Crystal Lee 


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Planning Your Baby’s Cake Smash Session | Tips & Inspiration

Jan 13, 2021

Once upon a time, a genius decided to take the words “cake” and “smash” and put them together… giving us this seriously adorable first birthday tradition! The cake smash is my absolute favorite way to end a milestone birthday session.

We can do this session one of two ways:
– 2 portrait outfits followed by the cake smash, or
– 1 portrait outfit, the cake smash, and then a splash in the tub!

I love to style your smash set to match baby’s birthday party theme, but you can choose any color scheme or theme you’d like. I have an always-growing selection of banners, poms and paper fans to dress up the background and you are welcome to bring any balloons or party decorations to help personalize your set. The further in advance you schedule your session, the more time we have to plan!

Tips to help you plan your cake smash session

  • If you’d like to use your portraits to display at baby’s birthday party I recommend scheduling your session when baby is 11 months old. This will give you time to make prints and order any products that you’d like to display.
  • Bring some puffs or small snacks that baby likes! This is a great little trick to help us get some great images even if baby isn’t interested in smashing… we just stick them right into the back of the cake!
  • Have a sippy cup or bottle nearby in case baby get thirsty or needs a break.
  • Avoid getting a chocolate cake! It looks… gross. And that’s all I’ll say about that, lol! I also suggest avoiding cakes with a lot of red icing.
  • Buttercream or whipped icing is going to be the smoothest, making it easiest to smash.
  • If you’re picking up your cake the day before your session please remember to take it out of the refrigerator a few hours in advance so that the icing can soften. A hard cake is no fun to smash!
  • Fondant is beautiful but you’ll need to keep an extra close eye on baby during the smash because fondant is difficult to chew and could present a choking hazard. (This also goes for any decorative details on the cake, including things like toothpicks and wooden dowels.)
  • Be prepared to participate! Some babies don’t quite get the hang of the smash right away so you may need to get your hands into the cake to help them get started.
  • This is going to be messy. Really messy. So be sure to bring an extra outfit for baby and possibly for yourself!
  • I do have some baby soaps at the studio to help you clean baby up after the cake smash has finished but if there is a soap or body wash that you prefer to use please feel free to bring that with you. Icing can be very greasy so soap is almost always a necessity!

Because there are so many different food allergies out there these days (dairy, wheat, sugar, etc) I always ask that my clients provide the cake. This gives you full control over what’s inside of the cake, as well as the design! I highly, highly recommend getting a smash cake from a professional bakery. Homemade cakes can be beautiful but they’re often very dry and the icing is hard. My absolute favorite is Buttercream Cakes & Catering! Ann does amazing work and can create almost any design you can think of. She’ll also deliver your smash cake right to my studio so you don’t have to worry about traveling with it! You can also check out Coccadotts Cake Shop and Publix.

The biggest tip I can give to any Mom planning a cake smash session is to relax. Little ones can sense stress and we want them to come into a happy, positive environment! It’s totally normal to go Pinterest-crazy and have a lot of grand ideas for your session but remember that baby is the one who is really running the show. Some one year olds really love digging in and getting covered in icing, and some just don’t like getting messy. If it’s their first time having something sweet like cake they may dislike the taste. It’s totally normal and every baby is different! Don’t get discouraged if we’re not getting the reaction you hoped for… we’re still going to get really beautiful images that capture this huge milestone and show your baby’s personality.

I like to use my own daughter’s images as an example… we did get the one portrait of her looking happy, but for the most part she absolutely hated her cake. And of course in the moment it was frustrating because Moms put so much work into planning the perfect photoshoot for their little ones. But I look back now and it just makes me laugh. I’ll never forget her sweet little face full of cake and drama!

Regardless of how your little one feels about the cake, pretty much every single smash ends like this, with an icing-covered baby crawling (or running) away!

Let’s splash after the smash!

It’s true, alot of babies aren’t a fan of the cake. But, not to jinx anything, I am at about a 90% success rate with the bathtub. Getting greasy icing all in your toes may not be fun, but everyone loves to splash!

Remember how I said my daughter went total dark side with her cake? Well, check her out splashing in her little bathtub on Tatooine!

Is cake maybe not your thing?

No problem! You can bring your little one in to smash anything you’d like. I’ve done a donut smash, strawberry smash and a watermelon smash myself, but I’ve seen some other really adorable ideas involving tacos and pasta.

Got something fun in mind? Reach out and let’s chat!

If you’d like to learn more or schedule a first birthday session for your little one please feel free to explore my site and reach out when you’re ready.

number of comments:

  1. Crystal says:

    Hi, Brittany! I just responded to your email with pricing and my next availability. While I don’t offer family portrait sessions I would love to talk with you more about doing a birthday session for your little one! 🙂

  2. Brittany Sturgill says:

    Hi! I’m interested in getting some pictures of my one year old and three year old. Maybe a family one too. Next week sometime ? What are the prices ?


My studio is typically one of the very first places that parents bring their newborn. I fully understand the gravity of that decision and I want you to know that you’re bringing your little one to a safe space that has been designed (and cleaned!) with you in mind. I am fully stocked with a variety of backdrops, swaddles, props and decor to help personalize your baby’s first portrait session. 

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3087 Deville Street
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

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