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I hope all of you are having a wonderful week so far! With my daughter’s second birthday just a week away I wanted to share her adorable first birthday cake smash set up!
I’m a photographer at heart. It’s been one of my passions ever since I was a little girl.
I’m by no means an expert, but having a baby has truly improved my skills since she’s been my main subject of practice!
In this article, I’m going to go over the whole set up but also tips on different shot ideas as well. (Forwarning this article is a lengthy one. Like 900+ words lengthy. Feel free to save and come back later if need be!)
- Nikon D3200 with lens 18-55mm
- Seamless paper backdrop. I got it from Savage Universal and I loved it! I will definitely buy from them again. (https://savageuniversal.com/)
- Backdrop stand. I found an affordable one-off Amazon. (It came with weighted bags to help steady the backdrop which I highly recommend)
- Light kit. Also found off of Amazon. (If you have a good natural light source I suggest that over a light kit, but for our apartment at the time it was the better option.)
- Real pumpkins from Walmart
- Crochet leaves for background and just to have by themselves (You can find the tutorial I used here) Now if you don’t crochet there are several places you can find leaf banners. Any craft store or possible Target or Walmart.
- O N E letters found at Hobby Lobby. I painted them burgundy to match her theme.
- Cake- I bought a $10 one from Publix. I was going to try and make a pumpkin-shaped cake but I sadly failed when I attempted so I went with an easier alternative.
- The super cute chalkboard printable sign I got off the Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/PristinePrintCo?ref=l2-shopheader-name
- Her adorable tutu I got off Etsy as well. You can find the shop here https://www.etsy.com/shop/Tulletime?ref=l2-shopheader-name
Now with everything added in this wasn’t the cheapest setup. I know you guys are probably rolling your eyes at me because everyone likes to save a couple of bucks, but I’m just being honest.
The biggest expenses were the light kit (again use natural light source if you can!) and the backdrop.
Now there are plenty of backdrop alternatives you can find for a cheaper cost. I’ve seen tutorials where people even used large size white Crayola paper for the backdrop.
So if you’re wanting to save a couple of bucks there are alternatives. With using a lighter weight paper it can also eliminate the backdrop as well.
However, if you’re wanting a specific color, like how I did, then I do still suggest Save Universal.
Tips for picture ideas:
Before the day of the photos, I cheated a little.
I was worried about a rash reaction or just Hailey hating the taste of the cake and having a meltdown for the photos so I gave her some cake beforehand. I gave a little bit a couple of times just so she gets used to texture/taste.
Guys, I’m dead serious when I say this but some kids really will have a meltdown. I’ve seen it personally and also heard plenty of stories.
If your baby is hesitant about new textures or just new foods, in general, it’s good preparation for some cute photos.
Also if your little one has a sensitive tummy and breaks out into rashes often from new foods I suggest it in small amounts for this factor as well.
No one wants an inconsolable toddler from being freaked out over a new texture or one who loves the cake but clearly is breaking out in hives from it.
There are lots of super cute alternatives such as watermelons, paint and I’ve even seen tacos!
Don’t only do the cake smash photos!
I suggest taking some simple photos before the actual cake smash. The cake photos need to be the very last ones for two reasons 1. messy/needing a bath and 2. sugar rush/crash.
This is where I used the ONE letters for props and also the chalkboard birthday sign as well.
Spice it up!
Try to get some different angle shots. Whether it’s a birds-eye or just getting in a little closer to capture something different. Think of ideas beforehand that are outside of the box to give your photoshoot some variety.
Remember, they won’t be this little for long.
Don’t forget the details! Little hands and feet in the cake. Close up of icing covered face. The before and after of the cake. Take some even of the decorations you used.
This tip ties in with number two on adding some variety to your photos, but also just to capture the still tiny features that change ever so quickly.
Some of the up close detailed shots are some of my favorites from the entire session.
Last but definitely not least. Have some help!
Use your spouse, a grandparent or even your best friend!
Whoever you can think of that can make your baby smile the most or even just look up at the camera a couple of times. This can be a lot harder then you think when your toddler is stuffing his or her face with some unsupervised sweets!
Now, don’t have a room full of people either. This can be overwhelming to a little one. I say two people max besides yourself.
Trust me though you don’t want to do this alone!
Well, guys if you made it through this whole article then you get a gold star!
Let me know if you have any other ideas that you added to your one’s cake smash in the comments!
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