You may have seen them online: Pictures of adorable babies covered in cake and icing, sitting against a beautiful decorated backdrop.  These “cake smash” pictures are a popular trend for parents.  If you are looking to book your own cake smash photoshoot, but are unsure where to begin, you are in the right place! I have written this cake smash photoshoot guide to help you out.

Planning a cake smash photoshoot can be overwhelming.  There are so many factors to consider: Type of cake, when should I book my shoot, and more.  I put together this cake smash photoshoot guide to help you on your quest.  I go over some of the commonly asked questions in regards to cake smashes. 

These questions include:

  1. What is a cake smash photoshoot and why is it done?
  2. What do I need for a cake smash photoshoot?
  3. How do you setup a cake smash photoshoot?
  4. What cake is best for a cake smash?
  5. When should you do a cake smash?
  6. What can I use instead of cake?
  7. What do I need to bring to my shoot?

Note: This cake smash photoshoot guide is more geared towards hiring a photographer.  If you are looking to go the DIY route, there is still information for you! 

White cake with number one candle

What is a cake smash photoshoot and why is it done?

A cake smash photoshoot is where you take pictures of your child eating/destroying a cake meant just for this photoshoot.  Usually the cake is smaller, since the majority of it will not get eaten.  The child is dressed up, and there are fun backdrops and decorations used. 

Generally, a cake smash is used to commemorate the first birthday of a child.  However, it can be done for toddlers as well.  As of late, cake smashes for adults have become increasingly popular!

The photos can be used for a variety of things, including invites and baby books.  A lot of care goes into picking out the right backdrop, outfit, and cake for the occasion.  A theme is generally used, so that everything has a consistent feel. 

What do I need to start planning for a cake smash photoshoot?

When you plan your photoshoot, you will want to make sure you get the following items:


If you are planning on hiring a photographer, be sure to start looking for one a few months before your planned date.  Hop onto Google and see which studios in your area are offering cake smash sessions.  Or, if you are booking newborn photos, ask if there is a package that includes a cake smash for when the child gets older.

If you are going to take your own photos, then no need to worry!  Just make sure your phone/camera is fully charged the day of the shoot and that you have enough storage space on your device. 

Cute Outfit

This is a chance to pick something cute for your little one to wear.  Some opt for just a diaper cover, while others go for a full fancy outfit.  Keep in mind that whatever they wear will most likely end up covered in cake and frosting.  If you would like some more ideas on outfits, please check out my other article Outfit Guide – Cake Smash Photo Shoot.


For sure you will want to get the cake (or other food item, see below)!

These are the main things you will need to start planning your photoshoot.  The day of the event, you will want to make sure you have more things on hand!  I cover that in a section below.

White cake with number one candle

How do you set up a cake smash photoshoot?

You can choose to do a photoshoot at home or hire someone.  An advantage to hiring a photographer is that they usually have a space in mind to create beautiful images.  They may have also been doing this awhile, so they know all the good shots to get.

If you choose to go with a photographer, here are some questions you will want to ask:

  1. Do you provide the cake, or does the parent provide it?
  2. If the photographer provides the cake, what are the allergy options for the cake?
  3. Will there be a place to clean up the child once the shoot is over with?
  4. What different themes are available for the cake smash photoshoot?
  5. Will there be any before pictures of just the child and no cake?

You can also choose to do an at home cake smash session.  You don’t need any fancy equipment; you can use your cell phone and get some images that will work for you.  Before your session, I would recommend browsing Pinterest for inspiration.  

Do photographers provide cake for cake smashes?

This depends on the greatly on the photography studio you are using.  Some photographer’s prefer

Even if the photographer doesn’t provide the cake, they may have a bakery they recommend or work with.  Ask if they have any recommendations or if they offer any discounts for particular places.

Which cake is best for a cake smash?

Generally, a white cake works well for cake smashes.  Chocolate cake can sometimes have the effect of looking like dirt or mud.  When it comes to frosting, avoid any super bright, neon colors.  These tend to look off in images.  Also, avoid red frosting because that can look like blood in the final images!

When should you do a cake smash?

Generally, it depends on what you would like to do with the pictures.  If you want to use them for invitations, you will want to make sure you receive your images one month before your party.  This way you have time to make and send out your invitations.

If you are using a professional photographer, be sure to ask them what their turn around time is for images.  Sometimes it is almost a month before you will get your images back, so be sure to check! 

If you are not using your photos for invitations, and are instead showcasing them at your party, you want to make sure to have your images back at least 2 weeks before your event.  This gives you some time to get images printed if you want.  Or, create a slideshow to be used at the party.

Cupcake with one candle

What can I use instead of cake?

Cake not your jam?  No worries!  A trend has formed within a trend: Using something other than cake for a smash session.  Some other popular food items are:

  • Spaghetti
  • Donuts
  • Watermelon (without the seeds)
  • Pies
  • Pancakes
  • Tacos
  • Assorted Fruit
  • Ice Cream

The important thing to remember is to choose something same for your little one.  Don’t include anything that has choking hazards.  If you are not sure if the food is safe, consult your doctor.

What do I need to bring to my shoot?

For the day of the shoot, you will want to make sure you have everything you need on hand!  Be sure to have everything gathered the night before so you are not scrambling in the morning.

What I would bring to the photo shoot would be:

  • Wipes: Your child will be very messy once all is said and done!  Be sure to bring plenty of wipes with so you can clean them up.  Keep in mind that the cake will likely be everywhere: Hair, feet, face, etc.  You will want to make sure you have enough wipes to get everything off.
  • Change of clothes: To ensure cake doesn’t get all over your car on the ride home, be sure to bring with a change of clothes.  Choose something easy for the second outfit, one that is easy to get on the child. 
  • Cake: Don’t forget the item that the child is going to devour!  It may seem like a no brainer, but on the day of the session it is easy to forget the simplest of things.
  • Distractions for siblings:  If you are bringing along any siblings to the session, be sure to bring distractions for them.  You may need to help with your one-year-old, so it is good if any other children have something to keep them occupied.
  • Accessories:  If you are using any accessories for your shoot, make sure to have them all in one place and ready to go.
  • Candle: Some people choose not to use a candle for their shoot, and that is ok!  If you are using one, make sure to bring it along. 
  • Bag for dirty clothes: Your child’s clothes will definitely need a wash after the photo session!  Be sure to bring with a bag to put them in so you don’t get your car interior dirty.

Remember: Each child smashes cake differently!

Even at the young age of one, a child personality shines bright.  This being said, each child will approach a cake differently.  Some may give you the picture-perfect images of cake smeared on their face, fistfuls of cake in their little hands.  However, even if they just poke at the cake and refuse to eat, you can still get cute photos of them sitting there.

Thank you for reading my article, Cake Smash Photoshoot Guide, today!  Are there any questions that you didn’t get answered?  Leave a comment below for future articles.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other posts:

Maternity Photoshoot Guide (7 important FAQ’s)

Boho Themed Photo Props (15 dreamy ideas)