camera for smiles.
  • Camera/Phone: You’ll need a camera or phone to snap photos with. You can add a ring light or other lighting tools if you don’t have access to good natural lighting.
  • Props: Props are a fun addition to the photos, but I wouldn’t suggest making them necessary for the perfect shot. My oldest was very distracted by my props and wouldn’t look at the camera until I removed them. My youngest son used his props with no issues during his photoshoot.
  • Outfit: You want to pick an outfit that will photograph well and also doesn’t require a lot of adjusting. Remember: the less they are wearing, the less you have to clean up after.
  • Time: Trust me, give yourself a big window of time to get this done. You know babies don’t always cooperate when you need them to. Additionally, there is a chance your child may not enjoy this as much as you think they will. Be sure to plan around nap and meal times and aim for times when your child is usually in a good mood.

  • Bribery: Bring whatever it may take to get a smile or cooperation from your little one. I strategically hid snacks in order to get my son to stay seated.
  • Cake: You can’t do a cake smash without a cake! I recommend something simple that looks good from all angles. You can order from a local bakery or bake a cake yourself! For my cakes, I just grabbed cakes from the bakery and added my own sprinkles and a #1 candle. Make sure to avoid fondant or anything that will make it difficult for baby to dig in.

Once you are all set up start snapping away! I suggest just snapping continuously and looking through the photos later. After the shoot, be prepared to put the outfit in the washer and the cute baby in the bath!

Have fun!

Danielle Blanco
Danielle is a native New Orleanian. She graduated from Ben Franklin and attended the University of New Orleans' undergraduate and graduate schools. She and her husband Abraham married in 2017 and welcomed their son Blaise in 2019 and son Beckham in 2021. She balances motherhood with working full time as the Director of People and Culture in the local healthcare and education industries. She is learning to embrace the chaos of life as a Mom. Danielle’s current struggle is navigating preschool options for her oldest and managing the endless appetite of her youngest. This type-A mama can usually be found on the go with a to-do list and a plan. She enjoys trying new things, thrifting, and is always in the middle of glittering or a DIY project. Additionally, she never turns down a happy hour or beach vacation. She is excited to experience New Orleans as a mom and is truly proud to call it home.


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