A Guide to doing your Little Ones Cake Smash at Home during the Covid-19 Outbreak
To all my lovely clients
Covid-19 has changed so much about our lives and taken so much from us. However I have created this guide to help families affected by isolation due this this awful pandemic.
Please dont let these photos take the place of your Cake Smash Session with me if we can still do it but its always great to be prepared in case. Let this be an additional opportunity to celebrate your little ones first birthday in a way that is unique to our current reality, embracing this new normal!
In saying all this as soon as Im allowed I will be back up and running and booking you all in for your sessions. Please Note: I have done cake smash shoots for babies aged 15-18 months old and the babies have had a ball. There is lots more mess due to the baby walking but they most definitely enjoy attacking the cake.
Getting Ready and Finding your Light
Choose a room with loads of natural light. Make sure you turn any overhead lights off as they will interfere with your natural light source and cast unwanted hard light shadows.
Plan the session for after your little ones morning nap and snack for a happy and ready to go baby
Natural light will be your best friend or your worst enemy, But making sure you do the shoot at a good time like 10am-11am in the morning. Doing the shoot at 2pm with natural light may not go well as you may have a flooding of direct harsh light. Or doing it at 4pm you will most likely have low light or not much light.
Soft light wraps gently and evenly around our subject and is free from harsh shadow lines.
You’ll find it indoors near large windows and doorways.
When you do the session you will want to Position your baby at a 90 degree angle to the window/light source
A white wall and floor is perfect! Cause that is pretty much what I use.
If you are a little more OCD and dont like mess then you can use a disposable or wipeable backdrop on the floor such as some Kraft Paper, Vinyl table cloth
Make sure your backdrop or area is at least 1.5m wide. 2m is perfect but not always doable.
Maybe it’s obvious… but don’t set up a cake smash photo session on your expensive rug or your shag carpeting!
Set up on tiles or floorboards and save yourself the craziness of trying to clean out red or blue butter cream out of white carpet!
The easiest backdrop by far is simply a plain light coloured wall.
If you don’t have a plain wall near good natural light, try an inexpensive DIY backdrop.
Lots can be found on ebay or aliexpress. I suggest a material backdrop not vinyl as you can never get the creases out
Make sure you get rid of all background clutter, this is one of the most powerful things you can do to elevate your photos from snapshot to professional. Clutter can take the viewer’s eye away from our subject and will very much make your photos look chaotic because it adds too many extra elements
For Example Inside,make sure you get rid of any toys, a basket of laundry in the background, a pile of newspapers on the dining table. If you can’t move the clutter, move your subject.
Props and Colours
Decide on a color scheme for your cake smash photoshoot, and then gather your props. Generally the most effective and easy decorations for a cake smash is Pom poms and fans. You can get these from discount stores, kmart and party shops. I like to have lots of pom poms along the floor so get at least 8-10 pom poms in the colours of your choice. With the Fans you can get different colours and different sizes to make your background look interesting
I get it. Your baby has a lot of special items you want to include in your photos.
It can be so tempting to keep adding and adding props to your setup. Dont do it! As you can see above the pom poms and fans is enough. If you want to do a more simple setup. Have less fans and pom poms and you can add in a FEW special items. Less is more
Most important thing to remember is let the baby and the cake be the hero!
Choosing an Outfit
Choosing an outfit doesn't have to be hard. Keep it simple. Boys look super cute in overalls or even jeans and a plain white singlet looks cute. Girls of course a cute little dress or romper. Make sure your outfit compliments your decorations and setup
Choosing the Right Cake
I would recommend you buy a cake from a bakery or from a cake maker, I have provided links below
Coles and Woolworths actually have some good cakes these days
or make your own!
You can also get a plain white naked cake and buy some cheap fake flowers from your local discount store. Works a treat you can see one I have done below
Be careful with frosting colours. Red colours can look like straight out of a murder scene
Chocolate cake and frosting because when smeared on the floor and on the babies face it can look like it has come straight from babies nappy! Opps :)
Blue frosting can stain easily and turn your baby into a smurf if there is too much
Double layer/triple layer, or Cup cake style cakes are my favorite. The general size is a 6"
Here is a link to all my cakes to help give you some ideas
Alana Taylor Photography's Cake Options
Get Help for the shoot
Make sure you enlist the help of your partner, having that second pair of hands is really handy for this type of shoot. If your baby is crawling or walking, your helper can ensure your baby stays confined to the cake smash area avoiding cake being spread around your house.
Helpers are also handy for grabbing your baby’s attention from time to time to get some eye contact shots. They can use bubbles, peek a boo, etc but when doing this, ask them to position themselves directly behind you. This way baby will look in the direction of your lens.
Make sure your shoot tells a story. The start, the middle and the ending.
When we approach photography in the same way, we use our images to tell the story. The best way to do that is by taking a variety of wide shots which set the scene, and all those little detail shots. Make sure you get in close and focus on other things such as the cake, their little fingers and dirty feet.
Make sure you get variety in your images by doing lots of different positions and angles, making sure you get down low to babies eye level. This is usually the best angle and will also engage in the baby to make them give you eye contact. Dont shoot standing up
I hope you found this helpful and please if you have any questions or would like some help from me please dont hesitate to get in touch