I wanted to do a smash cake photo shoot for Nolan’s first birthday, but I couldn’t find a photographer in the area whose work I liked. After some careful research and planning I decided we would attempt the smash cake photo shoot ourselves!

This post is mainly for those of you who want to save money or would like to take photos of their little one themselves. Personally I sometimes prefer to be the “photographer” because at least if  don’t like the way the photos turned out I can blame myself and not someone else for their terrible work.

Here’s what you need:

1.) Backdrop stand of some sort. We used a clothes rack. If you don’t have one you could tape the paper to the wall, but be very careful when doing so.

2.) Seamless Paper! I bought the Savage Seamless Background Paper, 53″ wide x 12 yards, Super White, #1 from Amazon.

3.) A good Camera, (no not an iPhone). We already have a Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Camera, so that’s the camera we used.

4.) Decorations (optional) You really should though! 🙂 I made a banner with some inexpensive supplies I bought from Michaels. We used a basket we bought from Wal-Mart and using the Balloon Time Helium Tank we tied some helium balloons to the basket.

5.) A cake of course! We got our smash cake for free at Safeway! (Quick side note: We had our cake made of whip cream instead of frosting, so it’s less sweet!)

6.) Lighting. I cannot stress enough how important this is. We set this up in an open room next to a big glass sliding door. Bae set up some extra lights which I regret because they made the background turn sort of yellow, and when I edited some of the photos turned out looking very washed out because the lighting was too bright. Natural lighting with no flash is the best (photos done that way are very easy to edit IMO).

7.) An adorable soon to be one year old! AND don’t forget his/her cute outfit. Now I shopped around on Etsy and everything was kind of expensive, so I thought I might be able to make it. However, I realized I can’t sew to save my life. We asked Bae’s mom (she’s super crafty) if she could make an outfit, so she did! AND tell me is it not the cutest thing ever?!

We did a two part photo shoot: A cake smash, and just an outfit one with his basket and balloons.

Photos & Quick Tips

We took these photos this past weekend.

Photos of Nolan in his faux hot air balloon 🙂

Tip #1: Make silly faces, bring toys to get their attention, or play some music that makes them happy.

Tip #2: Get a small chair or stool! I wish we had done this because every time we took Nolan out of the basket he would run off the paper. We hardly got any photos of him just standing in front on his own because he kept running off.

Tip #3: TAKE TONS OF PHOTOS. Don’t be afraid to snap away. We took almost 1,000 photos ( I know a tiny bit excessive). With kids you have to do that though because they’re constantly moving and squirming. You want to capture that perfect photo.

Tip #4: If you don’t have Photoshop use Picmonkey to edit your photos.

Tip #5: Have towels on hand so when your little one is all done making a disaster you can wrap them up and get them into the bathtub without making a further mess. Since we did this at home the cleanup was super easy. 

Finally, remember to be extremely patient with your little one. Make sure your child has been fed and diaper changed prior to starting that way you’re not dealing with a fussy child. Play around with the lighting and angles. There really is no right or wrong way to photograph, so just have fun with it. 🙂

Hey Beautiful! Thank you for reading!

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  • Mary Ivan Grace Napalla

    Awwe! <3 Nolan is so cute 🙂 More Birthdays to come and best wishes! (kinda too late, hehe)