D.I.Y Cake Smash - Family Photographer South Wales - Create Timeless Natural Images

Lets talk birthdays and one of my favourite ways to document your little ones milestone! We’ve all seen cake smashes, they’re a fun, messy way to celebrate a birthday….but can we all just agree that it can look a bit naff? I want to share some of my top tips for your D.I.Y cake smash that will give you timeless images full of joy.

Dig in!

Cake smashes are the best! Why? Because of the experience itself. Whatever age your child is they are going to be BEYOND excited at the idea of getting to cover themselves in frosting and cake! I see kids buzzing when they see the cake and that’s before the sugar rush hits! The mess they make is perfect, the spontaneous dancing for joy and the huge grins of disbelief are EVERYTHING!

A birthday wish come true.

To me, cake smashes aren’t about having the perfect set up. Choosing a theme. Colour coordinating to the nth degree. Filling a shot with so many props that you can’t actually see the child! They’re about putting the biggest smile on your child’s face. Then creating images of that smile which fully capture the thrill of being a kid on their birthday! We’re making memories here!


Now it’s your turn, here’s my top tips for your own D.I.Y cake smash.


The cake.


When picking your cake I say steer clear of fondant instead, choose a cake covered in buttercream. Much better for smushing! I’m also a big fan of sprinkles, I love shot of a child with 100s of sprinkles framing their smile.

Choosing the right cake.

Of course you can order a fabulous cake maker to create a cake for you. You can simply go to the shop and pick a suitable one. Or if Mary Berry is your spirit animal then you could go for the bake it yourself route. This is great as you have more control, you choose how it looks and you decide if your going to create something a little less sugary to suit your lifestyle.


One thing to keep in mind is that this cake is going to get DEMOLISHED! Might not want to use an expensive, beautiful masterpiece for this one, save that for the party. Top tip? Pick up a box cake mix!


Location for your D.I.Y cake smash.


Outdoors! Outdoors! Every time! Outdoors! Practically speaking, this makes clean up SO much easier! You want to be able to let your kid go absolutely ape on this cake there will be frosting flying everywhere. You don’t want to be worrying about getting food dye out of the carpet! 

The perfect setting.

Also outdoor locations make for such a pretty backdrop, organic and natural. Head to a local beauty spot or invite everyone round to the garden to enjoy the spectacle! I said it before I’ll say it again, we’re making memories!


Setting the scene.


I mentioned earlier about how anti-backdrops and props I am BUT you still want to put some consideration into how things will look.


Don’t go crazy, we’re not talking 100s of pink and gold balloons. Just take the time to think about the elements you will be including and if they look good together.

A simple, pretty and understated set up.

I’ll use my sons third birthday cake smash as an example. I wanted a very organic feel so we chose our favourite woodland spot. A simple white blanket and blue cake stand worked well with the earthy tones in the woods. The wicker basket tied in with the natural textures of the branches and we found the wooden stump when we got there! Pretty, understated and pleasing on the eye.


Party time!


Don’t know about you but I spend a lot of time asking my 3 year old to use his knife and fork instead of grabbing handfuls of dinner at the table. So when I put a cake in front of him and told him to dig in, he was a little confused. Kids can take a little encouraging to get into the spirit of things.

Taking a handful of the sweet stuff!

The best thing to do is really get into spirit yourself. Get excited, grab a little chunk of cake, get messy, throw on some tunes and show them this how fun this is going to be!


They’ll soon get the hang of it and then they’ll be no stopping them!


Getting the shot.


This is a day you don’t want to forget so make sure you’re really capturing the story. Try to get a shot of the set up before your child gets in there. A great idea is to get them to stand a bit away from the cake (if they’re old enough to walk/run) count them down and then grab lots of photos of them running for the cake!

Keep it moving and catch all the smiles.

Vary your angles, shoot from low down to the ground, shoot from high above them, in close on the details, out wide for the whole picture. Give yourself lots of options for your D.I.Y cake smash, don’t just sit static and get lots of the same image.


Just keep shooting, there’s going to be lots going on so make sure you don’t miss anything!


This ones a biggie!


BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES.


That ones self explanatory really. A few wet flannels aren’t a bad shout either!

Face full of cake.

Finally, eat cake!


Don’t forget to treat yourself too, this isn’t just little ones big day. It’s a big day for you too, wether it’s your first year or your eighth year of being a parent….YOU DID IT! Recognise what a good job you’ve done and what a blessing it is to have that gorgeous little light in your life.

Sneaking a bit of untouched cake.

So I’ll say it again, have cake! If you don’t fancy sharing the mauled, spit covered creation your child has been devouring, bring a little something extra just for you.


I hope you found these tips for a D.I.Y cake smash helpful! If you would like to book your cake smash session with me, get in touch to find out about my packages!

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Sarah Haile is a Mother, Wife and Photographer based in Abergavenny, South Wales. Since her transformation into Motherhood she uses her camera to celebrate and empower the journeys of the Mothers she meets.

….she also quite likes speaking in the third person..

Get in Touch

hello@sarahhailephoto.com