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How to Prepare for a 1st Birthday and Cake Smash Session

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  • Post last modified:May 6, 2022

How to Prepare for a 1st Birthday and Cake Smash Session

Cake smash sessions are a fun and joyful way to commemorate the milestone of your baby’s first birthday. 

1. Location We can meet in the studio, at a local park or in your home. 

2. Outfits Most babies are photographed in two outfits, a first birthday outfit and cake smash attire. Cake smash attire is typically a diaper cover, bloomers, cloth diaper or tutu. 

3. Decor You are welcome to bring along first birthday party decorations to the photo shoot, such as a banner, balloons, etc. You are welcome to use any items you like from the studio. Most parents tend to prefer the less is more attitude.

4. Cake It’s best to introduce your baby to cake once or twice before the session so your baby has already explored the texture and you’ll be aware of possible allergies. Be sure to bring a cake at room temperature, avoid chocolate, fondant and toothpicks. Most smash cakes measure around 6 inches. It’s also possible to bring a cupcake. Light colored icing and sprinkles generally look very cute in portraits. I typically allow for 15 minutes of cake photos. But we will follow your baby’s pace.

 5. Clean up Get ready for a mess! Please bring outfit changes for both parent(s) and baby and a couple towels. After the cake your little one can have a dip in our small tub to be nice and clean for the drive home. 

6. Illness If your baby wakes up the day of the photo shoot with a fever, we will reschedule! Sick babies aren’t happy babies!!

7. Additional items Bring along a sippy cup, a spoon (for you to help your baby, if needed!), some of your baby’s favorite foods, like Cheerios, so we can put them on the cake if your baby is not very interested in it.

8. Session Length First birthday/cake smash sessions typically last around an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, but I allow up to two hours, to err on the side of caution.

9. Accessories Accessories often make the outfit, right? Past clients have brought in bows, ribbons, bowties, party hats, and crowns. 

10. Enjoy it! Don’t stress over the small details. Sometimes babies have a mind of their own, but don’t sweat it! I’ll be sure to capture cute portraits of your sweet baby!!


Hi, I'm Laura Mares! I'm thankful to be a wife, mother and Pittsburgh lifestyle photographer. I photograph because I believe that life is simply beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.