Pam Bonello | Blog

Smash Cake Photography Tips

November 01, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Following my last Smash-The-Cake photography session with little Trishelle, I've decided to jot down a few pointers for parents and fellow photographers who decide to give the shoot a try.

Pre-Session (Things to remember!)

  • Discuss with the parent/s what the plan for the shoot is and what to expect. Manage expectations! Their child might not be interested in smashing the cake! Hence agree on what to do if such a situation arises.
  • Discuss the setup - props, balloons, colours, outfit, cake.
    • Discuss the outfit and the cake they intend on bringing along. Guide the parents as to whether the combination will shoot well. Also this will give you an idea of what kind of props and background to go for.
    • Advise the parents that whatever the child will be wearing WILL get messy and might not clean up well. This also goes for their own clothes. They might have to pick up the child a few times and they might get messy in the process.
    • Ensure that you do have a few props available as the child's interest in the cake will not last for the duration of the shoot.
  • Discuss location
    • If the shoot is not done in a studio, ensure that there are as little distractions as possible that could drawn the child's attention from the main objective of the shoot (the cake!)
    • If the shoot is done indoors, ensure that the surface you are shooting can be easily cleaned. Little frosting footprints will get everywhere by the end of the shoot


Session (Shorter than expected!)

Before starting the actual smashing of the cake, I recommend putting the child on the set and making him/her feel comfortable. Let him/ her get to know you so it's easier to get his/her attention during the shoot. Give the child a few props and also take the opportunity to take a few test shots to test your camera settings and lighting. I would make sure I do get a few good shots too at this point, while the child is still clean. 

The child will get curious and try to touch the cake once it is given to him/her. However, don't be surprised if after a few seconds he/she becomes disinterested in it. Some children do not like the texture of the cake or the icing and might not be particularly interested in getting their hands dirty. Don't get disheartened, use these moments to get the child's facial expressions.

The parent/s play a very important role at this point. Let them know that you want them to be part of the fun. They might want to give some frosting to the child or smash parts of the cake to entice the child to do the same. To get the icing caked face everyone thinks of when thinking of a smash cake party, there needs to be quite a bit of assistance from the parents. Very few children will readily stuff their face in the cake.

Unfortunately you will find that in most cases, the cake smashing bit of the shoot doesn't last long. The cake will turn out a mess quicker than expected, while the kid will lose interest in the whole affair very quickly. You will find that the child will walk away from the mess very quickly. Ask the parent/s to get him/her back to the cake and take a few more shots when the parents have moved away. You will find however that after running away for a few times and being returned back by the parents to the scene, the child will not return enthusiastically to the cake. Before you call it a day, focus on detail. Take shots of the hands, feet, mouth. Experiment a bit before it's all over.


Shooting Tips (You will get down and dirty!)

As with all children shoots it is important to get as low as you can and get to the child's level. This means that you might have to also roll in some frosting and cake crumbs.

Set the camera on continuous shooting. Kids are very energetic, constantly moving and you want to make sure you capture as many instances as you can.

Check your shutter speeds. Given that the kid will move around constantly, you need to ensure that you have a fast enough shutter speed to get your sharp images.



Post Session (Messier than expected!)

If the studio or the location permits it, you can provide a bath for the kid to rinse off from the frosting and the mess. This would allow you to take a few more candid shots as the kid is delighted to remove the stickiness and the mess left by the cake. If this is not possible you can still take some candid shots as the parent cleans the child up. 

Once everyone leaves and the shoot is over prepare to clean up! The scene was much messier than expected and I can assure you that cake and frosting does get everywhere.


Enjoy shooting... and cleaning! :-)

Purchasing prints/ Downloads

October 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Instructions on how to purchase/ download images from the website:

You can either download images or purchase prints of any of the images on an album. Different albums have different options. If you have any queries on the options and on the licences for downloading images, do not hesitate to let me know.

1. Once on the website, use the SELECT photos button on the right hand side to select the pictures you want to purchase.
2. Select the pictures
3. Press BUY Photos
To download the photos:
1. Press the download icon (right hand side)
2. The website will then show you the charge for the selected image. Press Select. Then Continue
3. The next page will allow you to add more photos to the ones you already selected.
4. Make any necessary changes and then SAVE TO CART
5. This will take you back to the album. If you are done with your selection, press the CART from the top right hand side corner.
6. Press Checkout Now
7. Agree to the terms and conditions - and fill in the form (Name and email are sufficient)
8. You will then receive a link to download the images 
To purchase prints:
1. Press the prints icon (left hand side)
2. Select the size and supplier for your images and ADD TO CART.
Note that we currently print our Images from Photobox and One Vision Images.
3. This will take you back to the album. If you are done with your selection, press the CART from the top right hand side corner. 
4. This will list all the photos you have selected. You have the choice of printing on glossy/ matt paper. Make the necessary options
5. Confirm your order or remove any images which you do not wish to purchase
6. You will then be asked to fill in a form with your billing and shipping address and payment method
Note that we (Pam Bonello Photography) do not have access or store any of the payment information. 
7. You will receive a receipt by email and details of your order which will be shipped by the supplier of your choice (selected in step 2)
Happy shopping!! :-)

The FB page is up and running

October 04, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Website: Check!

FP page: Check!


The new Pam Bonello Photography FB page has been set up and is now up and running. Follow the latest updates of my work through FB. Feel free to like and share


Have a nice weekend everyone!

Downloading prints

August 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

After some absence finally got around to setting up the download section for the website. If you have any queries about the process or about the availability of the images, do not hesitate to contact me. Please note that downloading of images is bound by licensing agreements.

Working on setting up purchases from local (Maltese) suppliers for local clients! 

Have a nice Sunday everyone! Be back soon with more news and more shots!

SPCA shoot

July 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

4 - Babe & Spike4 - Babe & Spike I have just finished processing my latest shoot at SPCA. So many abandoned cats and dogs that need our help :-( Please share the album on any of the social media and let's raise awareness. All the cats & dogs in these images are up for adoption. 

The adorable pups in the images could not stop moving around and given the heat we decided to call it a day after a few hours. I will be back to shoot the rest soon!

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