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First Birthday Portraits

Posted on 23 Feb, 2017 by Sarah Hart

An alternative to a Cake Smash Photoshoot

Want to get some first birthday portraits of your baby but aren’t keen on a cake smashes? They’re a bit like Marmite aren’t they?!……you either love the idea of them, or you hate them.  I adore photographing cake smash sessions but I get it, if you hate them……. you spend the first year of your baby’s life nurturing them and ensuring they have a healthy diet and trying to steer clear of too much sugar and then BAM! at the first birthday cake smash, you sit them in front of a pile of sugar!

The truth is that they don’t actually eat that much of the cake. But to some people, cake smashes represent too much extravagance and waste in a world where many children are starving (and I do have a slight issue with that point, however, I always make sure the parents take the uneaten cake with them in the box to enjoy at home). And other clients that dislike the idea of a cake smash, simply state that they can’t bear the thought of images of their child with cake all over their hands and face.

But turning one is still a big deal. You still want to capture this milestone in their lives, however, for whatever reasons, cake smashes may not be your “thing”. I have been offering simple First Birthday Portrait sessions for a while now –  we still capture just as much personality and fun in the images (but without all the mess!)


Firstly, you get to bring along a few outfit choices to change your little one into for their first birthday portraits. Perhaps their first birthday party outfit, that cute little t-shirt that Nana bought him, or the stunning Winter coat that she looks adorable in? In the past, clients have brought along woolly hats, Christmas jumpers, shirt and bow tie outfits, party dresses, pretty much anything goes!  And everyone who visits the studio with their one year old is still welcome to try one of my many different cake smash outfits here at my Tonbridge studio, even if there is to be no cakes in sight! When you arrive at the session (which usually lasts for approximately an hour), we can look through what you have brought and decide on which outfits will work with the different backdrops that I have to offer.

First birthday portraits, cute 1 year outfits, Sevenoaks photographer, Sarah Hart images

Naked baby shots!

And then after we’ve exhausted all the clothing options (and let’s face it that may only be a maximum of three outfits if your little one hates getting changed!) I always ask whether you would like to have your baby photographed in their birthday suit! I do love the simplicity of a baby with no clothes on. Of course we aim to hide their modesty in the shots (with the exception of maybe a couple of bottom shots, which is no different to the shots I produce in a newborn photography session). And there is no panic over babies having an accident or two….it’s perfectly normal if they’re not wearing a nappy and no problem to quickly clean up. These shots are always my favourite – they are well worth capturing!

naked baby photos, 1st birthday portraits, Kent baby photographer


And then finally, I recommend that you bring along one of your baby’s favourite toys. I’ve photographed children’s ride-on toys, their favourite books, a much loved teddy/bunny and even a rocking horse passed down over three generations! Having an item that is familiar to your baby not only helps them feel a little more relaxed and settled in the session, but also captures their reactions to their favourite toys.

Favourite toys, one year old toys, Sarah Hart Photography in Kent


You really can personalise the session as much as you like.  Below, I capture Emily’s first pair of shoes. And another mummy brought the bracelets that her children had given to one another as gifts, inscribed with “Jaxson loves Evie” and “Evie loves Jaxson”

Personalised gifts to photograph, Sarah Hart Photography, Kent baby photography


So if your little one is about to turn one and a cake smash session is out of the question, get in touch to book a some First Birthday Portraits in (priced as a Baby Milestone Session – prices can be viewed here).  You can also view more Milestone Photography images HERE. Happy to create a session around anything you’d like to bring along 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you!

Sarah x

Sarah Hart Photography can be found listed on the directory of Find the Best Photographer


2 Comments First Birthday Portraits Client Gallery

  1. Sarah Hart says:

    Hi Ruma, you’re welcome to email me with your idea – happy to help if I can –

  2. Ruma says:

    Hi, i’m looking for someone who is able to do my twins 1st birthday shoot in Feb. I really don’t like the idea of a cake smash but have another idea in mind. I just wanted to find out your prices and if the idea I have is possible to achieve?

    Kind Regards

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