Friday, February 8, 2013

Cake Smash Inspiration / Pinspiration

Last night I was looking at Pinterest for some Cake Smash photos to send some inspiration/examples for one of my students. No I thought that I'd post a few here... (Eli is sitting here in my lap saying "baby! baby!" It's totally adorable.) There were all kinds of cake smash pics. I wanted to show some of them with my opinion on how to do/not do a cake smash.

In general I'm not a fan of cake smash photos... it seems like a lot of effort and expense for a few minutes that end in tears and they are so hard to do well but if you happen to be planing your own little one's cake smash, or will be photographing someone else's here is some inspiration via Pinterest. I've hunted down the original url to give you the full post where I thought it was helpful. 

The small images are examples of what not to do and the larger images are examples of what I consider to be good cake smash photography. 

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

a good cake smash photo should have a good background...

... the background shouldn't clash or distract from your birthday baby

... the background should be out of focus. 

Source: via Christen on Pinterest

...but not quite this out of focus (though the rest of the image is so adorable!)

Camera Tip: If you are shooting this yourself the best way to make sure that your background is blurry is to set your camera on the portrait setting or to aperture priority and then set the aperture to it's widest setting available, which will be the lowest number. If you have a zoom lens you can zoom all the way in to get a nice blurry background.  If you start to see circles or if the props in the background completely loose their shape your need to use a narrower aperture (higher number) to increase your depth of field. (Click here to read a tutorial on depth of field & your zoom lens)

Source: via Ash on Pinterest

This shot could not be simpler but I just love it!

I think this is a great set-up for a cake smash. I love the cute painted high chair and the simple grassy field.

Background ideas for indoor shoot: You don't need to have a studio light set up to get pretty photos of your baby's cake smash - although that is the way to get the most consistent results. Typically a cake smash will have either plain paper - white, gray, blue and pink are popular colors. Add some interest in the background by hanging crepe paper, ribbons or bunting. The bunting might spell happy birthday or the child's name but my favorite is a simple color-coordinated pattern.

Source: via Faith on Pinterest

click here to see lots of similar ideas


Source: Uploaded by user via Holly on Pinterest

Make sure to check your light. This yellow overcast is caused by artificial light.
See a tutorial about how to set your white balance here

You won't want to have spotted light either!

Source: via Tracy on Pinterest

This is excellent light for a cake smash!

While the focus could be sharper on the face the light in this shot is so sweet!!

The light in this series is perfect! I love the contrasting paper and the modest use of props.

All I can say about this is: is this for real? It looks like a bomb went off or like the mom threw cake at her kid. I don't know... see the rest of this set here for a sweet & simple studio style set-up.

Could this be any cuter?! Adorable location, great props, and a good depth to the composition (a foreground, middle & background) but the thing that "takes the cake" in this shot is an exceptionally great expression. See the rest of this outstanding set here and a more streamlined set here.

Ideas on where to set up your photoshoot: clear out a wall in your kitchen, if you have wall space there. Another idea is in a bedroom that gets lots of light. My dining room gets fantastic light during the afternoon. I would probably move the table out of the way for a serious cake-smash sesh. If the weather is nice and you have a backdrop the garage is a fantastic place to get nice even light. You could also do this session in a field or meadow, a local park or in the shadow of the library or other large building or even just in your back yard.

Props & Location

Source: via Mandi on Pinterest

While I admire the attempt at color coordination the props in this shot can not redeem this awful location!

Props shouldn't overwhelm the shot

Props should not overwhelm or hide the child's face

Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

The props for this shot are total over-kill...

but if you're going to go over-board do it like this...
Source: via Faith on Pinterest

I am going to pass out from over-exposure to cuteness!! Is this not the most adorable thing?! Maybe a little overkill on the set-up but I just love the tones and the pink, dreamy quality of this shot.

A simple sweet headband makes an excellent prop

I just adore a simple prop like a vintage high chair


A beautiful location and sweet props can not make up for this expression.

Am I the only one who thinks this is just a little bit creepy?
It's like the sock monkey hat is eating the cake!

This is how pretty much every cake smash I've been to ends up...
but it would be nice if we could get something like this first...

Source: via Ashlee on Pinterest

Oh the expression on this baby's face!!

click here for the full post with lots of inspiration!!

That's not going to happen every time. Sometimes, if not most of the time, the baby is not going to be that interested in messing with a sticky cake or eating the awful stuff. Stay upbeat, positive and smiling and try not to get stressed. The more times you do this the better you'll get at it.


The Cake Smash Collage seems to be the downfall of many of the images on Pinterest. These photos have really pretty light and the collage has a nice diversity of shots but the uniformity of the collage template (and those round corners) make for a boring display. Shots should have a varying degree of prominence. 
Here's one I liked better...

Love this collage. The light is beautiful, the processing is (for the most part) consistent, the collage tells a story and some of the images are more prominent and others fill in details of the shoot. I couldn't find the source for this post but her website is definitely worth spending some time bookmarking and looking through regularly.

At the end of the day I think what we all really want is something like this:

Just in case you're starting to be filled with guilt:  this is the extent of Eli's cake smash at his first birthday...

see the rest of this set here
and that red frosting tinted his face & hands for days
Not my most brilliant moment.

You can also view these posts on I Heart Faces on how to shoot a cake smash and how to edit a cake smash and see what has to say about the Cake Smash

1 comment:

  1. I liked this post. I don't always agree with all of your opinions but I like that you have the integrity to state them respectfully and put your name behind them. And that you know that cutting someone down in bitterness doesn't do anything to bring you up.

    I have a nine month old and a smash cake wasn't really on my radar until this post. Now I'm all excited and searching for vintage high chairs on Craigslist! I really enjoyed reading this. :)


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