10 Tips for Finding The Best First Birthday Cake Smash Photographer

By Ramina Magid – Newborn Photography Studio in Los Angeles, CA

first birthday cake smash photographer

10 Tips for Finding The Best First Birthday Cake Smash Photographer

Celebrating your baby’s first birthday is a monumental milestone. It marks the completion of their first year, filled with countless precious moments and growth. One of the most delightful ways families want to commemorate this big milestone is with a 1st birthday cake smash. Not only is it an incredibly fun experience for your little one, but it also provides the sweetest and most adorable photos that you’ll treasure forever.

Finding the best baby photographer for this special occasion is crucial. A cake smash photo session isn’t just about snapping pictures, it’s about capturing the joy, curiosity, and wonder of your baby as they explore their cake. This guide is designed to help you find the perfect photographer for your baby’s 1st birthday cake smash, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience for both you and your little one.

Tip 1: Research Local Photographers

When it comes to finding the best first birthday cake smash photographer near you, thorough research is your best friend. The goal is to find someone who can beautifully capture your little one’s milestone in a way that aligns with your vision and makes the entire experience enjoyable.

Start by looking up “cake smash photographer near me” or “first birthday cake smash photography.” This will give you a list of local photographers who specialize in cake smash sessions near you. But don’t stop there. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are fantastic resources for finding photographers. Many cake smash photographers showcase their work on these platforms, giving you a visual sense of their style and creativity. Look for photographers who frequently post cake smash sessions and have a consistent, appealing style.

Photography directories are another great resource. Websites like Yelp or Nextdoor can provide listings and reviews of photographers in your area. These directories often include links to the photographers’ websites, where you can view galleries of their work and get a better feel for their approach to cake smash photography.

Reading Reviews and Testimonials

Once you have a shortlist of potential photographers, the next step is to dive into reviews and testimonials. Reading what other parents have to say about their experiences can be incredibly insightful. Look for reviews that mention key aspects such as the photographer’s professionalism, the quality of the photos, and how they handled the baby during the session. Pay attention to both the positive and the critical feedback, for example, if you notice recurring issues, such as poor communication or dissatisfaction with the final photos, it’s a red flag.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for recommendations, too. If a friend had a great experience with a local cake smash photographer, chances are you will too! Remember, you’re looking for a photographer who not only takes beautiful photos but also makes the entire process smooth and enjoyable.

Tip 2: Review Portfolios

Looking for Style and Quality

When you’re looking through a photographer’s portfolio, the first thing to consider is their style. Do their photos resonate with you? Every photographer has a unique style, and it’s important to find one that matches your vision for your baby’s first birthday cake smash.

Some photographers prefer a simple, organic style with natural light and minimal props. This can create a timeless, airy feel that emphasizes your baby’s adorable expressions and personality. Others might use vibrant colors and elaborate setups, creating a fun and playful atmosphere. Decide what aesthetic you prefer for your baby’s first birthday photo session.

Next, assess the quality of the images. Look for sharpness and clarity – the photos should be crisp, with the baby’s features clearly visible. Pay attention to the lighting; well-lit photos have a warm, inviting feel, whereas poorly lit photos can look flat and unappealing. Composition is another key aspect – good composition will naturally draw your eye to the baby and the cake, highlighting the joy and excitement of the moment.

See tips for the best cake smash photos here.

Variety in Cake Smash Sessions

A great cake smash photographer should be versatile, able to adapt to different themes and settings. Look for variety in their portfolio. Check for creativity in props, outfits, and setups. For example, a photographer might have a series of sessions featuring different themes – from whimsical woodland setups with greenery and cute animal props to classic birthday themes with balloons and banners. Each setup should feel unique and thoughtfully designed.

Pay attention to the details in the photos. Are the props and outfits coordinated and complementary? Do they enhance the theme without overwhelming the baby? An experienced photographer knows how to balance these elements to create a cohesive and visually pleasing scene.

Look for a photographer who offers a range of outfit options. Whether it’s handmade tutus, adorable rompers, or dapper little suits, the wardrobe should be varied and high-quality. Some photographers even provide custom cake smash outfits tailored to your chosen theme.

Tip 3: Check Experience and Credentials

Do They Specialize in Cake Smash Photography?

