Top 5 Reasons You NEED to do a Pro Cake Smash Shoot! (or just a 1 year milestone shoot!)

So, there’s this big crazy cake smash trend. It’s pretty cute - no one is going to deny that. I can guess what you might be wondering though...it’s just a baby eating a cake, I can easily take these photos myself!?

Real talk: Most mamas I’ve spoken with are not too sure that they really NEED a cake smash (or 1 year) shoot, and some think that it seems a bit extravagant. Well, you could look at it that way, sure. However, if we’re talking about life’s “extras”...you might not NEED a vitamix, or one of those robotic vacuums, or that google voice thing for your home, either. We all love to spoil ourselves occasionally (myself included!) - but if you’re trying to decide if it’s really worth the investment...Well, here is an excellent comparison: in approximately 5 years, those types of high value items become obsolete. Items like that most certainly decrease in value over time, whereas having an heirloom quality album or beautifully displayed archival prints to commemorate your child’s first birthday...the value of those portraits most certainly INCREASES, infinitely!



Having really, truly authentic portraits of your little one, just as their personality is starting to come out...oh, my heart! I’ll tell your right now, I’m not into creating a big scene with elaborate props. I’m into getting really authentic reactions from your child about the cake - it’s sweet, it’s squishy, it’s messy - and then, between huge fistfuls of cake, really authentic reactions to both parents and myself being totally silly and getting some good laughs out of them! That’s where my whole legacy obsession enters the picture - the really amazing expressions and authentic reactions are the “keepers”. These are the portraits you want in a beautifully crafted archival quality album. That’s the kind of valuable family heirloom that you and your family, and future generations, will cherish always.



As promised, the top 5 reasons you need to do a cake smash shoot, and some questions to ask when deciding on a photographer! Btw, these totally apply to a non-cake smash 1 year shoot as well!


  1. Building Legacy! When you print your beautiful, customized cake smash portraits from your little one’s first birthday they become a family treasure. Not only will you have them for years to come in your own family, but can you imagine your future teenage grandkids, say 40 or 50 years from now, just totally having a riot over these?! You made that happen!

  2. Last chance! It’s the last time you’re doing a baby shoot, whether you want to admit it or not. 12 months becomes 14 months in a blink, oh and by the way, you blinked again and now you’re at 18 months. Not kidding. (This is me right now - where did my baby go?! He has been replaced by a very tiny mentally unstable yet fully capable small human. Send help and coffee please.)

  3. We’ve trained for this! An experienced, professional photographer sees the scene unfolding with a trained eye, knows what angles to shoot, in the best sequence and flow of the shoot - without missing a beat! The few moments before the cake comes out is also a great opportunity to do a bonus “regular” one year portrait too, or even family portraits if you’re feeling that! Ask your photographer if you can see some galleries with varied angles, expressions and poses. Do they offer family portraits, or regular one year milestone portraits along with the cake smash? The professional editing is a must as well if you’re thinking these will be a forever keepsake. Do they have any before and afters that show how they edit their photos? Please look closely for soft lighting, skin tone colour casts and smooth colour tone for a polished final product!

  4. Chill! Having a professional photographer shooting the scene also means you get to relax and trust that the photos will come out awesome - no need to stress! It frees you up to interact with your little one and enjoy this memorable experience, while the photographer captures all the perfect moments! Ask your photographer what your role will be during the shoot - now is the time to find out if you’ll be invited to interact, or be asked to observe from afar. An experienced photographer should be able to let you know what is expected of you before the shoot.

  5. Invites! Literally the perfect way to let your guests know they’re invited to come celebrate with you! Ask your photographer if they include customized birthday invitations, and what the turnaround time on them is!

  6. bonus...Cake. There, I said it. Let them have their cake, and eat it too - they only turn 1 once! And, you’ve made it ONE YEAR as parents - your little one has come SO FAR...it’s really, really mind boggling to think about! This is a celebration for everyone! (I’m not going to lie, I love cake, and I definitely ate some leftovers of what we called “footcake” after my son’s shoot…#sorrynotsorry)

A couple that show before and after editing! Yes - the balloon is added as a composite! Check out this earlier blog post on creating perfect portraits with composite tricks!



If you’ve been on the fence about doing a cake smash or 1 year milestone shoot, I can tell you 100% every client I have worked with has been SO HAPPY with the resulting keepsake portraits! Having those perfect moments and reactions captured in a beautiful, artistic style is absolutely priceless. What do you envision for your little one’s cake smash? I’d love to do a free consult to help you visualize the outcomes and decide if it’s right for you or not!


All the love,

Hillary West


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