An Un-BEE-lievable First Birthday | Bluffton Cake Smash Photographer


When my sorority friend from college asked me to do her second daughter’s cake smash session I was so excited! We bounced ideas back and forth off each other and planned the sweetest shoot! Hannah wanted to keep the setup simple (which I’m all for) so we could keep the focus on sweet Parker Anne. When you’re scheduling a cake smash session, I always recommend scheduling it at least 3 weeks before their birthday and/or party. This gives me plenty of time to work on your gallery, send it over, and gives you some time to get prints done if you plan on having them on display at the party. If you don’t plan on having pictures out at the party or if you’re just not planning a party we can get away with doing them 2 weeks before their birthday, that way you’ll have them back in time to share on social media on their actual birthday!

I shoot all my cake sessions with the same routine. First I give the baby time to get adjusted to the area because coming to a new place can be a bit overwhelming. Then we start with some easy basket and bowl pictures to warm them up. For some babes this is their first time in front of a camera so that big black ring can be a little daunting, so don’t be afraid to get right next to me and play the “I’m gonna getcha” game as much as you’d like! Little neck tickles or thigh squeezes tend to bring out some giggles as well. I also recommend bringing an extra set of hands. Whether that be your baby daddy or your momma it’s always helpful because you never know what these kids will throw at us (literally).

Once they’re warmed up to the space and the camera I give them a little break (and sometimes moms use this time to do an outfit change – or just strip them down if you plan on having them smash nakey) while we get the set ready for the cake. I like to take some detailed shots of the cake and the topper before your squish really digs in. The cake topper doesn’t typically hang out for long – especially if you plan on using it for their actual party. Hannah got this honeycomb one from Amazon, you can find it here!

The newest addition to my studio is this reflective flooring that gives cake smashes a little something extra. I also just got these ONE marquee lights that are too cute! I can’t wait to use them again. If we start smashing and your little isn’t a fan of digging into the cake don’t sweat it. Surprisingly enough, most kids aren’t. You can help them by wiping icing on them or digging a chunk out for yourself and nobody will know the difference. We really only need a couple of shots with a smile.  Sweet PA insisted on eating all the little frosting bees off her cake before digging in.

We wrapped up the session with a milk bath to celebrate Hannah and Parker Anne getting through a whole year of breastfeeding! Hannah and I went back and forth on what to put in the bath between cheerios or fruit, but then we finally settled on flowers and it was beautiful!

You might be thinking about what you have to bring to a studio smash session. I have a lot of props on hand that I use for these sessions like greenery, balloon garlands, ONE lights, ONE boxes, a cursive ONE wooden cake topper, white bath bucket, baskets, bowls, and headbands for the girlies. I’m also working on building up my stash of letters, but make sure you check with me first to make sure I have the letter you need. I can also provide cheerios or fruit for the bath session at the end if we plan on doing one. If you haven’t seen some of these props or want some more tips before be sure to check out my insta guide and stories!

You are more than welcome to bring whatever you’d like as well! Some things I recommend for you to bring are a themed cake topper, a letter for their first name, a themed banner (the trend now is to hang a banner on their high chair at the party which is super easy for me to put up during their session so you can make sure you get your use out of it!) I also recommend bringing cheerios or puffs to sneak in the cake if we are having trouble getting them to dig in or if we just need help distracting them in general.

Speaking of. The cake. After teaching in the schools I have seen my fair share of what colored icing can do to little’s skin. I definitely recommend getting a cake with white icing and just a few accent colors or decorations. There are lots of ways for us to incorporate color into the session without staining their skin a terrible red color that looks like they’re fresh out of a horror movie. I’ve also seen mamas put sprinkles inside the cake! That photographs really well. You can either do rainbow sprinkles or specific colored sprinkles that match their birthday theme. Publix has some amazing cakes and almost every session I’ve done has gotten their cake from there! I’ve gone back and forth about providing a cake for you, but I’ve decided I don’t want to accept the liability of an allergy or something else to go wrong.

If you’re a photographer interested in seeing the links for the things I’ve gotten check out my kit here!




September 5, 2021





Take the guesswork out of preparing for a session with my in-depth, 23-page guide, that has tons of links and photo examples!

Session Prep & Style Guide

the free guide!