How to Take Great Birthday Party Photos

Capture the Expression

We just had Henleigh’s 4th Birthday!!  Not sure where the time has gone but she is already FOUR!!  When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday she said she wanted pictures. I was actually surprised when she said this, but it got me thinking about some things I could do to make sure that I got photos that captured the day.  And how I would give her the pictures when the day was over. Here are some actionable tips for taking great birthday party photos.  And if you want to see what we did with all of the Photos from Henleigh’s Birthday check out how I create Birthday Chatbooks.

Get the Expression

Stop telling your child to look at you and say cheese. Get the real expressions by taking candid shots. Capture the excitement when they open a gift. The face they make when they blow out their candles. Their dirty face from playing with chalk or dirt. And at the end of the day their tired face from a very fun and exciting day. Get it all. Capture the expressions and bring life to all your photos!

Capture the Expression

Plan for the Big Moments

If you know ahead of time that you are going to want a shot of your kiddo blowing out the candles on the cake or openning a certain gift take a few minutes either the day before the party or the day of before things get too busy and find the light.  Then make sure you prep that spot to be where they will blow out the candles or open their gifts.  By doing this you are ensuring that you will have the best light for the pictures that you desire the most. 

If you need help finding that light in your house, check out Finding the Light for some great tips. 

Photograph Interactions

Follow your kiddo around (not the entire time) and take photos as he interacts with other kids, family members, and friends. Look for conversations, hugs, and more. These sweet interactions will turn into perfect candid photos. Remember to take at least 3 pictures from different angles of the same interaction if you can. You never know what angle will create the best photo to convey the interaction/story. 

Include Guest and Family Members

When you look back at this day, it will be important that you know who shared it with you. Don’t forget to photograph the guests along with your little cutie.

Don’t forget to Get In Some Photos too!!

These photos are ultimately for your child and they will certainly want to see you at their birthday. Get in the photos with your child whenever possible. The easiest way to get in the photos is to put someone else in charge of your camera for a little while. You can set your settings or put the camera on auto mode for a bit and enjoy yourself. This way you will have a few photos of yourself enjoying the day with your little one.

I like to get at least one picture of Jamie and I with whoever’s birthday it is.  Kinda like the first picture you take as a family in the hospital when your son/daughter are born. 

Capture the Scene 

Capture the Scene

Before the party starts and before the kiddos start touching everything take a few photos of the party area; the balloons, the cake, the decorations, etc.  When you or your kiddos look back it will be fun to see what their interests were at the time and how those interests deciated the party theme. 

I also like to make note of who made the cake and helped out with the party.  It is good to remember those that helped and those that were there. For the boys first birthday Jill & Alanna made the cakes because Jamie and I were at a wedding.  For Henleigh’s first birthday Jamie made the first cake that completely fell apart when we were assembling it, so Chelle Chelle made a new one the next morning.  It was the inside joke that we will be able to tell her about and show her pictures of. 

Henleigh's Birthday Cake
Twins Birthday Cake

What to Do Now…

Now that you have some ideas for getting Great Birthday Party Photos, don’t forget to charge your camera the night before. And make sure you do something with all of the great Birthday Party Photos you are going to take.  I love turning ours into photo books for the kids.  Check out how I make Birthday Chatbooks for my kiddos.