A Guide to Planning your Babie’s First Birthday Session

Making the first birthday and cakesmash photoshoot perfect

Pick your theme

Already during their newborn sessions, many clients get excited about their little one’s first birthday celebration. And believe me, that year flies by in the blink of an eye. It’s a truth I never fully grasped until I looked at my own babies beautiful faces for the first time. Everyone’s words hold true – they grow up way too fast.

Until that milestone arrives, make sure to savor every single moment! And now, it’s time to start contemplating that big first birthday bash. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot to think about and plan! The most important question, of course, is the selection of the perfect theme. There’s an abundance of choices out there, probably more than you could even imagine. If you knew what I know, you might feel even more amazed.

Some parents have a theme in mind right from the start, while others might be entirely unsure about which direction to take. It’s common for the first stop to be Google or Pinterest – hours of scrolling until something captures your interest. But in the midst of all this, don’t forget to get in touch with your photographer. They’re more than capable of helping you bring your vision to life.

You can take a look at all the themes I’ve done so far; you might just fall in love with one instantly. But if not, that’s perfectly alright too! Just reach out to me, and together we’ll plan out the perfect theme for your little one’s special day.

Cakesmash themes…

What is the best time for the photoshoot?

I always recommend to plan a cakesmash around the 11 months mark. First of all it allows for plenty of time to get the pictures back so you can share them on the big day, because lets be honest, we all like to brag. But also very often children take their first steps around 12 months of age, and a child that has discovered the world of walking will have a hard time sitting down as you fill find out very quickly. Some start earlier off course, so in that case we will just have a very busy session, no problem at all.

Cake or no cake?

The choice is completely up to you. The session includes photos taken prior to the cake smash, allowing for a different outfit and providing you with a variety of poses. While the cake smash is a heap of fun and a favorite among many clients, it’s essential to remember that a birthday session doesn’t need to be messy if that’s not your preference. If you lean towards regular portraits, themed or unthemed, that’s entirely possible too. And especially for an outdoor setting, giant balloons are absolutely adorable.

Should you decide on a cake smash, I always suggest offering your baby a little taste beforehand to ensure they enjoy it. Keep in mind, babies at this stage usually don’t prefer overly sweet foods, and I’ve observed that heavy buttery frostings aren’t always a hit either. Ultimately, the goal is for your session to be tailored to your preferences and your baby’s comfort.


When it comes to adorable outfits, the options are truly endless. You can scout stores or even opt for a customized piece that perfectly matches your chosen theme. Etsy is a goldmine for this. But whatever you decide, ensure that it’s well-fitting. You don’t want to unveil it on session day only to find it’s either too snug or so large that your baby gets lost in it! The right fit is crucial for your final outcome.

If an outfit has suspenders or dress straps, don’t worry if they’re a tad loose. A simple tie at the back can work wonders, preventing them from slipping off the shoulder incessantly. Moreover, comfort is key. Young ones have zero patience for discomfort, and a session can turn into a disaster if they’re not at ease. So, remember, while planning your outfit, make sure it’s both adorable and comfortable, ensuring your beautifully planned session doesn’t become a chaotic experience. Here are some super adorable outfit choices from my past clients!


This is a really BIG one. Under no circumstances schedule your session right in nap time. I am typically quite flexible so make sure you pick the time your baby is the happiest! I know, very often things don’t work out the way we plan them, especially on picture day. It will be the one day of the week your little one wakes up super early and will be totally thrown of schedule. No need to panic, please get in touch with me. If possible I will do all I can to adjust your time so we can get the best outcome of your session. A tiered baby will not cooperate and allow for beautiful smiles and I prefer waiting a little bit than struggling through a session. I’d rather wait a bit than have a session filled with struggles. My ultimate aim is for my clients to leave with smiles, assured that their investment was well worth it.

If you have any more questions, of if there is anything I did not cover, please feel free to contact me.

Ready to book your cakesmash or first birthday session in Columbus, GA? Please click here to send me a message!

I am looking forward to working with you and helping you capture LOVE!

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