Holidays & Parties
Dog Cake Smash: 7 Tips for the Perfect Photo
Forget babies. Dog cake smashes are where it's at.
Pet lifestyle expert Serena Faber-Nelson is the founder of Pretty Fluffy. A contributor to Everyday with Rachael Ray, Modern Dog Magazine, Cesars Way and more; her modern, stylized take on DIY dog treats has seen her recipes viewed millions of times over.
Serena is the author of the go-to dog mom bible, Dog Mama, and the popular dog treat recipe book, Healthy Homemade Dog Treats.
Ever seen a cute photo of a doggo devouring a birthday cake and want to replicate it at home?
Well it’s time for fido to make the frosting fly…we’ve got the expert lowdown on what it takes to pull off a successful and stylish doggie cake smash.
P.S. For more dog cake smash photo tips, check out our post, Ziggy’s Cake Smash: DIY Dog Cake Smash Photo Shoot at Home.
1. Choose Your Location
The inspiration for this shoot was that dogs deserve to have their cake and eat it too! This shoot was a styled dog cake smash to celebrate Stella’s birthday in addition to the arrival of the newest member to her family, her little puppy sister Luna
For a few reasons, we chose to shoot Stella’s dog cake smash in the Boston Navy Yard. First and foremost, the Boston Navy Yard provided for a stunning backdrop of the city and the marina. It is also a location that is near and dear to Stella’s heart. She is a quintessential New England dog, enjoying her swims and walks along the harbor.
Stella is a resident of the Boston Navy Yard, so it was a natural decision to use her backyard for the photoshoot because we knew it would also be an environment where she would be comfortable in, helping her to relax for the photoshoot. Since we were also including her new puppy sister, Luna, in the photoshoot, we knew we wanted a location that wouldn’t be too populated and so shooting on the dock provided us with a little bit of privacy.
Top Tips: Pick a location that provides a nice backdrop, a location that has some sentimental meaning to you and your dog, and finally, a location that your know your dog will be comfortable in.
2. Choose a Color Palette
The shoot was styled by a group of local Boston vendors. Lavender was the color inspiration for this shoot so once Stella’s mom, the owner of Tails ‘N Sails, designed Stella’s scarf, she shared the design with Grey Lady Revelry Co. and Lauren Dobish Photography, so they could build a shared vision for the scene.
Grey Lady Revelry Co., an event and floral design company, designed florals with soft lavenders, pinks, and touches of gold to compliment Stella’s handmade scarf beautifully.
Top Tips: Keep your palette to 3 or 4 colors to keep a cohesive look.
3. Style Your Shoot
We wanted Stella’s dog cake smash to be a classy affair so we collected small pieces of white furniture to display florals and a dog bone birthday cake custom made by Lally Pups.
Even though this was Stella’s birthday celebration, she was also welcoming her new sister to the family, so we found the perfect sized wicker basket for Luna to sit in that complimented the rest of the scene beautifully!
Then we looked to Lauren Dobish, a Boston wedding and dog photographer, to capture the most stunning images of Stella’s birthday dog cake smash celebration.
Top Tips: With your color palette as a base, start building your vision for a dog cake smash and then find vendors whose design and aesthetic you admire.
4. Choose a Cake
This part can be as easy or hard as you’d like it to be. Make sure you opt for a dog-friendly cake, as human cakes are not good for dogs. Either enlist the help of your local dog bakery or make your own. Grab our favourite dog birthday cake recipe here.
Keep in mind the size of your dog to ensure the cake is an ideal size for them to eat without getting bloated.
Top Tips: Try to include dog friendly frosting on your cake as it makes for a better ‘smash’ and lots of licking shots.
5. Photography Tips for Capturing the ‘Dog Cake Smash’ Moment
After putting together a beautifully styled shoot, the best part is finally letting your pup dig in and enjoy their cake! Stella was so good for the whole shoot and let us take so many pictures of her near the cake without ever trying to eat the cake when we weren’t looking. But once we finally let her eat it, she was in heaven! The biggest tip I have for photographing the cake smash moment is to make sure you’re ready at all times to capture the cake smash!
You never know when your pup might make the move towards the cake, so you have to always be ready. And make sure you’re taking a lot of pictures in a row! If you let them, dogs will eat their cake in the blink of an eye, so you have to make sure you’re shooting quickly to capture the moment before the cake is all gone!
My favorite moments when photographing dogs are right after they eat a treat or in this case, right after Stella ate some of her cake, because I love the images when dogs are so happy after eating a treat, licking their lips!
Top Tips: Make sure to keep an eye on your pup at all times, so if they make a move to eat their cake, you’re ready to capture it at any moment. And make sure to take a lot of pictures in a row so that you have options to choose from after the cake is all gone!
6. Keep Your Pup Comfortable
Let your dog take their time with the cake. If they need to be encouraged, give them a taste of the frosting on your finger.
If there are multiple dogs present ensure they are all happy and have their own treats to keep them occupied while the birthday floofer enjoys their cake!
Top Tips: Don’t forget water. Keep your pup hydrated at all times, especially after the cake smash and that sticky frosting.
7. Keep it Simple
Let’s admit it, if we have the time and inclination to give our doggo a cake smash for their birthday… life is sweet. So keep it fun (for you and your pupper) and never forget – often the best photos happen when things go wrong!
Top Tips: Don’t forget about clean up! Let’s be honest, most dogs will keep eating until there’s no mess left, so clean up for a cake smash should be relatively easy. Having some wipes on hand to clean up any messes makes for a hassle free event.
DOG CAKE SMASH CREDITS
These are all of the wonderful vendors involved with bringing this vision to life!
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Hi! I’m Lauren, a Wedding and Dog Photographer based in Boston, MA. I’m originally from Pennsylvania, went to college in Maine (Yeah Bates College!), and now call Boston my home. I moved here 4 years ago to live with my best friends even though I didn’t have a job and I’m so glad I did because I’ve grown to love this city more than I ever could’ve imagined! My other passion in life is teaching and I currently work in Special Education at a local high school. Teaching and photography have allowed me to connect with so many incredible people and I hope I will get the chance to meet you too!