This month is party month at Northern Beaches Kids Guide and we are celebrating all…
How To Photograph Your Childs Next Birthday Party
Having three children of my own, life in the Bowman family often feels like one continuous party circuit. With three birthday parties to organize each year, plus Easter, Halloween and Christmas, I have had a LOT of practice at this! Here are my top tips on capturing all of the action:
- First of all, it is a good idea to ask a friend or family member to be the ‘official photographer’ for the day. Choose someone who knows their way around a camera and make sure that taking photos is their only responsibility throughout the celebration. Believe me, you will have your hands full; cooking, organizing the kids/games, chatting to guests and doing your best party organizer impression… there is no way you will have the time to photograph all of the details you have worked so hard on, but you will feel sad if you get to the end of the day and have nothing to show for all your hard work other than a messy house and a pile of presents! If you are the most qualified person for the job however, take a deep breath and watch the chaos unfold…
- Look out for natural light– if the party is taking place outdoors, your job will be much easier. Avoid harsh, direct sunlight though and beware of asking the kids to face the direction of the sun, as this will result in heavy shadows and squinty eyes! Try instead to get the sun behind your subject, or even better, move them into the shadows before taking your shot. If you are photographing a party indoors, then try increasing the ISO on your camera (this makes your camera more sensitive to light so you can photograph in darker surroundings) or alternatively you could use a flash. Remember though, if you must use flash either use a diffuser (a lot of flash guns have a little drop down diffuser already attached) or bounce the light off a white or neutral -coloured surface first (either a wall or ceiling), to avoid over-lighting your subject and making them look super-imposed in the photo.
- Details, details, details. If you are anything like me, the devil is in the details. The little extras are the bits that I go crazy over at my kid’s parties; the themed cupcakes and cookies, sandwiches cut into the shape of a dinosaur/star/butterfly, the boutique party bags and embellished balloons… remember to get a quick shot of them all. You have to be superhuman-quick though because let me tell you, nothing moves faster than a 5 year old on a sugar high with a plate of cupcakes in his sights.
- Candids – the sweetest, most meaningful photos to me are the ones where the person you are photographing is not aware you have them in your sights! This is especially true of children – kids are usually either 1) shy and wary of the camera or 2) over-trained with the perfect ‘say cheese’ face. It’s often nice to take a step back and move around the outside of the action. If you have a children’s entertainer coming to the party, get behind him/her and focus on your child’s face. That moment when they first spot their childhood hero arriving at their party is pure gold!
- Planned Shots – there are always the ‘staple’ photos that every parent wants from their child’s big day, including a shot of the birthday boy/girl with their (intact) cake, family group shot with the cake, blowing out the candles and opening presents. If you have a basic running order for the party beforehand, it will be much easier to plan these essential shots so the time doesn’t run away with you.
- It’s fun to add some variety to your photographs by looking at the action from different angles and perspectives. Try standing on a stool and photograph looking down during the party games (this works particularly well during pass-the-parcel when all the kids are mostly stationary) or lie on your tummy and shoot looking upwards.
- After the action. As much as it is essential to get a shot of everything looking beautiful and perfect before the madness begins, I always like to get a few photos of the aftermath too; the partly eaten cake and streamers littering the floor is all part of the day as well!
I hope these pointers inspire you to get creative at your next party. Just remember though to put your camera down from time-to-time and be involved in making memories with your child, rather than fixated on recording them.
Good luck and enjoy!
Boutique newborn, family and wedding photographer, specialising in natural light photography. Beccy’s style is relaxed, light, bright and airy. Because ‘a photograph is life’s pause button’. Contact Rebecca Bowman Photography today to find out about this season’s Special Offers.