Diana P. Lang Photography

How I Made Fake Rocks For A Dinosaur Themed Cake Smash

My client and former neighbor called for a cake smash session for her son’s first birthday and I knew I had to create something fun. I’ve known Lauren for more than half of her life and had the honor of photographing her wedding and her first child’s newborn session. The pressure was on to make some photo magic.

Lauren had a dinosaur themed session in mind and when I needed some inspiration, I turned to Pinterest of course. I basically had to create something out of not much in my outdoor studio. When I stumbled on creating rocks out of paper, my creativity exploded.

I have what is basically a lifetime supply of kraft paper – a huge roll of the brown paper and a shelf full of odd paints. I cut the kraft paper into five foot sections and laid them down on my basement floor.  Using a natural sea sponge, I mottled the paper with a light tan and darker brown. After the first failed attempt, I realized I needed to let the paper dry before crumpling. My second attempt proved more successful.  I balled the paper up tightly to create the illusion of natural crevices. I then unfolded it and formed the rocks’ shapes, stapling strategically to keep the shape. A few of the rocks were stuffed with more of my endless supply of kraft paper to make them a little more rigid.

My studio is located at Calgo Gardens, who generously lets me use what I need for props. From their nursery, I borrowed a couple of jungle like plants and the perfect shade of blue rug to anchor the set. I combined a blue and white mosquito netting to flow over the carefully placed faux rocks. And voila – I had a set ready for a dinosaur cake.

We started the photo shoot with just Bryce and some dinosaurs. Can’t bring the cake out until you have some safe shots. Bryce was so happy and content, we quickly moved on. You usually don’t have much time for a one year old’s session. His mom had ordered a gorgeous cake for the shoot which was almost too pretty to dig into. Not ever having birthday cake before, Bryce needed a little coaching at first. He had the best reactions and expressions giving us plenty of time to photograph. When Bryce was ready to move around I didn’t have to worry about him getting hurt on the rocks – they just smooshed in.

We only had to do a quick clean up to get some of the icing off because we knew the last part of the session was a bubble bath.  I had warmed the water for a few hours in the sun to get the perfect temperature on that hot, summer day. Bryce didn’t love the water and bubbles as much as we expected but his serious expressions made for some beautiful photographs. We were happy to end the session quickly while everyone was still smiling!

An outdoor bubble bath is a great session for young children.  It’s much more fun than being inside a studio for them and this is about the only time of the year you can do it NJ. Book your session this August!

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