As I started to outline what I wanted you to know by the end of reading this post, I started thinking about all the awful birthday party pictures I have taken. The event is usually indoors, there is a lot going on, and I end up with a couple posed photos behind the cake. Not exactly how I want to remember my kiddos birthday.


These birthday party photo tips are designed to help you tell the story of your child’s birthday. If you are celebrating indoors, you may also want to read, how to take better photos inside to get a few extra tips.


Actionable Birthday Party Photo Tips


Get the Expressions

Stop telling your child to look at you and say cheese. Get the real expressions. The excited when they open a gift they love. The tears when they are overwhelmed with the day. The tired faces when they just wake up and the laughter when you sing happy birthday in a silly face. Get it all. Capture the expressions and bring life to all your photos!

birthday party photo tips

Find the Light for the Big Moments

Before you start the party assess the light. Look for areas that provide good lighting for your photos. Use these areas for the bigger moments you don’t want to miss, like opening presents. Set the area up so your child will come to that area to open the gifts or blow out candles or any other portion of the party you would like.


Photograph Interactions

Follow your kiddo around (not the entire time) and take photos as he interacts with other kids, family members, and friends. Look for conversations, hugs, and more. These sweet interactions will turn into perfect candid photos. As you are photographing, look for new perspectives and composition. For example, photograph through a doorway, keeping the doorway in the image to frame your subjects.

birthday party photo tips

Include Guests and Family Members

When you look back at this day, it will be important that you know who shared it with you. Don’t forget to photograph the guests along with your little cutie. Just like I talked about above, capture the expressions of your guests as well. Look for candid photos rather than posed group shots. It’s always easier to take photos as things are happening than to try to put a good photograph together.


Get in Some Photos

Don’t forget about yourself! These photos are ultimately for your child and they will certainly want to see your smiling face at their birthday. Get in the photos with your child whenever possible. Set up a tripod that you can use periodically or hand your camera off to someone. The easiest way to get in the photos is to put someone else in charge of your camera for a little while. You can set your settings or put the camera on auto mode for a bit and enjoy yourself. This way you will have a few photos of yourself enjoying the day with your little one.


Step Back

Observe the whole scene. Rather than focusing all your images directly on your child, get a few photos of the entire picture. This is the most powerful way to tell the whole story. Kids running, decorations, or anything else that makes up your party. We tend to have very relaxed parties, but the simple decorations and family and friends make for a beautiful scene to photograph. Step back and look at your whole picture and take time to photograph it.

birthday party photo ideas

Capture the Set-up

Before your kiddo wakes up or the party starts, take a few photos of the set-up. Balloons, the cake before it is eaten, or anything else you have ready. No matter how simple, you set this up for your kiddo and they will want to look back at it. These simple little things we do are filled with love and your kids remember them year after year. Whatever your traditions are, take a few photos before everything gets crazy!


Use these birthday party photo tips to tell the story of your child’s birthday rather than just getting a few images of your child on their birthday. The purpose of photography, in my view, is to take photos that make you feel like you’re back in that place and time when you look at them later.


What to do now:

Next time you have the chance to photograph your child’s birthday, don’t forget to take a peek at this list for reference! Tag me on Instagram (@athomewithkidsblog) and show me your favorite photos.


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