I love a cake smash, I think it is such a lovely way of celebrating a child's first year and they can be a lot of fun.
● Practice first. - Sometimes children can be shy, not do what you expect them to do, and also find it hard to understand that it is ok to smash the cake. The situation is very new to them, where they are expected to sit, with maybe a light near them and props everywhere. They might not like the mess, might not be used to sweet cake and might not be used to all the attention to get them to look and smile etc. I suggest you get them a small cake like a cupcake and leave them with it on the floor where you would like to do the cake smash and let them do what they like with it. Make try and get a couple of pictures with your phone and see how they respond before you decide if it is right for them or not.
● Make a plan of where you would like to do the cake smash, make sure its in a place you are happy to get covered in cake and also easy to clean up after your little one makes the mess of their dreams.
● Lighting is important, make sure that you can get as much natural light as you can, or find other lights to help brighten up the room if you have no way of getting near a window.
● Choose a theme or colour scheme for the shoot, if you like to keep it simple then you can have just a few bits of colour that compliment each other such as different shades of blue, or pink of some pastel colours. If you like brighter or more of a themed session you can find some great bits online or look up how to make pom poms etc.
● Keep it simple when it comes to props, too many can be too distracting for your child and they could end up not touching the cake at all and playing with the props instead.
● The cake! Butter cream toppings are far more likely to get more messy than fondant as the fondant can be too hard for them to break into but the buttercream will instantly get on their fingers and into their mouths far quicker.
● Take your time, sometimes children just need a little while to adjust to the surroundings you have setup for them before they get to playing with the cake or even looking at the camera, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time for the session so you don't feel rushed and your child also doesn't feel rushed or pressured.
● Less people, more focus. Make sure you get some help during the session ( you will need it) but not too many, and only have 1 person trying to get their attention at any point as too much calling and making noise can confuse them and get them a little more stressed out.
● Getting their attention - either with a noisy toy or sometimes your mobile phone or tablet playing their favourite theme tune or song can help turn a child's confused face into a smile or a giggle. You know what usually makes your child smile and laugh so either get your helper to take the pictures while you work your magic or, you friend or partner can help take it in turns at getting them to smile, but take your time, no rush, no pressure.
● Enjoy yourself. Celebrate the moment, you are amazing, and you not only made this cake smash session, you are raising this wonderful little person, get in there with the mess, take a messy selfie with your little one.
● You will get covered in cake, prepare beforehand, have a towel, some baby wipes and someone to run a bath for your little one.
● Don't forget to get some video too!