Photographing your kid’s birthday party can be a bit overwhelming. You don’t want to forget to document the important moments. However, you also don’t want to document every single detail only to be behind the camera the whole time, and miss out on actually enjoying the party yourself.
These birthday party photography tips allow you to fully prepare for the party so that you can have it well documented and still enjoy every moment!
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Birthday party photography tips!
Before the party:
1. Focus on the decorations.
I love picking a theme and decorating for a fun party. In the past, however, I have put tons of time and energy into the decorations only to find that they do not make the same “BAM” impression in my birthday party photographs as they did as a whole during the party. So I’ve changed my approach.
I focus my decorations on two areas. The first was around the cake table where I intend on taking most of the photographs.
The second area is a backdrop I create specific to the theme. I want this to be a good place to take photos with the birthday girls and show the spirit of the party.
2. Photograph the decor.
If you want pictures of the party decorations and set up, don’t wait till the party starts to take the pictures.
These aren’t the most important pictures so you really didn’t want them to interrupt the party. Instead, I have the party completely set up 30 minutes before it is going to start. I take the pictures of the setup early, firstly so that I wouldn’t have to tell anyone to step out of the picture. And secondly, so that I could enjoy and go with the flow of the party. I don’t need to interrupt anything for pictures first.
3. Find your alternate designated photographer.
There are a certain points during a birthday party, where as the mom to the birthday girl, I didn’t want to be stuck behind the camera. My sister, friends and cousins are pretty used to me handing my camera off to them, but I still make sure they were ready. I need one of them for two points during the party: during the present opening and while we were singing happy birthday. And I needed them to be ready to sit in front of everyone with my camera as the designated photographer.
I have place the camera setting perfect when I hand off my camera, and place it in aperture priority mode so I don’t need to adjust the shutter speed if something goes too light or too dark. I also explain what I’m looking for, what I don’t want, and where to stand or sit to get the angle I want.
Tip: If you are ever unsure if they understand what what you want in the photo, take a picture first to show them the exact framing you are looking for.
During the party:
4. Take the people shots.
I find the best time to take the “smile at the camera” shots is when the party first starts. Every one looks their best, lipstick is still fresh and it’s not a surprise that you want to document the party. This also just allows you to “get it over with”…
If you can, don’t forget the family photo.
5. Take some candid shots once every gets comfortable.
Everyone gets comfortable once the food is served, right? At this point, you’ve already snapped a few “smile at the camera” shots, so don’t worry about getting everyone to look. Focus on the candid shots. Walk around for 5 minutes snapping pictures here and there. Just avoid the awkward shots of people chewing.
6. A pre birthday photoshoot.
During the party is a bad time to try and take extra photos. Too much stimulation is going on for the kids to slow down for these photos. Instead, a few days before the party, I make my girls do a small photoshoot centered around the theme of their party. I use props and the girls have so much fun and I get to capture relaxed happy images at that age in their lives.
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Hope these tips help!
Sandra Thomasian, MD