When it was time to plan Lucas’ cake smash I knew I wanted to do something different than what I had seen out there. I’m not into overly propped photos of children (no judgement, just not my style), and I refuse to pay for photos I wouldn’t hang on my walls, so I wanted to strip it down and simplify the concept, ensuring that the focus was kept on Lucas. After speaking with my photographer Michelle, I learned that she is only taking on outdoor shoots for cake smashes with a more candid feel (perfect!), so that immediately sparked some ideas as I began to research locations. Having a summer baby means endless outdoor options, but we went with the beach, as we were having a beach themed party for his 1st birthday.

There are a few things worth noting about the beach cake smash approach that will be helpful if you ever decide to do one, or something similar. Below are the things we had to consider and deal with on the day.

Lifeguard Station, Cherry Beach, Toronto
  • It rained on our first scheduled date and we had to reschedule. That’s why its imperative that you are getting the cake from a walk in spot. If you are ordering a cake from a specialty cake maker in advance, and you have to cancel, you’re screwed.
  • Because your photographer will likely want to catch that golden hour sun, you’ll be shooting a lot later than you would be if you were shooting indoors. Lucas’ shoot started at 7:45pm and his bedtime is 8. Try to get an extra nap in, perhaps on the drive to the location. We tried to accomplish this, but Lucas wouldn’t sleep, so we definitely had moments of fussiness.
  • It is messy AF. 5 times messier than a normal cake smash. You have to bring a ton of wet wipes and towels, and make sure that your child isn’t eating sand covered cake with sandy hands. It gets a bit intense.
  • The cake stand on the blanket on the sand can get a bit unstable. You need someone on the sidelines ready to catch the cake at a split seconds notice.
  • You’re outdoors, which means there’s no where to wash the babe off before putting them in your car, so Michelle brought a rustic looking wash tub, and we filled it with water and soap and got Lucas clean while getting some amazing shots in the process.
  • You will be able to get some adorable baby beach bum shots, so don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to take some non-cake photos. We had a ton of set changes: family shots, cake, beach bum, bath tub. Each set was about 15 minutes, so it was a total of 1 hour. While we could have spent an hour on family shots alone, the pictures I got are so priceless and more than enough.
  • On that note, because there were multiple sets, we needed multiple outfits for Lucas, and we had to take our own outfits into consideration as well. We had him fully clothed for fam shots, partially clothed for cake shots, and naked or in a diaper for the rest.
  • In regards to the tub shots, Lucas is very temperature sensitive, and I know I couldn’t just use the cold lake water to fill the tub, or I wouldn’t get the shots I wanted. We popped into the grocery store and bought a huge jug of water (the kind you use for water coolers) for $5 and used that water. Another thing to note is that nothing suds up as well as dish soap, so we used dawn instead of baby soap.

Looking back, as overwhelming as it got at certain points, it was such an amazing shoot. Everyone was in such a great mood, laughing and eating cake, and I mean…the photos speak for themselves.

If you have a cake smash coming up I encourage you to challenge yourself and your photographer, streamline the concept and take it outdoors.

Check out the rest of the cake smash photos below.

Photos by Michelle Lina Photo

Lucas’ Vintage Oshkosh overalls from Cucubau Kids

Lucas’ Striped Pants from Gap Kids

Moms Outfit from Aritzia

Dads Outfit from Uniqlo

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