How to Create a DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot

Baby and cake posing for Wild One photoshoot
DIY Cake Smash Photography

How to do a DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot at Home for your little one!

Our little one turned the ‘Wild One’ while we were stuck in Australia (due to COVID-19) and in quarantine. I had dreamt of that perfect Pinterest one-year-old birthday party with family and friends but now that wasn’t possible this year. I knew I had to get creative, crafty, and plan a fun cake smash at home (in our Airbnb) with a virtual party! It turned out to be a blast and Kaleo had so much fun! I set up a DIY backdrop for our photoshoot with cute balloons and decor, our cake was gorgeous and delicious (thanks to @mamabearkitchen in Byron Bay) and I was sooo happy with the amazing photos!

Baby first birthday DIY cake smash

A DIY Cake Smash and photoshoot is SO much fun to put together, friendly on the pocket, and although I shot with my SonyA7ii, you don’t need a fancy camera. Using just an iPhone these days takes great shots too!

Here’s How to Do a DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot at Home: Things You Need and Some Tips & Tricks!

The Decor & Set-Up

Baby and cake posing for DIY Cake Smash Wild One photoshoot
Anyone can create a cake smash photoshoot! Find a brightly lit space and utilize “props” you have around your home
  • White, bright & natural light makes for the best photography! A white blank canvas for a photoshoot is the perfect way to start as you can add any decor you wish. You can buy a white muslin backdrop HERE on Amazon or use a white wall in a bright room (like I did).
  • I suggest looking around your house and to get creative with what you have. Being in quarantine with mostly all the shops closed, I was very limited as to what I was able to get my hands on. I found these gold and silver balloons and birthday hats at the local grocery store. After those finds, I went hunting around our Airbnb to see what other “props” I could use. Lucky me, I found these cute pillows, throws, and ukulele to add to the shoot! I set everything up in our Airbnb’s spare bedroom and voila! Now, all I needed was the cake!

The Cake

Baby smiling with cake on his face at DIY cake smash birthday

Our cake was made by the talented @mamabearskitchen in Byron Bay. It was beautiful and delicious! Highly recommend her if you’re in the area, looking for goodies for your wedding, birthday parties or events! It was suggested to us to keep the cake at room temperature before using and serving but what I found was best for the shoot was to:

**TIP** Keep the cake a bit on the colder side for the photoshoot so you can gain a bit more time with baby and the cake for those cute photos before they get all messy. Take it out of the fridge just before you start shooting. As it warms up, the cake will start to become softer for those cute and messy photos.

Shoot Time

I STRONGLY suggest to set everything up in advance. Have the decor, props, and snacks beside you (see tip below). Also, make sure your camera is charged and that you have any shakers/noisemakers you need so baby can look at the camera. Finally, last-minute, you can put the cake in place. Once it’s all set up, I suggest taking a few shots without baby to ensure that everything fits within the frame. Finally, all you need is baby and it’s time to get messy and have fun!

Baby playing with cake at DIY cake smash birthday
We put blueberries around the cake to keep him occupied while taking photos!

While Kaleo was napping, I had all our friends and family from around the world set up on a zoom call. I set up the laptop in the room so they could join the party {virtually}! When Kaleo got up, I changed him into his outfit and brought him into the room. He was SO excited!

**TIP** Use Snacks to Distract!

I hid some blueberries at the top and bottom of the cake, as well as a small ball. The blueberries helped keep him in one sitting position for a while. It took time for him to grab and eat each blueberry allowing for me to take some cute photos! You can also use cheerios or any other small snacks they like. The ball was there for him to play with when the berries were done. This gained me extra time to take some cute photos while he was still clean.

Baby standing up with cake on his face, cake smash photography
Kaleo having more fun playing with the cake then eating it!

Then, it was time to get messy! Once the cake started to warm to room temperature, we sang Happy Birthday, played around with the cake, and helped him dig into it! Kaleo was definitely more interested in playing with it then eating it!

A few other**TIPS**

  • A rested baby is a happy baby! I did our shoot after Kaleo’s first nap of the day when his energy is best! If you have a partner or a helper, that’s a huge bonus!
  • Remember to have fun and live in the moment! This birthday truly only comes once, if you didn’t capture that “perfect picture,” it’s ok! Anything you capture will be perfect for your family and all the memories the photos capture are priceless.

Check out my Instagram saved stories for a BTS of this shoot and to watch it in action @gypsyjournals.

Any questions or comments, please let me know! Wondering about long distance travel with baby? Read all about my tips and tricks on my Flying With A Baby Blog Here!

Happy First Birthday Kaleo! We love you!

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