Experienced cake smash photographers know how to work with little ones, understanding their moods and behaviors. They are adept at creating a comfortable atmosphere where your baby feels safe and happy. This expertise often translates to more genuine smiles and adorable expressions in the final photos.

Furthermore, specialized photographers are well-versed in the technical aspects of cake smash sessions. From lighting to timing, they know the best practices to capture the perfect shot. They also have a wealth of creative ideas for themes and setups, ensuring each session is unique and tailored to your baby’s personality.

Training and Safety Certifications

Safety is the most important when it comes to newborn and baby photography. Ensuring that the photographer you choose is trained in handling and posing babies safely is crucial. Look for photographers who have undergone specialized training and possess certifications in newborn and baby photography safety.

A photographer with proper training knows how to pose babies comfortably and securely, minimizing any risk of discomfort or injury. They are also knowledgeable about creating a safe environment, free from potential hazards.

Tip 4: Is The Studio Clean and Safe?

A sanitized and safe environment is non-negotiable. Babies have sensitive immune systems, and ensuring that the studio is meticulously clean is essential. Before booking a session, inquire about the studio’s cleaning protocols. A professional cake smash photographer should sanitize all props, outfits, and backdrops between sessions. This includes washing fabrics and cleaning hard surfaces to eliminate any germs or allergens. A spotless studio is a clear sign of a photographer who values safety and professionalism.

Tip 5: Understand the Photographer’s Approach

During the consultation, take the opportunity to understand the photographer’s approach to cake smash photography. Ask about their process, from setting up the studio to interacting with your baby throughout the session. A professional cake smash photographer will have a clear, structured plan but also be flexible enough to adapt to your baby’s needs.

Inquire about how they handle different scenarios, such as a baby who is hesitant to engage with the cake or props. Experienced photographers will have tricks and techniques to gently coax smiles and adorable reactions, ensuring a successful session.

Discussing your baby’s personality can also help the photographer tailor the session. Is your little one shy and reserved, or full of energy and curiosity? Understanding these nuances can help the photographer create a comfortable and engaging environment that brings out the best in your baby.

Tip 6: Check Pricing and Packages

Knowing what to expect in terms of pricing and packages is essential to avoid any surprises and to ensure you’re getting good value for your investment. See my pricing and packages for cake smash photography here, and for baby photography here

What’s Included in the Session Fee

The session fee typically covers the photographer’s time and expertise, including the setup and breakdown of the shoot, the time spent photographing, and the initial editing of the images. Ask for a detailed breakdown of what is included in the session fee. For example, does it include the use of props, outfits, and backdrops? Are basic edits part of the package, or do they come at an extra cost? Some photographers offer packages that include a set number of digital images or prints. Clarify what you will receive in terms of final products, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Tip 7: Choosing the Right Cake

The perfect cake for a cake smash is soft and moist, making it easy for your little one to dig into and enjoy. Simple vanilla or butter cakes work wonderfully because they’re light and crumbly, perfect for smashing and making a delightful mess.

The frosting is equally important. Buttercream frosting is a top choice for many cake smash photographers because it’s smooth, easy to spread, and comes in a variety of colors. It photographs beautifully and provides the right consistency for your baby to play with. Avoid whipped cream or fondant frosting, as they can be too stiff or slippery for little hands.

Cakes to avoid include those with red frosting and chocolate cakes. While they might taste delicious, red frosting can look less appealing in photos, and chocolate cake, while tasty, often appears muddy and doesn’t photograph well. Stick to pastel colors or classic white for a timeless and adorable look.

See my tips for documenting your baby’s first birthday with a cake smash session.

Tip 8: When to Schedule the Session

The best time to schedule your baby’s cake smash session is typically after their first nap of the day. This is when most babies are well-rested and in their happiest mood. A well-napped baby is more likely to be cooperative and engaged, making the session enjoyable for everyone involved.

Consider your baby’s daily routine when booking the session. If your little one tends to be more cheerful and alert in the morning, aim for a mid-morning session. Avoid scheduling the cake smash during times when your baby is usually hungry, tired, or fussy. A happy, comfortable baby will result in better photos and a smoother session.

The ideal age for a cake smash session is around 11 months, a month before their first birthday. This timing ensures that your baby isn’t yet walking, which can make them more stationary and easier to photograph. Babies at this age are also less likely to experience stranger anxiety, making them more comfortable with the photographer and the new environment.

