Photographing a child’s birthday party

With my son’s 2nd birthday party fast approaching (please excuse me while I go cry in a corner) I figured I’d share some tips when it comes to photographing birthday parties.  Last year for our son’s first birthday my fiancé took charge of the camera, mostly because I’m a control freak and had to have to party under control because there were so many people in our tiny little house.  This year we’ll see who will have the camera, probably him once again, but I’ll take care of before and after shots.

  1. If you have kids that don’t know you, or don’t know you well, your best bet is to put the camera down while everyone is showing up so that you can get to know them and their personal bubble.  Once everyone is used to you, then you’ll be able to pick up the camera and get lots of personality shots.
  2. Take before and after shots.  It’s the best way to get all the little details, from decorations to the cake.  This way you’ll have evidence of everything all put together and looking fantastic.  Then after the party is over and everyone is gone take a picture of the birthday child with all of the presents, or go all out and go with pictures with each present to include in thank you cards.
  3. Get the details.  Everyone else might not notice all the details you put in to the party, but you know they’re there.  So snap a picture to remind yourself later of all the amazing work you put in to your child’s big day.
  4. Change your point of view.  The party is for your child, so stay low at their eye level to get pictures from your child’s perspective, when they’re going over the pictures with you later they’ll actually remember everything because it was how they saw it.
  5. Take posed and casual shots.  Get the typical shot of the birthday child holding up each present as they open it, but also get them right before they blow out the candles, you can even go as far as to get a picture of the birthday child with each guest.  But remember that they’re going to be running around with friends and family all day having fun, those moments are just as, if not more, important to capture.


Here’s a couple pages from real photographers with their own tips from experience.  As well as setting suggestions for your camera and lighting.

Digital Photography School

Kristen Duke Photography


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