How to style the perfect First Birthday Cake Smash

How to style the perfect First Birthday Cake Smash

- written by Anna Majstorovic for Blueberry Co

I can hardly believe my little man is turning one…I am thrilled with how his photoshoot turned out. I was lucky enough to work along side a photographer friend of mine who took a lot of the photo's. This took the stress of me and meant I could really be there to enjoy the moment. I wanna give you guys 6 tips for styling a cake smash photoshoot.


Keep it simple

It’s easy to go overboard with props but less is really more. If you have too many things in the background it can become distracting once the smashing starts. For this shoot, we used wood rounds, a wood sign I had hand painted and some fake greenery. His outfit was a subtle take on “Max” from where the wild things are. A linen romper, hand knitted crown and some booties with claws. 

Once you’ve decided on a theme, choose a few key props whether this be a cake stand, some balloons, a nice rug, ect. 

Bake the cake yourself

A basic vanilla cake is all you need, the fun is in the cake being smashed and no one will remember how pretty the cake was to begin with. I baked 3 cakes the day before, wrapped in cling wrap and put them in the fridge so they would firm up a little bit. I’ll admit I had planned for Mason’s cake to look a little better then what it did, I was gonna pipe it on nicely but I hadn’t made enough icing so instead I just slapped it on quickly and hoped for the best. You could easily colour the icing to match your theme and get a cake topper or “1” candle to decorate. 

TIP: If you want to keep your cake topper, take a photo with the cake topper in and then quickly remove it before your child destroys it.



In theory, a cake smash photoshoot at your child’s birthday party is the perfect way to entertain your guests? unfortunately this isn’t always true. In most cases this can be a little overwhelming with so many family and friends around wanting to get a shot on their phone. Ideally, plan the shoot a week or two before the party for a relaxed environment. This also gives you an opportunity to have the photos printed for the day! 

Shoot outdoors in the late afternoon

If you can use natural lighting and shoot outdoors, roughly an hour before sunset gives the most flattering light. In the middle of the day, the light is extremely harsh and can cast unflattering shadows and this is why photographers opt to shoot late afternoon. 

If you have to shoot indoors, set up next to a window. If you find the light is still a little harsh, hang a white sheet over the window - this will help to soften the light.


Photograph the details

Take a variety of wide and close ups, this helps to tell a story. Be sure to get a close up of the hands, face and of course the cake before it’s smashed! Get your settings right before your start as the shoot will happen quickly. Photograph from a variety of different angles and experiment with different compositions. Children are generally best photographed at eye level, so get down low and position yourself so you are looking directly at the child. 


Choosing a theme 
Pinterest is full of ideas for choosing a theme so that’s where I’d start, if you’re planning a party - match your cake smash photoshoot to the theme of the party that way you won’t need to buy additional props and the images will look great when displayed. 
Mason is our little wild thing, so choosing a theme was easy. When I picture our life together, it’s one full of adventure and wonder. So it was only fitting he had a wild rumpus to capture the essence of his playful personality. It also matched his nursery, people often joke that “his whole life matches” there not wrong 🤣 
So perhaps if you’re like me and have the perfect coordinated nursery - you could use the same theme?  Or if you love a bit of everything, why not choose a favourite colour? 
Sourcing props 
I hunted high and low for props that not only looked great but were affordable. The best advice I can is do your research! Join some party planning/styling groups as well as some handmade groups. There are some incredibly talented and created people who will be able to help you! The wood rounds and hand painted sign were from a lady local to me “party with wood”, the crown was hand knitted by “Amy Myers heirloom hand knits”, the outfit a simple white romper from “Quinn + co co”, the booties were some cheap slippers that a friend sewed claws onto.  The cake toppers were made by a lady “ little occasion creations “ on Facebook.  The greenery was just from around the house, aswell as a set of deer antlers that we placed the “where the wild things are” book on. 
Make sure you have a look around your house for things you can use, you’ll be surprised how many props you already have hiding around the home! 


Enjoy the moment mumma!

I can’t stress this enough, sit back and take in this moment with your little human. If you are planning on photographing it yourself then I recommend having an extra person there to help encourage your child to smile and laugh. Don’t over think it, just capture your child naturally as it happens. The hardest part will be choosing which photo’s make it into your baby book!



Anna is a mum of one year old Mason and a passionate photographer and supported of small businesses! You can follow her adventures on Instagram >>>>>>



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