How to Choose a Cake Smash Theme for your Birthday Shoot

There are so many possibilities for cake smash themes it can be a little overwhelming for parents. What starts off exciting can become a Pinterest rabbit hole (and Pinterest can lead you astray!). I am here to give you a little guidance and a direction in narrowing your focus as you pick the perfect theme. These sets are baby sized. They are built to perfectly feature your child (usually around 5ft by 7ft). When looking at large, room sized party themes online keep in mind that they need to be scaled down to frame your baby well.

peter pan cake smash never grow up

Browse the Gallery

Start by browsing my gallery for recent sets. Most of these will be available to be customized for your basic cake smash session and no two sets will look alike; if you like the feel of an overall theme, like a concept with maybe a few changes, a color scheme but want to tweak a few things, let me know. Some you see here are printed backgrounds that can not be changed, and some are custom sets (the goal is that you can’t tell!). The printed sets allow us to have an ornate theme that baby can’t knock down. *Email for a link to a current listing of all available backdrops*

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see new ideas I have in the works and currently available themed backdrops that have not been used yet. While I will always try and create your dream photo session, some sets will require an additional set fee due to costs (we will discuss this beforehand). *Note: if the theme you love came from a Kardashian photo shoot, it will likely be pricey.

Ask Yourself Some Questions

  • Am I going to display these images in my nursery? What color scheme do I prefer?
  • Have you found a perfect outfit?
  • Am I matching my birthday party theme?
  • Do any words or themes have special meaning in your baby’s life?

With Deluxe sessions we build a set custom to your baby. If you have an adorable dress, send it over and let me recommend a set that will match perfectly. Does your baby have a nickname that lends itself to a theme? Did you and your partner meet in a library? Did you play soccer in college? Do you love the beach? Italian food? The Circus? Think outside the box to come with something unique that tells your story.

What Makes Your Baby Happiest?

By 9-10 months most babies have some favorites. Favorite food, favorite tv show, favorite song. This is a great way to remember just what made your little one happiest years down the road.

  • Favorite Book – Where the Wild Things Are, Dr Suess, Guess How Much I Love You
  • Favorite Song – Hot Dog Song, Wheels On The Bus, Baby Shark!
  • Favorite Food – Watermelons, Ice Cream, Pasta, Sweets, any fruit
  • Favorite Toy – Trucks, Balls, Blocks, Elmo
  • Favorite Show – Cocomelon, Mickey Mouse

What Makes YOU happy?

Hey let’s be honest, this photo shoot is for you. And your baby is too little to have an opinion so now is your time to go wild! You have the rest of their lift to plan around their likes and dislikes.

  • Your Favorite Movie – Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars
  • Your Hobby – Soccer, football, golf, fishing, camping
  • Your Job – Chef, firefighter, teacher

No Theme, Just a Color Scheme

Don’t overthink it, maybe your look is as simple as a color scheme. A look that matches you nursery or brings out your baby’s eyes. Prefer pastels or primary colors?

Remember, it’s a Party!

As smashcake themes have gotten bigger and more creative it’s easy to forget that these are a party shoot – a traditional set of balloon, streamers and other party decor is always adorable.

Florals and Boho

I get so many requests for floral, organic and boho sets but this can mean so many different things. Have an idea of the look you like; whites, rustic, pinks or flower garlands, etc.

Simple Sets

A simple set on white is one of my favorite looks. Nothing features your baby better than a pure white set. This displays well in any decor and is always timeless.

What About Outside?

And outside birthday shoot is a great way to combine a family shoot with a cake smash session. Of course outside shoots come with a few problems. A few million problems…ants. Well not just ants, natural in general. Balloons blow around, props aren’t steady, it’s hot, it’s cold, ants – you get the drift. These sessions won’t be the prop-heavy style you see in studio. I recommend keeping them simple, a balloon bundle, maybe a few easy props, a birthday sign board, etc. I also recommend skipping the cake (or possibly going with a cupcake, cookies, something less messy) unless we are shooting at your home with a bathroom nearby. Leaving a mess of dirty, messy cake in a public place isn’t ideal. *see: ants. And the clean up outdoors, without a water source would be intense. I promise you would hate me after. (and no I don’t have this lemonade stand to use again, I wish I did!)

Animals and Nature

  • Jungle, Wild One
  • Ocean, mermaids, under the sea
  • Flowers, sunflower, daisies, roses
  • Camping, forest, hunting, fishing
  • Farm Animals
  • Dinosaurs
  • Circus
  • Space, stars
  • Honeybees

Holidays, Seasonal, Birthdays

  • One-derland, Winter Wonderland
  • Christmas
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Spring, Garden, Florals, Greenhouse
  • 4th of July
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter, Bunny
  • Fall, Autumn, Pumpkins
  • Halloween
  • New Year’s, Mr. Onederful

How about No Cake At All?

Cake is great, don’t get me wrong, but what about no cake at all? What about a stack of pancakes or a big watermelon?

  • Donuts
  • Tacos
  • Spaghetti
  • Pizza
  • Pancakes
  • Strawberries or fruit
  • Cookies

Most importantly, have fun with this process! I promise you whatever you choose, the images will something you treasurer.

Bucket List!

Click here to browse new sets that come with a nice little discount!

Browse the Gallery

Below are sets we have created for past clients. Some include items provided by parents but most are available as is (or tweaked!) for your family. Pilot, Cookie Monster, Unicorn, Fiesta, Alice in Wonderland, Construction, A Star Is Born, Party Animal, Safari – let’s get creative!