Your baby is turning one.

This is a huge milestone for them and you! Here are 10 tips and shots that will help you document that very special day.

And as a side note, I used mostly my Canon 35 f/1.4 L lens on these images.

1. Party prep

You have spent hours thinking about colors, a theme, and all the little details for the party. Don’t forget to capture them. The cake and any other little tabletop decorations should get photographed. Having these images are also a nice way to add visual interest to a photo book or keepsake from the party. I recommend spending a few minutes capturing these details before your guests arrive.

birthday cupcakes by Kristin Dokoza
party table with balloons by Kristin Dokoza
elephant mask for birthday party by Kristin Dokoza
glittery birthday party hat by Kristin Dokoza

2. Your guests

Take some time to walk around and observe the party. Your guests are there to help you celebrate. You could either ask groups of people to pose for you, or step back and capture unplanned moments. This is also a great time to get some portraits of your little one’s friends. A cute idea would be to include pictures from the party when you send out thank you notes.

son sitting on moms lap by Kristin Dokoza
child holding parent hand by Kristin Dokoza

3. The gifts!

I especially love to find a handwritten note from guests. I think having these images are not only a nice reminder of the day, but having their name photographed also adds a little personalized touch to the day.

stack of birthday presents by Kristin Dokoza

4. Find the light

Many times party venues have overhead fluorescent lighting. This can wreak havoc on your white balance. Don’t be afraid to set up styled shots by using available natural light. Play with your aperture. By shooting wide open, f/1.8 or f/2.0 you can create a sense of depth and the background will become an added texture to the composition.

photo of birthday cupcakes by Kristin Dokoza
birthday cake for one year old by Kristin Dokoza

5. The cake!

This is the finale to your party. Birthday cake is the best! Don’t forget to get all the detail shots before singing Happy Birthday to your little one.

birthday girl with cake by Kristin Dokoza
happy birthday candles by Kristin Dokoza

6. Happy Birthday to you

I adore everyone gathering around and singing Happy Birthday. If you can, pass the camera off to a friend or family member. This can be a great time to get a family shot. It’s fun to catch the making a wish, and blowing out the candle. Most toddlers don’t have that concept down yet, but that doesn’t stop their loved ones from helping to make sure their wish comes true.

play-do mess by Kristin Dokoza

7. Let them eat cake!

Oh, there is nothing cuter than a little one year old digging their hands into the cake and frosting. If it gets in their hair? Even better.

child eating birthday cake by Kristin Dokoza
happy birthday girl covered in cake by Kristin Dokoza

8. Get in close

I’ll spend a few minutes with the guest of honor and just capture their little hands, messy mouths and their reactions to the cake. Sometimes they love it, sometimes they are not quite sure what to think. Either way, their faces and expressions are priceless.

cake covered fingers by Kristin Dokoza
boy eating birthday cake by Kristin Dokoza
birthday boy with cake by Kristin Dokoza

9. You were there too

If you don’t remember to get all of these shots, of course while being the hostess with the mostess. You must remember to hand over your camera and get in the picture with your Birthday baby.

mom hugging birthday girl by Kristin Dokoza
birthday girl with family by Kristin Dokoza

10. The clean up

The party mess is never fun, but it can be a fun idea to photograph the aftermath. Not to mention it can be a task to try and get photos of all the party activities. Before cleaning up, this is your chance to walk around the space to see if there are any photos that would help tell the story of how the day went.

play-do mess by Kristin Dokoza
birthday party favors by Kristin Dokoza

I know it can be exhausting trying to entertain your guests, and make sure your child is having a fun time. Of course we all want the photos to remember the special day, but it is most important to be in the moment and just enjoy your sweet baby turning one.

Your baby is turning one. This is a huge milestone for them and you! Learn how to photograph their first birthday with these helpful tips.

Giveaway Update! (this giveaway is now closed)

Congratulations to Ali who said, “These are adorable! Great tips!” Email us to claim your prize your generous prize from Click magazine.