Cake Smash Ideas for One Year Baby | Salem MA studio

Cake Smash Fun for One Year Olds!

After being in business for over 20 years, I’ve seen plenty of babies doing the most fun things in my studio! The Cake Smash at the baby’s 12 month portrait session is one of those silly and wonderful rights of passage. A baby’s first birthday is a milestone that is celebrated and only comes once! Celebrating with a small personal sized cake (that we pick up for you), is built into our full year baby plan program.

Cake smashes are messy, unpredictable and super fun. I never know if the one year old baby will be a messy eater or a picky one. Some babies have a complete aversion to getting their hands dirty and others go all out with both hands… or no hands at all!!

baby girl puts face in birthday cake baby girl smashes birthday cake

At some cake smash photo shoots, we include the family dog, and other times, the older sibling comes along for the photo shoot and can’t wait to join in at the end. Note: adding siblings does not always go over well with the baby, as shown in this next photo! Too funny.

first birthday cake smash with twins

Dogs are family, too. And for well behaved or older dogs, we can capture a little extra fun in telling the story of the baby’s first birthday cake adventure.

cake smash photo fun with a dogMost of the time, these cake smash photos in the studio tell a story. It can be a story of exploration, a story of pure delight and a story of the first experience of that much sugar. Every first birthday cake smash shoot is an adventure.

first birthday cake smash with older brother

What is a Cake Smash?

When a client’s baby turns 12 months, we plan ahead and have a cake on hand. The baby is allowed to eat the cake on their own, with both hands. It always happens at the very end of the photo shoot, after all the other images have been captured. We leave it for the final parting shots, so that you can go home with a deliciously sticky baby that smells like cake.

Is a cake smash really messy?

Yes. In most cases, it is a big mess. But we are prepared by using a white vinyl backdrop that is easy to clean up. The goal is to keep the baby from crawling away and make a mess of the rest of the studio.

12 month baby birthday cake smash

Where do you find the cake?

Most local grocery chains have small personal-sized cakes in their bakery department. You really don’t need an enormous cake to get the effect!

Ideas for your choice of cake.

We prefer to use the yellow cakes and the vanilla frosting. Why, you ask? Because in our experience, any other brightly colored frosting can honestly look — um, a little violent —  in the aftermath. Purple or red frosting looks a little unappetizing once it’s been smeared everywhere. Our philosophy is to make the session all about the baby anyway. With light colored frosting, it’s the baby’s expressions that jump out!

Ideas for the outfits for the baby to wear.

We love to see a splash of color, but honestly, more skin is better. I love when the frosting is all over the skin… the face, the toes, the arms, the chest. It’s much more fun to see the frosting all over your baby’s skin, instead of the clothes!

12 month girl in tutu with birthday cake


Take a look at some of our Cake Smash posts from the past.


If you have a baby who is in their first year, please check out our baby plan sessions and learn how you can have a memorable adventure with us!


Bobbie Bush Photography, a Massachusetts based photographer, is one of the premier Boston baby photographers in the area for the past 20 years, located in Salem, MA. She specializes in babies and children, but also photographs families of all ages, including pets, too. To learn more, visit our baby specialty page, or see our current promotions on the special offers page.

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