With Covid-19 upon us many of you are now faced with not being able to have a cake smash session for your little one, so I wanted to share some tips for a DIY smash.
Setting up for a cake smash photography session doesn’t need to be hard work and the results often far outweigh your efforts. The idea around a cake smash session is pretty simple: set up a cake and let your little one explore it whilst you capture their reaction. They can be done at any age but often to mark the milestone one year birthday.
I wanted to share some tips I’ve learnt to help you with a DIY cake smash session. First and foremost, the cake smash is more about experience of capturing adorable expressions rather than culinary taste so an expensive cake is not at all necessary. You could make a simple victoria sandwich sponge and add some sprinkles or if you wanted to be more adventurous you could butter cream the outside and even ombre the icing if you wanted.
So, you will need to think about the space and set up you wish to use. If you have access to an outdoor space for the set up then use this, it gives a great natural feel to the session plus the clean up is easier, also, you won’t face any challenges such as lighting or any colour casts to your final photographs which may result from being inside. However, if indoors is your only option then you would need to find somewhere with as much natural light as possible, the natural light would need to be directly behind you as the photographer. If you are outside then choose a shaded area or aim to do the shoot during the last hour or 2 before sunset, you want to avoid harsh sunlight and shadows. If indoors then you would want to avoid a time of day where you may have direct sunlight coming in through the window, and turn off any overhead lights to prevent orange and brackish colouring in the photos. Once you have your space decided, it's time to think about actual set up. A large bedsheet would make the ideal backdrop, depending on the decoration of your home of course, a wood floor for example would be beautiful but if (like myself) you are faced with tiled floors and cream walls then this too would work as well as a plain white large bedsheet, here are a couple of other ideas I found… Click the image to see original source.
I personally prefer to avoid any high balloons, if you want to use balloons, keep them low so that the focus remains on your little one and the cake. This also means that if you wanted to use a numerical balloon it is better to keep low too. You don’t want to dwarf your child by having to try to capture high balloons within the same shot.
Coordinate the cake with what your child might be wearing, I prefer the child to wear only a bottom cover so you see full effects of the cake, plus again the clean up is easier. A tutu is always a hit for a girl! Think about adding decorative touches such as bunting, a special party hat, a bow tie or hair accessories for girls. For my sons smash I am planning to dress him in a pair of jeans with braces and a flat cap (if he will keep it on!)
Camera wise, unless you have a DSLR and know how to use it then the good old iPhone would work just fine (disclaimer, I am in no way suggesting that an iPhone does the job a professional camera but I will not of course expect you to purchase and teach yourself to use a professional DSLR ;-) )
In my experience babies don’t often know what to do with a big cake in front of them, so set aside enough time, don’t try to rush this experience. It’ll be way more stressful if you feel like you’re on a timer. Make it an activity and let them play for a while. A good way to ease them into it is by offering them a small taste and encourage them to explore. Don’t expect them to just dive right in as this can often lead to tears.
Take as many photos as possible! Get down on the floor and shoot at the same level as your baby, stand up looking down at them too. Capture the details of the cake, focus on the cake covered face and messy hands. The more photos you take the more likely you are to be happy with the outcome.
Once you have all of your images, it’s time to decide which ones to edit. Choose your favourites and make sure that there is a solid variety with good resolution and quality lighting, these are the ones that will withstand the editing process best. The best 2 apps for on phone editing are Lightroom and Snapseed.
Here are some great shoots I found which could easily be recreated, click each image to be taken to the original source.