There is no cuter, milestone-packed age than when a baby turns one.
One year-olds are naturally curious. Their personalities are just starting to shine through. Their adorable expressions and natural reactions make first birthday photo shoots an absolute blast.
Although photographing little boys and little girls can be so much fun, it can also be extremely challenging to capture the perfect shot since children are so unpredictable.
However, when photographing children of any age, you will get the best results if you come prepared for this exciting time.
Whether you are a professional photographer or trying a DIY baby photoshoot, these simple tips will help you get cute pictures of this special moment in time.
Related: Tips for Newborn Photography
First Birthday Photo Ideas
There are so many special milestone during your babies first year of life.
While the monthly baby pictures are a great way to capture your little bundle of joy, there is something extra special about the first birthday pictures.
1) Choosing a Location or Backdrop
Depending on where you live and what the weather is like, you have a few options here.
Outdoor pictures are my first choice, hands down. Even if you don’t have a park or special location nearby, your backyard will usually do the trick. This picture was taken in the subjects backyard. Practically no editing was needed in this picture.
Based on the weather or the time of year, you may have to move the photo shoot inside. Luckily, there are a ton of indoor options for first birthday pictures. Two of my children were born in the winter, so we did their pictures in our home.
You have two options when it comes to indoor pictures. First, you can use any existing location in your home. Is there a cute spot in your child’s nursery? Do you have a bright play room that would look cute?
Another easy and affordable option is to set up an in-home studio. With little effort, you can create a professional looking set up for a baby or family portrait.
What you need:
Backdrops are sheets of material (paper, vinyl, or cloth) that you would hang behind the subject as a background. There are plenty of beautiful options to pick from, and it is really fun to pick out what you want. Take a look at some of these options and read the reviews:
Support System– This is the system that holds up the backdrop. They take about 5 minutes to assemble and are easy to take down and store.
For the floor, you can use soft blankets or a wood backdrop.
2) Outfits and Accessories
For props and outfits, you can really use your creativity here. Picking a cute outfit is easy.
For girls, I love soft bows, pearls, and frills. I like to keep different color bows handy for these pictures.
There are some adorable outfits that you can find on Amazon and Etsy also!
There are equally adorable boy outfits. You can add a bow tie for extra flare on a baby boy:
3) Adding in Props
Adding props to your photos can serve two purposes.
First, it can add an pleasing element to the picture. Secondly (and most importantly), it can distract a baby who is either ready to run or is a little apprehensive about the whole experience.
Some props include the number “1”, colorful balloons, a letter board, favorite stuffed animal such as teddy bears, and (everyone’s favorite) a first birthday cake.
You can spell out the baby’s name in balloons or order a birthday crown.
Here are some great options:
Quick tip: Save a piece of cake from the baby’s birthday party for a smash cake picture.
4) Don’t Forget to Get Your Camera Set up
The last thing you want is for a baby to be ready for the photoshoot and you are stuck fiddling with your camera settings.
I always recommend using manual mode. If you are not ready for that yet, check out this photography tutorial. Here are a few quick tips:
- Have a fast shutter speed – this will avoid movement blur
- Lower your F-stop to have a wide aperture – this will allow for background blur
- Make sure your focus point is in the right spot (on the baby’s face unless you are trying to focus somewhere else
I have a lot of free articles and tutorials on photography. Don’t miss them!
5) Simple Tricks to Get Baby to Smile
It’s a great idea to have a chat with the parents of baby first to understand what the baby likes.
You want to make the little one feel comfortable, and all children are different. Some children laugh at loud noises, while others might be frightened.
The important thing is that you want the baby to be in a good mood. Try one of these things:
- Make a funny face
- Do a puppet show
- Play peak-a-boo
- Tickle their feet with a feather
- Show them their favorite toy
Quick tip: make sure to get on the baby’s level for different angles.
Remember, you are photographing a baby. There is a good chance something unpredictable could happen. Roll with it. The photo shoots with sad pouts, serious expressions, or sitting on mommy’s lap will still produce great memories
These easy tips will help you capture priceless family photos of these little munchkins.
Even if you don’t get big smiles, you can capture some great pictures with any first birthday session. Don’t make a big deal out of an upset baby. Sometimes the most beautiful pictures are of natural expressions.
The fun is hidden in the little details. Get a close up of the babies toes covered in icing. Snap a picture of them awkwardly trying to walk.
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