Boston Photography’s MUST HAVE Birthday Photos Guide

Did you ever throw a great birthday party for your child, but the pictures didn’t do it justice?

Well, hopefully that won’t happen again after you read this advice from Fernandina Beach professional photographer Kellie Boston. A mom, herself, Kellie is a regular guest columnist on Thanks, Kellie, for this great advice! ~ Mamamelia


Birthday parties are a great time to get "generational photos" while your family is gathered together. / All Photos Courtesy of Boston Photography

Birthday parties are a great time to get “generational photos” while your family is gathered together. / All Photos Courtesy of Boston Photography

We as parents work so hard to coordinate the party: we pick out a theme, plan the decorations, make or purchase all of the décor, make the cake, invite the guests, and stress all day that we will never pull it off, but…we always do!

But how many times have you hosted your child’s birthday party and afterwards said, “Oh my, we forgot to take pictures” or looked at your pictures afterwards and said, “Darn, I wish I would have ….” Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Believe it or not, I too have said both of these things for my 2 children, now 4 and 8, and I am a Professional Photographer. So I am here to help you remember those MUST HAVES and some tips for how to get the best ones!

Get some individual pics of the Birthday Girl before your guests arrive.

Get some individual pics of the Birthday Girl before your guests arrive.

1. In your planning, think about where you want to place your items that you want to photograph and make sure they are in great locations, i.e. everyone will want a picture of your child with the cake, so where is a good location? We recommend that it be placed in an area that your child can access (either sit next to or stand by) with little distractions behind it. It is not advisable to set the cake in front of a window, because now you have “back lighting” to deal with and unless you are experienced in this, you will often find the window light outdoors being brighter than indoors and then you won’t see your beautiful child’s face!

2. Before any guests come, take pictures of the decorations. You could even use these later in designing a “Thank You Card.” Also take a picture of your child in key areas without the guests, i.e. in his or her birthday outfit, by the cake, maybe opening your front door as if welcoming the guests, maybe holding up his or her fingers displaying what birthday this is. If you have an extra hand, don’t forget about including yourself in the picture with your child…after all…you did the hard work! (If no one is there, most cameras have a timer mode).

3. Birthdays are a great time to get “Generational Pictures.” When you have family in town for the party, don’t forget these images. I love these shots. Be sure to find a few locations without distractions that you can use, maybe on the front steps of your home, outdoors by your blooming plants, etc…

4. During the party be sure to catch plenty of candids. These are often the most cherished images (Child greeting the guests, kids playing games, guests chatting).

5. Before you cut the cake when all your guests are present, try to get all of the guests in one picture so you can remember who all came for the celebration. Dependant upon the size of your group and your party location, you may need to move outdoors for this. One of the best ways to ensure you can see everyone’s faces is for the person taking the picture to be elevated, i.e. stand on a ladder, chair, deck, etc… I have been known to stand on the railing of a deck or in crazier places to get this shot….not necessarily recommended.

Candids make some of the best birthday photos.

Candids make some of the best birthday photos.

6. Cake time: Well there are a couple of things that you can do with this. Remember, if you followed the steps above, you have already shot the cake individually and with your child. If you are lighting candles on the cake, try turning your flash off to get that wonderful glowing appearance so you can see all of the flames. You may need a tripod or stable surface for this because if you cut off your flash, your camera will slow down the shutter speed (if on an automatic or program setting), which might make your image look shaky or out of focus if it is not stable. If this is your child’s 1st birthday, it is a must to have the image of your child feeding his or her self the cake!

7. Biggest Tip: Get those images off your camera and do something with them!!!!!!!! Now that we all live in the digital world, I hear so many times from parents, “I have the images somewhere or on my computer.” Realistically, how often do you print them out? Your computer will not last forever. You would hate to loose those important memories because of a computer crash! Print them out, make a collage, make an album with those images. If you keep a baby book for your children, most of them have details of birthdays through age 5, so complete the details in there and add one of your great images.

Find a background that doesn't distract the viewer from the main subject of your photos.

Find a background that doesn’t distract the viewer from the main subject of your photos.

8. Consider making custom “Thank You” cards with your child’s picture on it from the party.

9. Lastly…consider hiring a professional! Take the stress off of you or your favorite Auntie with a camera and be sure a professional captures these memories….your child only turns that age once! Boston Photography offers Boston Birthday Bash Bundles which can include your party coverage plus many options like Invitations for the Party, a fully custom-designed coffee table book, custom Thank You Cards, party favors, prints, etc… Contact Kellie to learn more. 904-412-8178,,, or

Use your birthday photos to make a customized "Thank You" card.

Use your birthday photos to make a customized “Thank You” card.

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