As a parent with a grown child, I look back on the images of my daughter’s childhood and realize there were so many important moments I wasn’t able to capture. And as much as I wish I could, I can’t go back in time and take those missing shots. So I’m hoping to offer my experiences, both as a professional photographer and as a mom, to guide you through some important photos to capture at your child’s birthday parties throughout the years. Taking my own advice, here’s a recap video I made with photos taken at a recent party, where my cousin’s adorable son celebrated his sixth birthday.
You might be wondering why I’m including decor, but considering how much time, effort, and money you’ve probably spent on making sure that the party looks festive—everything from balloons to streamers to matching napkins and plates—you’ll want to remember the details. And for parents of young kids who go all out on a themed party, it’ll be fun to see how everything came together.
While the child might think that gifts are the best part of the day, we as adults know that it’s the company that makes a birthday special. So make sure to capture the people who helped celebrate your child’s birthday. My daughter was lucky enough to have her great-grandparents at every one of her parties until they passed, and yet I don’t have any photos of them—something I regret to this day. Funny enough, because I was always the one photographing my daughter’s birthday parties, I look back and realize that I’m not in any of the photos, either! So if you charge one parent with photography duty for the day, don’t forget to include that person in at least some of the photos. Better yet, ask a good friend to take over photographing duties for the day.
Whether you have planned activities or not, there will be plenty of great opportunities to capture kids laughing, playing, and just having fun. After all, that’s what parties are all about. Group shots, solo shots, posed, and candid—it’s nice to have a mix of images at the end of the party, so click away.
Every child revels in the moment they open up gifts. This is a great opportunity to catch some really genuine responses of your child on video. You probably don’t need a video clip of them opening every gift, but a few moments of excitement will go a long way towards documenting a day of joy.
Images of your child blowing out the candles on their cake is one of those priceless memories you won’t want to forget. It’s another great moment to capture on video as well.
As I look back on my daughter’s youth, I realize that the years passed quicker than you can blow out the candles on a birthday cake. At the end of the day, the most important advice I can give as a mom is this: enjoy the party by being in the moment (and assign someone else to be the designated photographer). And as a photographer, my advice is to take more photos than you think you’ll need, whether that’s for a video you’re putting together afterwards, or for an album. After all, you can always pare down your photos, but you can’t ever go back and take more.
I’d love to see how these tips help you. If you have a birthday video you’re proud of, share it with me in the comments below.