Let’s Say Goodbye to the Smash Cake
It’s time to say farewell to the Smash Cake. From the moment I first laid eyes on this trend, I could not wrap my head around it. I still can’t, if I’m being honest. I refuse client request after client request for Smash Cake Sessions. I have shot one, and only one, reluctantly for a friend. I will never do one again. It’s not my style and it does not represent who I am as an artist, but that’s really an over simplification of my feelings on smash cakes.
Let’s take a trip back to my University days to revisit a story my Women’s Studies professor told the class:
The new Jewish bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother’s brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says to her, “Why do you cut off the ends? That’s the best part!” She answers, “That’s the way my mother always made it.”
The next week, they go to the old bubbie’s house, and she prepares the famous brisket recipe, again cutting off the ends. The young bride is sure she must be missing some vital information, so she askes her grandma why she cut off the ends. Grandma says, “Dahlink, that’s the only way it will fit in the pan!”
Do you have any idea how much of what you do is influenced by those who came before you? If you think your art or photography is any different, you’re wrong.
We are influenced every time we look at another person’s art. With each glance, we are inspired and even challenged. We want to emulate what those before us have done; and perhaps, make it better.
Just like the newlywed, we are so easily influenced by the art of others that we forget to see the art in our every day lives. Anyone who loves Pinterest has undoubtedly thumbed past one of these sessions, and just about every family photographer has had a request for a Smash Cake Photography Session. I mean, what can be cuter than a baby’s first taste of cake with all that messy goodness? If you live under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, feel free to take a bite out of The Smash Cake.
Please hear me out. I’m not simply hating on the Smash Cake or the adorable children who eat them. It represents so much more to me than just a cute session with a baby, a cake and a need for a good bath. I believe in stories, and I’m a story teller. I create my images to share a moment, a feeling, a laugh or a cry. To capture time and hold it still. In order to do this, I can’t recreate a kid smashing a cake without losing the authenticity of the moment in that child’s life. How will we ever know what that kid was like when he or she was one? How will we know what they loved? What they were like? What made them laugh? I am a huge cheese ball and want to know each of my clients personally, even the one-year-olds. Before each session, I always send out a questionnaire inquiring about the family. It’s littered with personal questions that help me see into the child’s world, as well as the parents, so I can tailor a session that makes sense to them and their family.
Today I argue to let the Smash Cake go along with 2015. In its place, let’s start a trend of telling your child’s story.
Here’s some ideas of what we photographers can do to artistically tell the stories of who our little clients are while not losing our artistic express:
- WHAT: Capture them with their favorite toys, food, clothing or blankets.
- WHO: Capture them with who they spend their lives with: mom, dad, siblings and family pets.
- WHEN: Don’t be afraid of capturing crying, tears, joy, even nap time.
- HOW: Describe how they live their life as they are right now. What are they doing at one? Walking? Toddling? Maybe neither? These are things we forget as parents and may want to be reminded of. Maybe they love taking baths? Capture it! Maybe they love story time; capture this! These are precious moments that fly by.
Together, with your trusted photographer, you can create a session designed to timelessly capture your kids, not a trend.
Check out these fun and great images that go beyond the Cake Smash and tell a story:
This image by a photographer in Arizona; who also enjoys a lifestyle feel to her images. See more at Sandahl Rose Photography | Arizona
And a recent session of this sweet and amazing 1-year-old.