First Birthday Cake Smash Session: How to Get the Best One-Year Baby Photos
Posted: December 23, 2023

About Alicea

Alicea is a Professional Photographer specializing in newborn, baby and maternity portraiture out of Minneapolis, MN. She lives in Maple Grove with her husband, son and rescue pup, Masha. Her hobbies include reading, photography, gardening, trivia games and on occasion jamming to 90's rock and hip-hop; mostly while cleaning the house.

The First Birthday Cake Smash Portrait Session can be hit or miss. Every baby is so different, but a baby’s personality can really come through during a Cake Smash Session, which is so much fun to capture at this important milestone.

I do a lot of First Birthday Cake Smash Sessions at my Minneapolis baby portrait photography studio. The majority of my clients love to include this as part of the one-year photoshoot.

This part of the session is added on at no extra charge. I supply the backdrop, cake stand, balloons, and other decor. All I ask is for you to bring the baby and the cake.

Not all cake smash photo sessions go as planned, but below are some of my tips for making your baby’s first birthday cake smash session a success!

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one year old baby in pastel colored tutu by cake with one topper for cake smash portrait session near minneapolis
happy one year baby girl with frosting on finger in pastel tutu for cake smash portrait session near minneapolis

When Should I Schedule The First Birthday Cake Smash Session?

Schedule your session around your baby’s happiest time of day. It’s best to pick a time as early in the morning as possible without cutting into their eating and nap schedule.

Most of my baby photo sessions take place mid-morning, usually around 10 a.m. This is after the baby has woken for the day, but hasn’t taken their first nap.

If you’re looking forward to watching your baby dig in and eat the cake, bring them to the session a little bit hungry. Just give them a light snack to hold them over for the first 20 minutes of the session (reserved for family and sibling portraits).

Also, bring water for the baby to drink to wash down all that sugary goodness.

What If My Baby Is Teething?

If you suspect your baby is cutting any teeth (lots of drooling and fingers in the mouth), give your baby Tylenol or another pain med at least 30 minutes before the session.  It typically takes 20-30 minutes for the medicine to kick in and we want your baby to be as comfortable as possible.

Should I Feed My Baby Cake Before the First Birthday Cake Smash Session?

Yes! Whether you bake the cake yourself or hire a professional baker to make the cake, test the cake out on your baby before the session.

Babies are possibly touching and tasting the cake/frosting for the first time. It’s not uncommon for the baby to have a texture aversion to the frosting. Frosting can feel slimy and gross to some babies, or sticky and fun to others!

So, test it out a few times so they know what they’ll be dealing with at the session.

Should The Cake Be Covered in Buttercream or Fondant?

White buttercream frosted cakes work best for Cake Smash Portrait Sessions. Buttercream frosting is easy for babies to dig into and white frosting is much easier to clean. Colored frosting can stain and lead to a much bigger mess than expected.

You can get fondant decorations for the cake, but the smaller the better. Large fondant decorations can be a choking hazard!

What Should My Baby Wear for One Year Cake Smash Portraits?

Plan on stripping your baby down to just a diaper or plan on ditching the clothes you put them in.

If you want your baby to stay dressed, I recommend an outfit you won’t mind getting ruined. Otherwise, a nakey baby in just a diaper works great. Bring a clean outfit for bringing the baby home in, as well.

How much cake should the baby eat at the Cake Smash Session?

Don’t let your baby go too far. The cake and frosting are very rich and super sweet. The last thing you want is to bring home a baby that is sick to its stomach.  

We’ll capture plenty of images just by letting them dig in and take a few bites. But it might be best to reserve the rest of the cake for after they’ve eaten a meal at home.

How Do I Clean My Baby After the Cake Smash Portrait Session?

I keep wipes and paper towels at the studio, but plan to bring extra wipes and a bath towel.

In the bathroom at my studio, there’s the option of giving your baby a sink bath after the session. This will clean them up well enough for the car ride home.

At a park with a beach, there’s always the option of a lake bath.

If you choose a spot for the photos where water is inaccessible, bring many, many wipes.

Where Can I Get a Cake for a Cake Smash Session in the Minneapolis area?

Here are the places I recommend you get the cake for the cake smash session:



Cub Foods

Thirsty Whale

Here’s to a happy and fun first birthday cake smash session!

one year baby boy in tans and golds eating cake for cake smash portrait session in minneapolis mn
one year baby boy with 1 crown eating cake at cake smash portrait session near minneapolis mn
one year baby boy sticking his finger in cake at his one year cake smash portrait session near minneapolis mn

If you’re looking to book a First Birthday Cake Smash Portrait Session with Alicea Rose Photography, please reach out to me today! My calendar usually books about 6-8 weeks in advance. I take a limited number of sessions each month to ensure the timely delivery of your photos.

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