I think cake smashes are amazing.
If you’ve never heard of a cake smash, you’re not alone. it’s a fairly new tradition of basically letting letting your one-year-old go crazy with a giant cake while someone photographs it happening. Traditionally, it’s also baby’s first taste of sugar. Although there’s really no age limit to it, the cake smash has become something of an American rite of passage to commemorate baby’s first birthday. For this special event, you need a special cake, a smash cake. It’s usually vanilla, and specifically designed for baby to dig into. Your local baker knows all about it.
I admit, when I first heard about this, I thought it was a little funny, right? I mean, we didn’t grow up doing this cake smash thing, and my thoughts were basically: Look you’re gonna buy a whole separate cake for a kid to smash it.. are you kidding me?
But when I started doing smash cake photo sessions, I changed my tune. It’s not just about plopping the baby in front of a cake, “here ya go, kid-- dig in while I snap some pics for mom and dad”. (Because frankly, you can do that at home with a much smaller cake, for free.)
Every session is unique to each child. There are stages to the whole cash smash event. It’s a special occasion and here’s a theme around it. The stage is set with the theme-matching cake. Then there is the approach. It is so much fun because there’s a whole anticipation around it, and it’s so much fun to watch and capture what unfolds. There are those moments of “what’s this stuff on my fingers”, the hand squeeze, and those faces of “SUGAR!” As a photographer, I get to capture these unique firsts, and take part in the experience.
And I gotta be honest with you, it’s not so much about the baby. It’s more about us, the parents, anticipating this smash to go so crazy. But there’s no telling how baby will react. Some babies hate getting their hands dirty, and there’s a whole sequence of reactions around that. Some are fascinated by the textures but it never occurs to them to eat it. And, hey, sometimes you get some duds. But sometimes you get these kids who dig in with both hands, and next thing you know they’re sticking their face in the cake. And it get to be such a fun experience for everyone.
So at the end of the day I think that cake smash is a really cool thing. I think parents should do it, not just because I’m a photographer but because it’s become a new tradition, born right here in the USA, and gaining popularity all over the world. And it’s kind of a great, cool memory to have captured at that age, both for you and for baby. Besides, at one year old, you don’t remember these things anyway, so you might as well make it fun, not just for the baby for us, the parents as well.
Be sweet. Be fun. Be smashing.