Behind The Scenes At Eric's Cake Smash | Just Add Ginger

When it came to thinking about what to get Eric for his first birthday, Ryan and I found ourselves pretty stuck for ideas. We would think we had it sorted and then low and behold, we had to start all over again because Eric's tastes had changed or he seemed a lot happier trying to climb the chimney or chasing an empty bottle round the room. 

So instead we decided to make his birthday about creating memories. And one thing that was high up on my list of things to do was to book Eric in for a cake smash photo shoot. Our niece had one in the lead up to her first birthday and the pictures were so cute and I was keeping everything crossed that we might actually get some photos of E smiling for once. 

cake smash photo - rachel clarke photography

If you don't know what a cake smash is, it's pretty straight forward - you give a baby a cake, and then you let them go wild with it. They can smash it, bash it, eat it, bury their face in it and get as messy as they want and it's all part of the fun. It's something that's a lot more common in America, but the idea has filtered through over here and it's a concept I think is really cute.

So on Saturday afternoon we headed to Rachel Clarke Photography ready for our photo shoot. This is where my sister-in-law booked her little one in so we already knew a little bit about what the session would entail. Rachel had been really helpful in the week leading up to the cake smash, letting me know what I needed to bring and answering any questions I had.  

Rachel's studio is really easy to find whether you are coming by road or by rail, with ample parking on the road or in a car park opposite. The space itself is light and airy whilst still maintaining a level of intimacy that makes you feel cosy and comfortable. There is enough space to store the pushchair and a large squishy sofa sits off to one side where you can perch when changing baby's clothes or use to catch a break in between photos.

cake stand with cakes

rail of baby clothes

The session started out with a few portrait shots of Eric in the first of his outfits. Rachel set up the backdrop with a line of tassle bunting, blue balloons and a big glittery '1'. We were given a choice of three different colour backgrounds ahead of time but I opted for cream because I thought it would add some warmth to the photos whilst complementing the clothes I'd picked out for E to wear. Knowing how much he loves to move around I picked out something really comfy rather than clothing he would find restrictive, just in case he decided to set off for an explore.

baby photo shoot with rachel clarke photography liverpool

Having spent the past day testing out different techniques to get Eric to smile, when it came to it he was just too interested in the new setting to focus much on cracking a grin no matter how silly we all acted. However if you didn't have a baby who loves nothing more than to show you his best 'Blue Steel' impression as soon as they see the camera they would be in their element. 

The next part of the shoot - the actual smash itself - I was most excited for. I have been quite strict on Eric and the amount of sweet treats he has so I knew as soon as he saw the cake (which is included with the photo shoot) he wasn't going to know himself.

cake smash photo shoot with rachel clarke photography liverpool

blue cake smash cake

At first, Eric had no idea what the cake was. He just sat there looking confused until Ryan scooped some of the icing onto his finger and popped it into his mouth. It took a few seconds for it to register that this giant blue thing could be eaten but the minute it clicked the reaction was hilarious. There weren't many smiles (typical) but what we got instead was so much better and Eric absolutely loved getting covered in cake. 

Once Eric was showing signs of having enough of the smash and began to crawl away it was time for the last element of the photo shoot - popping him in the bath to wash off all the cake and icing. We took a bottle of our favourite Kit & Kin bubble bath to use (you need to take your own bath products and towel along) and plopped Eric into the cute tin bath to see what he made of it.

Water went everywhere. Bubbles glided in the air and the poor rubber duck went for a forced dabble. But Eric was loving every minute of it. I can't wait to see how all the photos turned out for this part because you could see how much he was enjoying being in the water.

baby photo shoot - rachel clarke photography

If, like us, you are a bit lost for ideas for what to get your little one for their first birthday then I think booking in for a special photo shoot is a really lovely idea. And if you are in the Liverpool area you need to check out Rachel Clarke Photography (links to her social pages are below). From start to finish Rachel made us feel completely at home, took into account all of our needs and was brilliant with Eric. The way the studio is set up is like being in someone's living room. There is nothing clinical about it and the space isn't crowded with equipment that you are scared of baby getting hold of. 

Not just offering cake smash shoots, Rachel also offers wedding, family and newborn packages, all at a reasonable price point. If you are on the lookout for a photographer then I cannot recommend her enough. She made our experience so special and memorable and I wouldn't hesitate to work with her again. Plus - have you seen how cute her photos from the shoot featured in this post are?

But don't just take my word for it, take a peek at Rachel's work for yourself on her website, Facebook and Instagram pages.


  1. Having a family day and a sensory experience sounds like the best birthday present for all of you! Really glad that you decided to do something different and it paid off so well. Toys are outgrown so quickly, but these are photos for you to treasure forever- I'm sure E will be thrilled when you dust them off to show his future partner haha!

    Lyd- whatlyddid.com

    1. It was the best way to spend an afternoon. Time together is so precious and having these photos will evoke so many memories for us. There's a wall in our living room that needs filling with frames and these will look perfect there.

      And oh yes - they will be coming out at his 18th birthday party and the minute he brings a date home to meet us. hehe

      Jackie O xo

  2. I can't get over how cute these photos are! Can't wait to see how the rest turn out! His little face with that cake! Too cute!

    Sarah :)
    Saloca in Wonderland

    1. I know I'm a bit biased but they are adorable aren't they? He totally fell in love with that cake so I can't wait to see how the rest come out (he even had cake in between his toes by the end of the smash)!

      Jackie O xo