Karolina Russell Photography

cake smash photographer edinburgh

Cake Smash Photoshoot Tips

Cake smash photoshoots have become a popular and such a fun way to celebrate a child’s first birthday over the last few years. These one of a kind sessions capture the joy, curiosity, and genuine delight of little ones diving into a cake. To help you plan a perfect cake smash session, I’ve put together some valuable tips that will ensure stunning photographs and a fun-filled experience for everyone involved.

Have a consultation with your photographer

First and foremost, always start with a consultation with your chosen photographer. This will allow you to discuss all the practical details such as who is providing the cake and (if you choose to have any) decorations, and also share any special requests you might have. When I talk to my clients about their session, I ask questions about their vision and any specific ideas they have in mind. Where are these portraits going to be displayed? Are there any siblings who would like to participate in the first part of the session? Does the child have any allergies or intolerances? As well as asking you questions, your photographer will address any worries you may have and explain the process of the cake smash photoshoot in more detail.

Schedule the photoshoot strategically

Timing is crucial for a successful cake smash session. Plan the photoshoot when your child is well-rested and in a happy mood. Avoid scheduling it too close to naptime or when they’re likely to be hungry. A well-rested and content child will be more willing to explore and enjoy the experience. This will no doubt result in genuine and joyous expressions captured in the photos. Remember there is always time for breaks if your little one is getting overwhelmed, but there is not a lot we can do if they are simply overtired.

Check your Cake Smash Photographer’s portfolio to make sure they can offer you what you want

One of the most exciting parts in preparation for a cake smash photoshoot is deciding if you want to go all out with the decorations, or choose a more minimalistic style session that focuses on your baby as they are at this moment in time. Here at Karolina Russell Photography I like to keep things simple and although there are some minimalistic decorations, I prefer to keep the focus on the baby and not the props.

The white background and a simple setup with subtle balloons and letters ONE is all we need. If you have some specific ideas though, that is not a problem at all! Let’s chat about it and during your consultation we will be able to design a perfect cake smash session just for you. All cakes are provided for the cake smash sessions are made by a professional local baker. I will have it delivered straight to the studio, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of that.

Involve the whole family

Make the cake smash photoshoot a family affair! Including siblings and parents in some of the photos will be so special for everyone. Start the session with formal family portaits and capture the love and laughter shared among family members. Cake smash photoshoot is not just about the cake, but also about creating heart-warming memories that you will love.

Prepare the outfits

Generally the cake smash photoshoot consists of three parts – formal individual and family portraits happen first. This is important, because as fun as the cake smashing is, you still need beautiful, simple portraits that will remain forever timeless and will always remind you of how little your baby once was. Then the cake smashing and then the splashing in a bath tub. Choose elegant and simple clothes for everyone for the first part. It is important that the attention is on you as a family and your relationship and bond, not the trendy clothes. Go for something simple and timeless, choose plain colours rather than patterns and most importantly, wear something you will feel great in!

For the cake smash part choose whatever you like. Consider various options and decide what you like best – there is no wrong here! I also have a few outfits in the studio that your little one is more than welcome to wear!

Embrace the mess

A cake smash photoshoot is all about embracing the mess and letting your child enjoy the experience to the fullest. Encourage them to dig in, touch, and smear the cake. It will allow your photographer to capture their genuine reactions and expressions. Have fun and be patient: remember, cake smash sessions are meant to be playful and fun, but can also be a little overwhelming for the little ones. Be patient with your child and allow them to dictate the pace and direction of the session. The more relaxed and enjoyable the experience, the better the photos will turn out. Oh and be prepared to get covered in cake yourself too while you help your little one! The resulting photos will be priceless keepsakes of their first birthday so just go with the flow and have fun.

No mess is ok too!

Equally, keep in mind that your little one might not show a lot of interest in the cake. Don’t worry, we can help them with the smashing, and if they still don’t want to touch that cake, there are other ways to make your portraits look interactive and fun! Whatever happens is totally normal – some babies destroy the cake and leave only crumbs, others barely touch it, so just embrace what is happening and trust the process.

Things to bring

Your cake smash photoshoot will start with timeless and classic portraits of your whole family. This will be followed by the messiest part of the cake smashing. Afterwards we will pop your baby into a warm bubble bath where they can splash around and have even more fun. In order for all of this to go smoothly, there are a few things you will need to bring to the session. Your photographer will talk you through it all in more detail, but as a guide you will need a change of outfit for your little one, a warm towel to wrap them in afterwards, any clothes and accessories you would like them to wear and a drink to keep your baby hydrated.

Image display

Once your cake smash photoshoot is done, your photographer will select and edit the best shots for you to choose from. Have a think about how you would like to display your portraits in your home. Beautiful photographs deserve to be printed rather than stored on a USB! Consider various options of wall art, albums and prints. The most popular product for the cake smash photoshoots here at Karolina Russell Photography is the multi aperture frame. It is such a wonderful way to display multiple images from your session and really tells a story. Speak to your photographer and look through their range of products to decide which ones would work best in your home.


I hope you have found these cake smash photoshoot tips helpful! Remember the most important thing is for you to feel comfortable. So ask your photographer any and all questions you may have! Turning one is truly a huge deal for all the family and I would love to capture this amazing time in your life. Please get in touch and I would love to help you!

If you are looking for a cake smash photographer in Edinburgh who will create beautiful, timeless, heartfelt images that you will treasure for lifetime, have a look on my cake smash photography in Edinburgh page or find me on Facebook and Instagram. Alternatively, send me a message using the contact form below. I would love to help you!

Lots of love,

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