Expert maternity, boudoir & dog photographer in NYC

Cake smash: smashing success or disaster?

Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 |

It didn’t take long for our faces to fall.

The twins were alternately terrified and horrified by the cake. They wouldn’t touch it. They looked at their mom like she had just meted out the worst punishment ever.

With pursed lips, Jada pushed the hand of one twin into the frosting. This set off a chain of howling and wailing and a steady stream of tears.

What a disaster.

cake smash for twins on first, one year birthday
Cake smash for twins’ first birthday. Smashing success or disaster?

Jada looked at Jim. Jim said he was glad he was deaf. Jada looked at me with a look that said, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

I looked at both of them. I could see that Jada was heartbroken. All that excitement and promise of pleasing her children vanished in a heartbeat.

My insides were in knots. When things like this happen, I tell myself, “I know this is not my fault. I know that children are unpredictable. I have no magic wand that turns screaming terrors into smiling angels.”

But I feel responsible. I feel like I should do something. I get paid rather well to create something priceless. Something meaningful. Something that well-meaning parents want.

I was going to fail at my job. This client was never going to call again. And there was nothing I could do about it.

The kids ended up making a mess of the cake, but only because their parents kept trying to show them how yummy and fun the slimy frosting might be.

Having no real choice, I captured the screams and the tears and the frantic fussing. I got the wet cheeks and the scrunched up faces and the eyes clamped shut.

During the review session, Jada reluctantly ordered a photo. It was the worst of the lot, the peak of her children’s unhappiness.

Two years later, Jada pleasantly surprised me by calling to book another appointment for her now three-year-olds. We reminisced about that very special first birthday.

In the blur of the two years that had passed, Jada said, “I now treasure this picture. It reminds me to expect my children to surprise me. That they are not carbon copies of me. That they have minds of their own. That they are independent little people. That I brought them into the world because I wanted to see and experience life all over again through the eyes and the hearts of innocence.”

I would say the shoot was a smashing success. It just took a little time to understand how.

I’m a children’s and family photographer based in New York City.