Capturing Birthday Memories

ribbons_raydavisWe celebrated a 6th birthday here recently and, of course, one of the aims of the day was to get some nice photographs. But how does one go about getting good birthday photos? Well, here free of charge, are ten tips for you:

1. Have a designated photographer (or two). Get someone who is not in charge of putting the candles on the cake, keeping the dog away from the kids, paying the magician, and keeping track of which present came from which child, to keep a camera in their hands and use it often during the party. If you can get two people even better. If there are specific moments you know you want shots of let your designated photographers know what they are before the party starts.

2. Start early. The party preparation can make for some great photos too, especially if the kids are helping set up or if a family member is baking the cake.

3. Get the light right. If you’re having the party indoors try and arrange key moments like blowing out the candles and opening presents to be in an area with good lighting. Forward planning is the key here, set up the table and chair for the birthday child’s shining cake moment before the party in area where you know there is good light.

4. Practice. If you’re having the party in your own home practice taking shots inside before the party and get the settings on your camera the way you want them. Then either leave the settings as they are or write them down so you’ll remember them when the time comes.

5. Shoot continuously.  Kids move fast. And pretty much constantly. This is even more true when sugar and the excitement of a party are involved. Your best bet is to put your camera in continuous shooting mode and let the memory card fill up!

6. Don’t just photograph the people. The cake is an obvious feature you may also want to photograph. The set up of the party area before the kids get at it, the pile of presents, the balloons, and all sorts of other little festive details make for a great addition to the birthday photo album. Especially if it’s a themed birthday party.

7. Photograph the birthday child looking their best.
That is, before the cake is smeared on their party clothes and the face paint has gotten smudged. A little while before the party starts get the child all dressed up in their party clothes and then take a photo, preferably outside, before they have a chance to get dirty and too hyper. A crown or birthday hat are also a nice touch to these kind of shots. You may also consider starting a tradition of photographing the child in the same spot each year on their birthday.

8. Get on your hands and knees
. Kids tend to be short so get down on their level to get photos of the action that include more than the tops of their heads.

9. Photograph the friends. Try and get a group shot of everyone together, let them make silly faces or wave streamers to keep it fun. These photos make good thank-you cards to send out to everyone later.

10. Let the kids have a shot. Buy some disposable cameras and let the kids have at them. You’ll get some really interesting photos from a totally different perspective!


  1. This is exactly what I was looking for with just the right amount of detail in the post. I don’t really need an entire book on the subject, so these reminders really fit the bill.


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