Cake Smash Expectations: When the Cake Smash Photoshoot Doesn’t Go as Planned

Cake Smash

September 10, 2023

One year old boy in vintage blue outfit smiles during his photo sessions, giving off great cake smash expectations

Cake smash photoshoots have become a popular way to celebrate a baby’s first birthday. Parents envision their little one joyfully diving into a cake, getting covered in frosting, and creating adorable memories captured by a professional photographer. But what happens when your baby isn’t thrilled about the idea? In this blog, we’ll explore the story of a baby who wasn’t too keen on his cake smash session and how his parents learned to adjust their cake smash expectations.

Cake Smash Expectations: Anticipation:

All smiles as the birthday boy frolics on the white studio bed

As baby Santi’s first birthday approached, his mom reached out excitedly to discuss all the things. She had been planning his cake smash photoshoot for months, (for his entire first year, actually, since his lifestyle newborn session) carefully selecting the perfect cake, outfit, and decorations (a last minute decision to bring the wooden truck his daddy played with as a boy was the perfect prop!). Santi is the life of the party in all things so she had imagined her little boy laughing and enjoying every moment of the messy and delightful experience….in other words, LOTS of cake smash expectations.

First year portraits in the hammock chair with a vintage wooden truck and letters that spell out ONE as simple decor
Happy boy kicks back in the hammock chair, laughing, with his feet in the air.
One year old boy in blue and white jumper plays with white letters that spell out ONE.

Cake Smash Expectations: The Reality Check:

On the big day, the stage was set. Santi sat in his cute little blue shorts, with a big smile on his face and a beautifully decorated ombre blue cake was placed in front of him. I was ready to capture every moment of the anticipated cake smash session. But Santi had other plans. As his momma encouraged him to dig into the cake, he hesitated, unsure of what to do. Instead of gleeful giggles and frosting-covered fingers, Santi looked bewildered and somewhat wary, choosing to crawl right past the cake instead of digging in!

Our cake smash expectations are foiled as baby boy crawls right past his cake

Cake Smash Expectations: Adjusting

At this moment, mom Rikah faced a choice: she could become frustrated and disappointed that Santi’s picture-perfect cake smash wasn’t going as planned, or she could adjust her expectations and embrace the reality of the situation. She chose the latter.

Baby makes a dismayed face as he looks at his birthday smash cake.

She did this by:

  1. Embracing Santi’s Pace: Instead of pushing Santi to engage with the cake forcefully, Rikah decided to let him explore at his own pace. We encouraged him gently, allowing him to do what *he* wanted instead of what *we* wanted.
  2. Capturing Real Moments: I quickly adapted to the situation, focusing on capturing the authentic moments rather than forcing a particular narrative. Santi’s cautious expressions and tentative touches became part of the story (as well as the fork we gave him, in hopes that it might spur some play).
  3. Finding Joy in Unexpected Places: Santi might not have been as enthusiastic as his parents had hoped, but he did provide some unexpected moments of delight. His hesitant smiles and occasional taste-testing brought genuine smiles to his momma’s face (and mine!).
  4. Celebrating Uniqueness: Rikah realized that Santi’s cake smash session might not be like the ones she had seen on social media, or had been planning for a year, but it was uniquely his. His individuality was something to be cherished, not compared to others.
Boy in blue shorts hold a fork as he gazes at his untouched birthday smash cake and shoots an impish grin at the camera.
Baby boy chuckles as he plays with a fork instead of his birthday cake, dashing our cake smash expectations.

In the end, Santi’s cake smash photoshoot wasn’t the perfectly staged, frosting-covered affair his mom had initially envisioned. However, it became a beautiful memory filled with genuine moments of curiosity and connection. Rikah and I both learned that, sometimes, life’s most precious moments are the ones that unfold naturally, even if they don’t align with our expectations.

Mom helps her son dig into his smash cake with a fork, but he is disinterested.
Mom tries to feed baby his cake while dad encourages the boy to walk forward.

So, the next time your plans don’t go as anticipated, remember Santi’s cake smash session and the valuable lessons learned. Life is full of surprises, and often, the unplanned moments turn out to be the most special. Embrace the uniqueness of each experience, and you’ll find joy in unexpected places.

Picture of abandoned cake, fork laying nearby.

Featured on Subkit, Liz Viernes Photography is based near Hanover, MD, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.

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