Every year I try to take birthday photos of my girls. When my older two were younger, I was very consistent. As they’ve gotten older, and less willing to get in front of the camera, I’m not as consistent with a whole birthday shoot. Instead, I’ll snap a cell phone photo to remember the moment. For bigger birthdays and milestones I do try and encourage them to humor me though. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes!
With Olivia, I’ve started birthday photos again and have been having fun coming up with ways to make it memorable. This year will definitely go down in the history books! She turned 2 on March 30th during a global pandemic so I wasn’t as prepared for her birthday as I normally am. I waited until the last minute, which to be honest, is sometimes a blessing in disguise because I don’t have time to overthink things. Plus, online shopping isn’t as reliable during all of this so I wasn’t able to get what I wanted. I ordered rainbown balloons from Target, but was given blue and gray instead. Not much I could do except roll with the punches.
If you can’t hire a photographer or want to do it yourself, I’ve got a few tips to help make sure you capture beautiful birthday memories.
Timing is everything. Especially if you’re shooting little ones. I waited until after Olivia was done with her nap to give myself time to get everything together and also to make sure she wasn’t cranky or hungry.
Light. Look around your home for a room with lots of natural window light. If it’s a cloudy day and took dark inside, try taking the photos outside instead.
Background. Keep it simple and clutter free if you’re shooting in your home. I picked a plain, white wall. You could also try to create your own backdrop. There are a ton of great ideas on Pinterest.
Props. I wanted to use balloons because she loves them. Think of a prop that tells a story about your child’s personality and the stage they’re in. You could always use a cake or cupcakes as a prop too!
Get help! Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your birthday photos. I needed someone to throw the balloons up in the air while Olivia tried to catch them so I asked my husband and teenage daughter.
Bonus Tip! Shoot a few days or even a week before their actual birthday! This way if you don’t get the photo you were hoping for the first time around, you can always try again. With that said, birthday photos should be fun and stress free. Don’t worry about your child smiling for the camera (says the mom of a toddler who clearly loves balloons!). Even if Olivia had a more serious expression, I would love the photos. They’re meant to be a memory of how your child looks and acts at this age so keep it casual.