It’s time for another edition of our monthly series “Ask a CMpro” here on the CM photography blog in which we give our CMpros one question and they dish. Their answers alone are always inspiring and this month we asked them, in the spirit of CM’s 6th birthday celebration, “What are your favorite tips for photographing your own child’s birthday party?”
*image by Heather Lazark
Nicole Everson, Florida
I always shoot with my 50mm, I make sure to be set up 15 min early so I can have detail shots, then I make sure to get a few shots but I actually hand my camera over to my best friend who is also my assistant. I know I have the few perfect shots I need and then I can be a mom and be in the shots!!
Beth Wade, North Carolina
I prefer using natural light so I make sure to set up the really special moments around the best light. Our home has great big windows in the living room so I position my boys there for blowing out candles and then relocate back to the dining table to eat. We open presents in the living room too. My go to lens is my 24-70! I love that it allows me to capture the day with difference focal lengths – wide angle for the overall atmosphere and 70mm for more intimate moments.
Katie Woodard, Arizona
Learn to love your flash! We recently had a sleepover birthday party so I was able to capture some fun and silly moments at night using my flash.
Shey Detterline, Maryland
Dont forget to live in the moment and be involved in the photos yourself as well. Make sure to take a test shot to ensure proper exposure first, and then hand over the camera to a trusted friend or family member to make sure you are in some photos as well with the birthday child!
Kellie Bieser, Ohio
Have someone else take the pictures! I want my face to be a part of their memories…not stuck behind a camera. I would much rather be focused on my kids tearing into their presents and having fun with their friends than composing the shot or setting my white balance.
Kate Luber, Oklahoma
Interval timer. I have a Canon so you have to buy an extra piece of equipment to do it but it’s awesome. Put the camera on a tripod in the corner and forget it. Sure, you get more toasters than keepers but you’re in the shot and people forget the camera is even there.
Christy Johnson, North Carolina
Don’t forget to capture the details! In our Pinterest-crazed era, sometimes the dreaming, planning, and decorating is the most fun part. Make sure to document all your hard work so you and your child can relive all of the details and fun.
Amy Schuff, California
The thing I most want to photograph on my child’s birthday is their face when they blow out the birthday candles. It’s one of their most favorite parts of the entire party. This is a wonderful moment for photography too! Turn off the lights, let the candles be your guide and shoot their sweet giggly faces as everyone sings them Happy Birthday and they get to blow out their candles.
Lauren Sanderson, Alabama
I swap with a friend of mine who is also a local photographer. She photographs my kids’ parties and I photograph her’s. It makes everything so much less stressful and I get to celebrate the day being 100% present… and bonus, I’m actually in the pictures!!!
Willie Kers, The Netherlands
I don’t want to get stuck behind the camera and miss some great moments. So I always have my iPhone cam ready! With an olloclip attached to it, i still get some great shots full of memories!
Samantha Covert, Nova Scotia
I try to be as organized as possible the day of the party, and delegate as many tasks that I can so I’m not stuck running errands and not documenting the event. I take images of all the details before the party starts, and also try to get a few birthday portraits before the party as well…it takes the pressure off getting “perfect” pictures during the party, so I can enjoy myself, too.
Melissa Stottmann, Delaware
Don’t forget to get ALL of the guests in the photos! I like to go around and take a picture of each room as the party is happening. Sure, it might not be the best lighting conditions, but they are wonderful memories to have.
Lena Antaramian, New Jersey
Conversion to black and white! My kids birthday parties are generally in-doors with pretty bad lighting so I save myself a lot of time editing by converting most of the images to black and white.
Kristy Dooley, Vermont
Set realistic expectations. If I can get a handful of shots to remember the day I’m happy! Mostly I want my girls to remember that I was present at their birthday parties, not constantly behind the lens. Oh, and I definitely put the cake and gifts in good light!
Marie Masse, Michigan
Anticipate moments of emotions & expression with both your child & the guests. It’s a great time to capture interaction between your child & family members in attendance – thank you hugs, laughter over a new toy, maybe the other parent’s clear expression of pride & love too. Watch for natural reactions to the events – when your little one is blowing out the candles, after you grab that shot, turn to the guests to capture their smiles!
Lynn Taborga, Maryland
Have someone else host the party. No, but really, stay organized, have a plan and watch for the in between moments. Don’t be upset if you miss a shot because with your own child being in the moment is the most important.
Thanks to our CMpros for sharing with us! Do you have any great tips for photographing birthdays? We’d love to hear and don’t forget that we’re giving away prizes each day to a random blog commenter in celebration of Birthday Week. Today we’ll be drawing for someone to win a 1 year subscription to Click magazine so go ahead and comment to enter to win!