Be Sure to Book in Advance!

Cake smash sessions are a popular way to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, so it’s important to book your session well in advance. Many photographers recommend scheduling your cake smash session at least a few months ahead of time to secure your preferred date and time.

Booking early also gives you ample time to plan all the details, from the cake and outfits to the props and theme. It ensures that the photographer has enough time to prepare for your session, creating a tailored and unique experience that perfectly captures this special milestone in your baby’s life.

Tip 10: Building a Relationship with Your Photographer

Using the same photographer for future milestones ensures consistency in the style and quality of your photos. This familiarity allows the photographer to understand your family dynamics and preferences, making each session smoother and more enjoyable.

As your baby grows, you might want to capture other significant moments like family photos, milestone birthdays, or even welcoming a new sibling. A photographer who already knows your family can seamlessly continue documenting these special times, providing a cohesive visual story of your baby’s life.

Tip 9: Outfits & Props

Choosing the right outfit for your baby’s cake smash is all about balancing cuteness with comfort. Soft, breathable fabrics are best to keep your little one happy throughout the session. Remember, simple outfits often photograph better once they’re smeared with cake. For girls, consider tutu skirts with a cute top or romper, and maybe a floral headband. For boys, suspenders with shorts or a tiny, easy-to-move-in suit with a bow tie can be adorable. Stick to colors and patterns that match your theme, avoiding busy designs that might distract from your baby’s expressions.

Props to Make the Session Pop

Props are essential for a fun and engaging cake smash. A good studio will offer various props to match different themes. Look for backdrops that suit your theme, whether it’s a woodland scene or a birthday party with balloons. Seating props like small chairs or cushioned floors can help too. Themed items like banners, stuffed animals, and vintage toys add charm and personality to the photos.

Bring a backup outfit for your baby and a change of clothes for after the session. And if you have special items like a favorite stuffed animal or a handmade blanket, include them for a personal touch. Custom banners with your baby’s name or “Happy 1st Birthday” can make the photos even more special.

See 12 creative cake smash photoshoot ideas for your baby’s first birthday.

Ramina Magid - Cake Smash Photography Los Angeles

If you’re looking for a Los Angeles photographer who can provide not only stunning cake smash photos but also a comprehensive range of family photography services, I invite you to consider booking with me. From newborn photography to cake smash photography sessions and beyond, I specialize in creating beautiful, timeless images that celebrate every stage of your child’s journey. 

Booking your cake smash session or any future photography sessions with me ensures that each moment is captured with the utmost care and creativity. I’m passionate about my work and dedicated to providing a warm, enjoyable experience for your family.

See my reviews here and contact me to plan a session. My Los Angeles photography studio is located at 1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035.


A cake smash photo session is a great way to celebrate your baby’s first birthday and capture milestone photos that you’ll cherish for years to come. By taking the time to thoroughly research local photographers, review portfolios, check experience and credentials, and ensure a safe and well-equipped studio environment, you’re setting the stage for a successful and enjoyable experience.

Remember to communicate your vision during the pre-session planning consultation, and prepare your baby for the session to keep them comfortable and happy. Choosing the right cake, outfits, and props, and scheduling the session at an optimal time will all contribute to capturing the sweetest cake smash pictures.

Building a relationship with your photographer can make future sessions, like family sessions or other milestone photos, even more seamless and enjoyable. So, as you plan for this big milestone, take these expert tips to heart, and you’ll surely have much fun creating beautiful, lasting memories of your baby’s 1st birthday.

Ready to book your cake smash photo session? Contact me today to secure your date and start planning a birthday session that perfectly captures your little one’s special day. Let’s make this celebration a delightful and memorable experience, filled with joy, laughter, and the most charming baby’s portraits!

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Studio Address

1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035, United States


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Ramina Magid Photography is a family, maternity, and newborn photography studio located in Los Angeles, CA, minutes away from Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and West LA. Ramina is a Los Angeles newborn photographer, baby photographer, and family photographer. Serving Los Angeles and surrounding cities including Burbank, Brentwood, Pasadena, La Canada, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Pacific Palisades, Santa Clarita, Van Nuys, West Hollywood, San Marino, Calabasas, San Bernardino, Malibu, Altadena, Covina, Alhambra, Granada Hills, Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, and all other communities in Southern California.