Happy New Year, SSP Family!
It's mid-February...can we still say that? Either way, we mean it! We hope your 2019 is off to a great start. Our January was surprisingly busy with shoots, planning time, and dreaming for 2019. February has been a little slower, so we are back on the blogging and social media train! We've spent some time looking at the data for last year, and:
A: we are SO GRATEFUL for all of you who have used us to photograph your families. SSP has grown so much, and we are over the moon that we are able to serve your needs time after time. And...
B: we realized we get a lot of the same questions about preparing for the same types of sessions, so we are creating a blog series we're calling "Successful Planning" where we give our seasoned advice on the best prep tips we have for each of these sessions in hopes you have the most successful session possible.
Without further ado, we bring you Successful Planning Part 1: Cake Smash!
It seems simple, really. A cake smash - there's a cake, the birthday boy or girl, and they smash it! We capture cute pictures, there's usually some leftover cake, and everyone goes home happy. Simplicity takes a lot of sharp turns toward tedious when you factor in everything that's going on in the one-year-old world: teething, trying new foods, allergies, learning to feed themselves, their love/hate relationship with changing clothes, stranger danger, texture preferences, and glimpses of that toddler attitude. We do have some studio tricks up our sleeves to deal with the birthday blues and get the best cake smash photos, but we also have some tips and tricks for you at home to prep you and your birthday baby:
1. Schedule the session at least 2-3 weeks before the birthday party to ensure you'll have photos at the party should you want them. This is also a great dry-run for seeing how they react to their cake and everyone cheering them on as they eat.
2. Try some cake/frosting at home at least once before coming to the session. This is SO IMPORTANT! If something like frosting/cake/sugar is a brand new food for them, the likelihood of getting a good reaction is slim. This will allow them to feel the texture and taste the sweetness and decide what they think about it. This will either make them comfortable with the cake at the cake smash or give you time to come up with a potential alternative (alternative ideas listed below!)
3. Take note of your baby's eating preferences. Do they like feeding themselves? Are they a clean or messy eater? Do they eat quickly or slowly? Are they a picky eater? Is there a food they cannot resist eating (goldfish, puffs, yogurt drops)? We can easily modify the cake smash portion to accommodate their comfort level and make sure they enjoy it. (Photographers trick: a lot of our cakes are stuffed with goldfish or puffs on the backside to get their hands in their cake)
4. If you are doing a basic birthday or family birthday session where you bring the decor, set it up once at home and make sure you like the look. Take a picture, too! That will help us help you set it up. Additionally, if you order decor online or buy pre-packaged decor from Party City or Hobby Lobby, open it up and assemble it all at home before you come. If you have not done that before, it is a lot more time consuming than you'd think!
5. Try on their outfits! Most of our clients get outfits from Amazon and Etsy which we all know can be hit or miss in the sizing department. Additionally, if you plan to have them wear a particular outfit the day of their party, we don't recommend wearing that for the cake portion. Most frosting coloring stains, and we'd hate for you to have to order another in a time crunch!
6. Come prepared to get messy! There's a reason bakers wear aprons: we will all be going home covered in frosting! If you are doing family photos as a part of your session, bring a shirt or change of clothes you don't mid getting frosting on. I have seen on more than one occasion a very sad momma who got colored frosting on a nice top because a cake covered baby needed a hug. We do provide wipes and trash bags to clean up the baby at the end, and we clean the floors.
7. Bring the song/video/person that makes your baby laugh and feel comfortable the most! We are always prepared with a rendition of Baby Shark and Wheels on the Bus, but you know how to bring out the best smiles and laughs from your baby. I always joke that we all get a workout during a cake smash session, and most of that comes from acting like a circus clown behind the camera!
8. Alternative options to a cake smash: donuts, yogurt, whipped cream, fruit, pancakes, spaghetti, cookies, or an activity like painting or playing with balls/cars/blocks.
Most importantly, we want to make sure you are getting the best possible photos from your portrait session. We LOVE these sessions, and we want everyone to be set up for success! And cake. We love cake :)
With all this talk of cake...