This is a guest post by my friend Huiwen, who has a little girl the same age as Olive.
I was inspired by Mrs. Bee’s posts about having a smash cake shoot for Olive, so I decided to try one at home for my baby girl.
Our apartment, which we’d overgrown by 2 children, is hardly a photo set. Almost every square inch of wall space is occupied by furniture, or kiddie things, or both. I didn’t have a nice blank wall so I decided to cover up the mess and create a very simple set.
This setup was created by pushing our dining table against our bookcase, then duct taping a white tablecloth to both pieces of furniture to create a backdrop. The table was the perfect height for E to sit on so the shots would be at eye level, instead of being from top down. Placing her down on the floor would have been fine too, but I’d just have to get down real low to take the photos.
The white tablecloth worked well to reflect the light coming in from our windows, but any large piece of fabric would do. The added bonus of using a tablecloth is that they are stain resistant. I sprayed it down in the shower after we were done and everything came out with minimal scrubbing.
The cake was homemade with pale pink frosting with a sprinkle of rainbow non-pareils. I kept everything light-colored for easy clean up (I needed the tablecloth and the dress for her actual party!), but a chocolate or a bolder-colored cake would have made for really fun pictures too. Be sure to let the cake get to room temperature before the smash. Ours was still a bit cold from the fridge so it wasn’t very smashable for little hands.
Take some test shots before the main event since you don’t really know how long the whole thing will last. It’s also harder to rearrange things if you’re chasing after a frosting covered baby. I played around with our window shades a bit so that diffuse light was coming through. Avoid direct sunlight since that would produce squinty faces and harsh shadows.
Put your camera on sports mode or the multi-shot setting and let your babe go nuts! I took about 200 shots and in about 150 of them she was either not looking at the camera or trying to eat the duct tape. The more successful shots were the result of my photo assistants (husband and son) dancing behind me like monkeys, singing, or holding the iPad next to my head.
I think we were all surprisingly tired after all this was done, but we had a good time and ended up with some great keepsake photos. It would have been nice if the cake stood out more in the final product, but I love how E’s happy face is the focus of the shot!