Serving Western NY. Specializing in Newborn, Baby, Child and Family Photography

Planning a First Birthday Session

Planning your little ones First Birthday photos is a lot of fun, but can be overwhelming too! I’ve created this guide with all the info you’ll need to know when it comes to planning a First Birthday Cake Smash Session.

I offer two types of First Birthday Sessions….a Mini or Deluxe First Birthday Session. Both include classic portraits against 1 or 2 backdrops (depending on the session type you choose) and the cake smash at the end on a custom setup to match the theme you choose.

The first step is deciding on the theme for the cake smash part. It can be simple or a bit more ornate and usually includes a solid colored backdrop, balloons, banners, tissue paper pom poms, a cake, etc. Some people go with the same theme as the birthday party and some just go with an idea they particularly like. If you don’t already have an idea, you can take a look through my Cake Smash album on my Facebook page to see some previous themes I’ve done. You can see that album here – Cake Smash Setups. We can do one of these or any other idea you come up with. Doing a google image search can also give you some good ideas as well. If you’re wanting a setup that includes a lot of props I just ask that you bring those items in. I’ll need to know the cake smash theme ASAP. I recommend booking a month in advance so that I have enough time to order the cake and find any specific decorations I may need. I try my best to create a setup you’ll love so being specific with your requests helps me understand what you’re looking for.

The next step is deciding which other backdrops you’d like to use. The Mini First Birthday Session includes one other backdrop for classic portraits before we do the cake smash, and the Deluxe session includes two. There’s two ways of deciding…choose a backdrop you love and then find an outfit to match or, if you have an outfit you already want to use you can scroll through my backdrops to find one that goes with the outfit. A general rule to follow is that backdrops that are patterned or colorful look best with solid colored/simple outfits. Patterns against patterns don’t usually go well. I also have several solid colored backdrops that can be used with any outfits. You can see all of my available backdrops in an album on my Facebook page. You can see that album here – Portrait Backdrops. Once you decide, I ask that you send me a photo of the backdrops that way I can have them set up and ready to go when you arrive.

I also have outfits you’re welcome to use for the classic portrait part of the session (cannot be used for the cake smash part though, you’ll need to bring your own outfit for that). You can see them all here – Client Closet. Let me know if you decide you’d like to use any and I will have them ironed and laid out for you.

Some babies aren’t too crazy about the cake smash part. In order to get the best experience I have a few tips you can follow. First, if baby is not used to eating sticky food with their hands, let them practice a week before coming in. Give them pudding or frosting and let them practice grabbing it out of a bowl and getting their hands clumped with it. Babies who aren’t used to this will most likely stick a finger or two into the frosting and barely touch the rest of the cake. If baby has never had sweet foods before (sweeter than fruit) definitely give them some before hand too. If they’ve never had it they may not like it the first time trying it. If all else fails and baby doesn’t want to touch or eat the cake then we fake it! Bring in puffs or cheerios and we can stick them in the back of the cake and they can eat those off it.

If you have any other questions after reading this please don’t hesitate to ask! I plan several Cake Smash sessions a week so I’m here to help with any ideas you have!