DIY Cake Smash Photos for Less than $30

The latest trend in first birthday celebrations is a cake smash photoshoot, typically separate from first birthday party celebrations. While this offers an adorable opportunity to photograph your little ones first major sugar fix, it can also get quite expensive if you’re hiring a professional photographer.

I did my daughter’s first birthday cake smash photos myself for less than $30 and here’s how.

  • Purchase a roll of white poster paper (this was found on clearance at Michaels for only $10)
  • Gather any props you may want (the tissue garland was from Party City, also on clearance for $5 and the O-N-E was purchase 50% off at Hobby Lobby and then spray painted pink).
  • Bake a ‘mini’ cake. I used Duncan Hines Perfect Size cake mix (serves 2) and two ceramic soufflé dishes to bake a cut mini cake that was the perfect size for toddler hands.
  • I have the backdrop frame that I use for parties and events (purchased from Amazon) but simply taping the paper to the wall would work
  • Find open shade. Lighting is best in the early evening right as sun sets. You want to look for an area that is fully shaded and NOT in direct sunlight. This gives you beautiful natural light to work with without any harsh shadows. In the picture below you see little sunspots on the background. We had to wait for the sun to go down a little ways for those to disappear.
  • Recruit help. It’s hard to take photos and keep track of a mobile baby. I had a few onlookers who were able to keep baby on the backdrop and prevent her from crawling away.
  • Use manual mode. Play specifically with the ISO and white balance until you get the look you want.
  • Shoot away! I took close to 200 photos and only really loved about 30 of them. I put my camera on continuous shooting mode to capture every little candid moment.
  • Finally, edit your photos for a polished and professional look. I used Lightroom and bumped up the brightness and saturation and that was it. I love the app “Snapseed” if you are taking the photos on your phone.
DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot
Behind the scenes shot of our DIY Cake Smash Photoshoot set up

Don’t forget to pin this for later!