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ALEXANDRA ROBYN

One Year Photos at the Beach

How to plan beach cake smash photos

One Year Photos

A baby’s first birthday is a momentous occasion, filled with joy and cake. Celebrating this milestone at the beach not only creates beautiful memories, but also is perfect for light and airy photos. Together, we will beautifully capture the essence of this magical Beach Cake Smash. With the sun kissing the sand, the gentle ocean breeze, and your little one’s beaming smile, there’s no better way to commemorate this special moment. In this guide, we’ll explore the perfect location, ideal timing, and essential elements for a memorable beach birthday photoshoot.

family photos at the beach wearing white

Selecting the Ideal Beach

When choosing a beach for your baby’s one year photos, consider locations that are a little more secluded. I have a personal list of three of my go-to beaches with clean, soft sand, and gentle waves to create a serene and picturesque setting. Look for beaches with plenty of natural light, which is essential for achieving light and airy photos. But also plenty of shade. Soft, diffused light can create a dreamy look and prevents any squinting.

Pay attention to the backdrop—tall natural grasses or a white beach umbrella can add depth and visual interest to your images. Light and airy photography often emphasizes bright, neutral tones, so choose a beach with minimal distractions and neutral colors to enhance this aesthetic. Lastly, consider the time of day when selecting your beach, as the right lighting can make all the difference in achieving those soft, luminous images that truly capture the magic of your baby’s special day.

Best Time for Beach Cake Smash Photos

Opt for the golden hours of early morning or late afternoon, when sunlight is soft and warm, providing a natural glow and avoiding harsh shadows. I like to do about three hours before sunset or about 9:00/10:00 in the morning. That said, it’s essential to consider their mood at certain times of the day. Your baby is on a schedule of their own. And to ensure they are comfortable and content during the session, we should think about what they are typically like at your potential photo timeslot. Choosing a time when your child is typically well-rested or about two-three hours before bedtime. Additionally, plan the photoshoot around their feeding schedule to prevent interruptions due to hunger. Be mindful of your baby’s general mood at different times of the day; if they are generally happier in the morning, schedule the session during those hours to capture their natural joy and excitement. By prioritizing your child’s needs and routines, you can create a relaxed and enjoyable experience for both your baby and the whole family, resulting in cherished memories and beautiful, authentic photographs.


Choosing the Right Attire for Light and Airy Photos

Dress your baby in light, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen, in colors that stand out against the beach backdrop. Incorporate beach-themed props such as:

  • A neutral color beach blanket
  • A sunhat or parasol umbrella
  • A “1st Birthday” sign for the cake

When selecting outfits for your baby’s beach birthday photoshoot, focus on neutral colors and soft, breathable fabrics that complement the light and airy photography style. Neutral colors not only create a timeless look but also help keep the focus on your baby and the natural beauty of the beach setting.

Light, pastel shades such as whites, creams, beiges, and soft grays, create a cohesive and elegant look. These colors also reflect light beautifully, enhancing the overall brightness of the photos. Additionally, consider incorporating subtle patterns, like thin stripes or small dots, which can add visual interest without overwhelming the images.

When choosing fabrics, select materials like linen, cotton, or gauze that move gently in the ocean breeze, adding a sense of movement and whimsy to the photos. These materials also breathe well, ensuring your baby stays comfortable throughout the session. For a touch of elegance, consider incorporating lightweight lace or tulle accents, which can create a delicate, dreamy effect when photographed in natural light.

To complete the ensemble, accessorize with simple, neutral-toned items like a sunhat, headband, or delicate jewelry. Remember, the key to light and airy photography is to keep the overall look soft, timeless, and uncluttered, allowing your baby and the beauty of the beach setting to take center stage.


A few Tips for a Successful Photoshoot

  • Keep the session short (30-45 minutes) to avoid overwhelming your baby.
  • Bring their favorite toy or blanket for comfort.
  • Use natural light to your advantage, ensuring it illuminates your baby’s face without causing them to squint.
  • Capture candid moments, like your baby playing in the sand or reacting to waves, for a heartwarming touch.
  • Use a fast shutter speed to avoid blurry images.
  • Follow these tips for a Cake Smash

Celebrating your baby’s first birthday at the beach is an unforgettable experience. Follow these tips to create cherished memories and capture beautiful photos of this magical day. Embrace the joy and love of this special occasion and enjoy the process. But if you have questions, just ask your photographer! I love when clients ask this question or send outfit pictures before a shoot. It helps me to start creative direction before we even start. So, go ahead. Click send on the snapshot of you from the dressing room or DM me with questions. And for Maternity Outfit ideas, visit my Pinterest Board


Loved this post? Here are other Photo Blog posts you might like:

What to wear for Family Photos

Lifestyle Newborn Photos

Cake Smash Photography

Prepping for Newborn Photos


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