I love a good cake smash photo. It is always so fun to see a baby dig into a cake with their little fingers and eat tons of sugar for the first time. I knew that I wanted to have cake smash photos done around Ava’s first birthday after seeing tons of cute pictures all over Instagram and Pinterest. With the holidays coming up I decided to go the DIY route to save a little money. I wanted to share how easy and inexpensive I found it was to set up and shoot a first birthday cake smash photo session at home. You do not need any fancy equipment, lights or props. Just a camera, a baby, and a cake!
I want to add that I am not a trained photographer, baker or even crafter. Just a mom who likes to get tons of ideas from Pinterest and try them out myself. I promise taking cute pictures of your baby can be simple!
Here are a few of my tips on how to have your own DIY cake smash photo shoot.
Come up with a plan.
Give yourself time to come up with ideas of how you want everything to come together. I suggest you plan a color scheme, pick out decorations, choose what your baby will wear and what sort of cake you want to use. Planning ahead of time will help to ensure that you have enough time to gather all of the things that you want to use when you are taking your baby’s pictures. Pinterest is full of super cute ideas! You can even check out a board I put together that has some of my favorite example ideas here to give you some inspiration.
Lighting can make a big difference.
One thing that will help your pictures come out great is natural light. Position your set up around some windows, in front of an open door or even outside. Try to set up away from direct sunlight so that the sun is not casting shadows on your baby or in their eyes. Also (if possible) turn off your artificial overhead lights inside. Traditional light bulbs can give your photos an orange tint, while natural light is going to make your pictures look a lot more natural and soft. Again all this can change depending on your preference and style, but I have found that keeping the lighting situation in mind while taking any pictures at all will give you a better result.
Set up for the photos ahead of time.
Once you have a nice, well let area picked out, then you can set up any backdrop, decorations or props so they are seen in the background of your photos. If you are hanging anything be sure that you place it low enough so that it will be seen directly behind your baby as they are sitting. I couldn’t set up anything without Ava trying to tear it down. I waited until she was taking a nap and I used a few toys in her place to be sure I had everything hanging where I wanted it. I also took a few test shots to see if everything looked the way I wanted it in the pictures.
Enlist some help.
If possible I suggest that you have someone else close by to help out. While I was taking pictures I had my husband do things like to try to get Ava’s attention, place the cake in front of her, fix her flower crown, make sure she didn’t just crawl away, etc. It was nice to have the extra set of hands so that I could just try to snap a few pictures before we had to readjust again.
Grab your camera.
I do have an entry-level DSLR camera that I used to take Ava’s pictures. However, you can use any sort of camera you have on hand. Nowadays the cameras in our cell phones take decent quality pictures and would work well too.
Once you have everything ready finally just place a cake in front of your baby and let them dig in! I ended up taking tons of pictures trying to capture a few good shots.
About the set up I created.
When planning for Ava’s pictures I knew I wanted a fairly simple, uncluttered white background without tons of decorations or props. I ended up making a pretty wall hanging with colors that complemented what she would wear and I used a letter-board in the background which I think looked great. I already had a cute romper and a homemade flower crown that we used for some family pictures a few months ago, so I decided to have her wear those again. I also made her smash cake myself. I just bought a box of strawberry cake mix, made some homemade frosting and assembled the cake myself. I wanted everything to be girly, simple and bright. To set up the backdrop I just unrolled some sections of some white craft paper I purchased at Michael’s and taped them to the wall with painters tape. I used two pieces on the wall and then one piece on the floor. Then I hung the wall hanging I made and placed the cake in reach. It was that simple!
Items I used:
- Banner & Sign Paper roll from Michael’s
- DIY Wall Hanging (click here to see how to make your own!)
- Cake: Strawberry cake mix and homemade buttercream frosting
- Number 1 on cake topper from Hobby Lobby
- Artificial flowers from Hobby Lobby and Michael’s
- Cake stand – a large decorative wooden ornament from Target dollar spot
- Romper from Bailey’s Blossoms
- DIY flower crown
It’s all that simple! It is easy to take super cute pictures of your own little one’s cake smash. Let me know if you decide to go the DIY route for your cake smash photos!
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