Cake Smash Photography in San Diego

Sep 29, 2022

Cake Smash Photography is a fun way to capture your little one’s first taste of birthday cake as they celebrate their very first birthday. Turning the big ONE is a big milestone for you and your baby. Whether your baby is already walking, crawling, or scooting around, cake smash photography in San Diego is a fun, and messy way to celebrate!

What is a Cake Smash Photography Session?

A cake smash photoshoot is held in the baby photography studio here in San Diego. We will chat at the time of booking about particular colors or themes that will best suit your baby. Often times, parents don’t have any particular preferences, but sometimes parents want to incorporate certain toys, colors, themes, etc. Once we decide on what our setup will look like, we will schedule a date for our cake smash photo session. I typically like to hold these cake smash sessions in the mornings as I find that babies are more refreshed and happy right after their first morning nap. I work with parents to find a good start time that parents think will work best for baby.

On the day of the cake smash photoshoot, parents arrive with their baby to find the studio is set up and ready for baby. As a professional cake smash photographer in San Diego, I will have everything prepared and ready to go for our session, from the complete background setup, the outfit and cake.

We will begin our smash cake photo shoot without a cake. What? Yep! I will capture a few portraits of baby to document where they are on their journey to toddlerhood. If baby is standing, I like to get a couple of photos of baby standing, either unassisted or holding onto an age-appropriate prop. If baby is not mobile yet, we will stick to sitting poses, either in/on a prop, or solo on the backdrop.

Next, we will move into the cake smash portion of the session. Time for fun! With the cake placed right in front of baby, I begin to snap away from the moment baby begins to interact with the cake. Some babies dig right in with both hands, and even with their entire faces, and some are a bit more hesitant to get their hands cakey. Either way, it’s always so much fun to capture their mannerisms and response to having a big, giant cake all to themselves.

Once the cake has been smashed, I bring out a baby sized foam bathtub, filled with water and baby soap. This is not only for cleanup but also, babies LOVE the bath, and have a great time sitting in warm water, splashing around and even continuing to eat their cake. It’s a fun time for all!

Smash cake photoshoot san diego
Baby’s first birthday cake smash in San Diego

Are Cake Smash Sessions Only Held in the Photography Studio?

Cake smash photographers generally like to hold these photo shoots in the studio as things such as lighting, temperature and cleanup can be better controlled indoors. However, outdoor cake smash sessions are an option depending on the weather and location. These outdoor cake smash sessions can be a lot of fun and provide a good variety of options in terms of shooting angles whereas a studio smash might be a bit more limited to the backdrop. Keep in mind that outdoor smash photo sessions can be a bit trickier to set up and clean up or to keep baby happy if the temperatures are not ideal.

Do I need to bring anything to my baby’s cake smash photo shoot?

I provide everything that is needed for the smash, including the cake, outfit and setup. If you prefer to bring in your own cake for allergy or nutrition concerns, that is totally fine! We will work together to make sure the cake colors or design will work with the rest of the setup. If there is a particular toy or accessory that you feel would work well to incorporate into the session, I am all for adding it in too!

Besides bringing baby in for the cake smash photography session, all I suggest bringing in is a change of clothes for mom and dad, as parents tend to get quite messy picking up and putting baby down. I will have a towel handy for baby.

Even though I offer an array of light snacks to my clients in the photography studio, including Goldfish crackers (a baby and toddler fave), please feel free to bring in any snack that your baby might want to snack on if they are just not into the cake. I use these treats to hide behind the cake to stir up interest.

cake smash bathtub for photos
Baby L, loving his post-cake smash bath.

What if my baby doesn’t cooperate during the cake smash?

It happens! At around age one, babies may go through a bit of separation anxiety or stranger danger. In this scenario, we will just take things slow, let baby relax and see that the photography studio is not a scary place and that mom and dad are close by at all times for those first birthday photos. I also encourage parents to be mindful of a baby that is teething or may be getting a cold – I always prefer to reschedule to a time where baby is feeling his or her best. But what happens if baby is not teething, isn’t catching a cold, has had a full nap, and is otherwise content, but is just not wanting to cooperate with the cake smash? Well, we will snap what we can during the smash, but will focus on things baby is more interested in. Without fail, babies absolutely love the post-smash bath. We will set up the cake to be close to the baby bathtub and will just focus on what makes baby happy.

What are other smash ideas besides cake for my baby?

We don’t have to use cake, we can use anything you’d like! Spaghetti, donuts, fruit, ice cream, pancakes, Cheerios, meatballs, In N Out, you name it, we can incorporate it! Often times, the food used for the smash can give us creative ideas for the setup and backdrop. We can do a watermelon smash for example, where baby is served a bowl of cut up watermelon, and the backdrop incorporates pink, green and white, cutout watermelons, balloon garlands with those colors, etc.

lemon cake smash
Citrus lemon cake smash

What are the most popular cake smash themes?

Here are a list of the most popular cake smash ideas for first birthday photos:
– Wild ONE
– Donut Grow Up
– Sweet One
– Ice Cream Smash
– Ombre balloon garland
– Goodnight Moon
– Star Wars
– Astronaut/space
– Floral
– Peter Rabbit
– Clouds/sky
– Peter Pan
– Disney characters/movies
– Boho
– Lemon theme
– Cocomelon
– Baby Shark

Cake smash photography in San Diego is a fun and memorable way to document your baby’s first year. Ready to book your cake smash session? Use the contact form below to get in touch!

Related cake smash photography links:

San Diego Cake Smash Photographer