Being a motherhood photographer, in which capturing maternity, newborn, and baby milestones is the biggest part of my business, I document a lot of cake smash sessions. If left to my own devices, those cake smash sessions would be relatively understated (more on that in a second), but more and more frequently moms are requesting a themed one year cake smash and you know I’m ALL IN.
In terms of understated, I *generally* like the focus to be on the birthday boy or girl. A huge, crazy background with lots of colors and textures and distracting elements draws the eye away from the main reason we’re there and it’s just not my style. My studio, where I do most of my shooting during the cold winter months, is all white. I have a white bed with white pillows and white curtains and I have a section of white flooring surrounded on three sides with more white curtains…it’s pretty neutral 🤪 During the warmer weather months, I’m typically shooting cake smash sessions outside and, as you can see here and here, there are *some* decorative elements but it’s not crazy at all. A crate, some boy or girl layers, maybe a rocking chair, some balloons, and a cute baby with some cute outfits. Boom. But every so often, I get a momma who asks about doing a themed one year cake smash and she has my full attention.
I do have a couple of stipulations regarding themed one year cake smashes. First, mom and dad have to provide the decorations – I’m good at the shooting but I’m *not* good at the decorating. I apparently was in a different line when God was handing out creativity. Second, it has to be something that can be easily cleaned up. I like to leave a location cleaner than it was when we arrived so plan to spend as much time as we need to, de-cake-smashing the area. Three? There is no three. As long as you bring what we need and you’re as dedicated to respectfulness and cleanliness as I am, we’re basically good to go.
Easton’s momma approached me with an idea for a winter woodlands theme. Easton was born right before Christmas last year so of course we had to incorporate some Christmas elements in there. I, personally, had been wanting to add a wood-round cake stand into my own studio stock so I got to work on that (thank you, husband, for hauling out the chain saw and stomping through the woods with me!) while Diana pulled together an absolutely adorable (and still fairly minimal!) set-up that she brought to my studio the day of his session. We probably spent more time debating set-ups than someone who *was* in that creativity line but I think we managed to create an adorable setup that showcased Easton’s first birthday beautifully. Thank you, Diana, for the idea and all of your hard work gathering, transporting and setting up. Go team! It just goes to show, a themed one year cake smash doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars and require an interior decorator to pull together. It can consist of household decorations and LED twinkle lights and still be amazing. Happy birthday, Easton!
Liz Viernes Photography is based near Annapolis, Maryland, and specializes in motherhood, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.