no year goes by faster than the first...

I thought about my oldest son's first birthday for months. In the wee hours of the night as I rocked his little body back to sleep, I remembered all of the punny themes I had heard and tried to pick one to best suit him. We settled on "Wild One" for my rambunctious little guy, and I set to work picking out party decorations, finding him the perfect outfit, and planning not one, but TWO photoshoots.

What I didn't realize before having kids is that the first birthday is just as much about the parents as it is the baby. It's a celebration that you made it! You welcomed this precious little bundle into your life without an instruction manual and survived the sleepless nights. You read the baby books and blogs, tried to make sense of things like "leaps" and "wake windows", fielded unsolicited advice from every direction, and probably Googled "what sound does a giraffe make?" as you enthusiastically belted out animal noises at a perplexed little face.

If this is your first baby, you've probably been taken by surprise at just how fast their first birthday has snuck up on you. If this is your second or beyond, it probably feels like it went even faster this time around. Your little baby is becoming a moving and grooving toddler, full of personality and so much energy! You may even wish you could freeze time and enjoy them while they're small for just a little bit longer.

What's so great about skipping the decor, anyway?

As a parent, especially one who's reading this page - you're probably familiar with cake smash sessions. They often include décor centered around the theme of your baby's first birthday party, with balloons, banners, streamers, a themed birthday shirt or outfit, etc. These are cute and fun, and I don't have anything against parents who want them or photographers who do them. However - I'm here to offer something different. A portrait session of your baby, full of wonder and excitement, with a small white cake in front of them to symbolize their first birthday.

When you skip the décor, your eye is automatically drawn to the baby, how cute they are, and what they're doing.

My photo sessions capture the curious looks, the joy and delight, and even their disgust if it turns out they don't like cake! Who knew? I aim to capture every aspect of their personality, and focus on details like the silly faces, spit bubbles, icing on the toes, and excitement of it all. After all, these are your memories, I'm just the curator.

tips for a successful cake smash

  • Feed your baby ahead of time, but not a massive meal. Let them be just hungry enough to enjoy a snack
  • Bring little treats that can be hidden behind the cake, like cheerios, puffs, etc. in case they don't like the cake
  • Come after their first nap, so they're not overtired
  • If they're actively teething, give them some pain medication prior to arriving
  • If possible, leave siblings at home. They most likely won't understand why they can't have cake too
  • Wear clothes that you don't mind getting messy
  • Icing can be oily, so I have a bath with scent-free soap. If your baby has sensitive skin, bring their soap

How to choose your cake

In my experience, I have found that the ideal cake size for a one year old is a 6 inch cake. This size allows them to have their legs on either side of the cake, so they can sit close and have access to the whole thing. More things to consider:

  • Fondant and decorative pieces can be a choking hazard.
  • Red, dark colours, and chocolate will stain the outfits and can't be used unless you're providing the outfit.
  • Cake toppers are cute, but will likely get ripped off the cake quickly. Buy a spare for their party

Every baby is different. Some love the cake and devour it, some don't have any interest, and some don't want their hands messy. If it is their first time having something sweet, they may not even know what to do. You might feel frustrated after going through all of the planning if your baby doesn't like the cake, and that's why I take portraits beforehand and bubble bath photos afterwards.

The photo session is meant to be a fun, happy experience, and I let your baby take the lead. I'm just here to capture the magic.