Pro tips from your Tampa Smash Cake Photographer:

Everything a parent should know when booking a smash cake first birthday session

First birthday smash cake photography is a trend where parents hire someone skilled to capture the moment when your child celebrates their first birthday by giving them a small cake to smash and play with. The idea is that your baby will make a mess trying their first sweet treat and have fun while the parents and your awesome photographer will capture the moment on camera. This type of photography has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it allows you, as parents, to create a fun and memorable moment for your child's first birthday and share that memory for a lifetime.

The popularity of first birthday smash cake photography can be attributed to the age we’re in society wise. Mostly due to social media. It has made it easier than ever to share your photos and your videos it friends and family near and far. Tampa parents are eager to document and share every milestone in your child's life. Are you this momma? Don’t worry girl, me too… me too! It’s exactly why you’re here and why I have this career as a child photographer. 

As you’re thinking about your own baby’s first birthday here’s some tips on things to keep in mind:


I always like to start with “what are you wearing” and “do you have a first birthday party theme in mind” to get our wheels turning. It’s hard for a photographer to gauge what parents want so be thinking about your ideas as you reach out and plan your session. Typically for my birthday sessions here at DigitalMyst Photography I capture a few family shots, followed by just close ups of your baby and then a finale cake smash ending.  

This means you could have between 2-3 outfit changes if you’re into that!  

Outfit 1: Family photos

Outfit 2: Close ups of baby

Outfit 3: Cake smash friendly outfit that will likely get sticky and dirty and potentially stained all together.

Allergies and Safety:

I never purchase cakes myself for your session. This a big thing for me… and here’s why… I ask parents to bring their desired cake to the shoot so that if baby has an allergy you can double check ingredients are correct before the shoot. Some babies do have allergies to eggs, milk etc so this gives you freedom to play within the limits of your baby’s diet.

Types of smash cakes:

In all honestly, some parents buy high end cakes and others grocery store cakes. I’m all about whatever you want but keep in mine… icing can stain and certain color icings can appear like… well… poop! Generally speaking pinks, whites, yellows, light blues and light pastel greens match nicely outdoors. Try avoiding bold colors like red and blue - they’re harder to clean and when they mix they look like poo color.  

Traditional white cakes are the way to go as chocolate doesn’t look as appetizing crumbled up and all over a little ones face. Trust me… it looks like poop! LITERAL POOP!

Try stick with a simple buttercream frosting. Fondant may look really pretty and show more detail but in my experience it’s hard for babies to dig into and break apart.  

If you’re buying from a grocery story ask to see the different options available. Traditionally mini cakes are about 6inches tall and perfect for the smash cake job. Smash cakes are much shorter (approximately two inches) and don’t have as much height for your baby to actually dig in. Either option is always fine by me but I like to make parents aware in advance there are differences.

Manage your expectations:

While you and I have both seen a handful of amazing Pinterest ideas online and even in my portfolio… you just never know what to expect with kids. I’ve had kids dig right in while others gage. Every baby is different so be prepared for your baby to cry, not want to eat it, love getting dirty and or put their face right into it immediately.

Remember to have FUN and enjoy the moment. You survived a year of parenting and that deserves great photos by your Tampa First Birthday Photographer hands down!