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I’m sure you’ve seen cake smash photos everywhere, from Pinterest to Facebook to Instagram. These photos are super fun to do, but they’re not for everyone, and there are many ways to celebrate your child’s first birthday with a professional photo session that don’t involve cake.

Maybe your child has food allergies or just isn’t super into sweets. Maybe you want images that better represent your child’s personality and life or that mean more to your family. If that’s the case, or if you just aren’t into the cake smash, here are some other food and decor ideas for having messy fun without frosting!

Go for noodles

Spaghetti is one of the most fun foods to watch little ones eat, and it makes for great photos! Plus, you can choose how much sauce you add and have a little more control over how messy things get. 

Have a taco fiesta

Who doesn’t love a good taco? Add in a piñata and some festive decorations, and this theme can be super fun! Just keep in mind that tacos can be pretty messy too.

Keep it healthy and light with fruits

If you’re a little more health-conscious or your child just loves fresh fruit, why not choose a watermelon or a variety of fruits? This option is just as colorful as cake but makes your images a little more unique. You can even choose fruits based on the time of year, giving your photos a great seasonal feel. 




Build (or destroy) a gingerbread house

If your child’s birthday falls around the holidays, a gingerbread house can be a great alternative to a cake smash! This option gives your little one more pieces to play with, but still all that sugary goodness.

Decorate with a theme and decor accents

One is fun and the ONE shirt, smiles and laughs speak for itself!  For decor, decorate to go with the season, for example for this summer set below we accented with some greenery and flowers along with a white tent for a white and airy whimsical feel.  A fall set-up could take place amongst the changing colours of the leaves with accents such as pumpkins, hay-stacks, and a ONE balloon.


Add some color with popsicles

Nothing says summer like a popsicle! If you’re looking for a really colorful theme, popsicles are the perfect warm weather choice. Not only do these sweet treats make for fun photos, but they can also feel good on your little one’s gums and help soothe them during the session. 

Scream for ice cream

Not into popsicles? Go for a different cold treat with an ice cream sundae! You get all the messy fun of a cake smash, plus ice cream makes for an adorable theme for your photo shoot.


Enjoy some donuts

Add some variety to your images with donuts instead of cake. Go for different icing colors and flavors to add interest to your images—and to see what donut is your child’s favorite!  With donuts, the small donut holes aka. timbits are easy to hold as well!

Celebrate with breakfast food

Whether you prefer pancakes or waffles, breakfast food can make for a fun, unique first birthday session. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day!

Look to your child’s favorites

The best way to choose an alternate food for your child’s first birthday photo session is to choose what they love eating most. Using their favorite food will encourage your little one to jump right in and allow your photographer to capture some amazing images!


About me:

Hello, I'm Nathalie - owner and photographer of Pictonat Photography located in the heart of Toronto. I have a passion for delivering images that capture emotions and tell a story with an intimate and fresh feel. My area of focus is on families of all ages from bump to baby and beyond.

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Want to learn more about a family photoshoots or newborn sessions?  Get in touch and I'd love to chat!

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