Children’s birthday parties are a source of great joy, freedom, and delight. Photographing this special time in their lives can give you creative fullfilment and provide your clients with invaluable memories, ones their child will treasure when they grow up.
As wonderful as parties may be, however, they’re not always easy to handle. Confusion, drama, and strangers combined can make you feel exhausted at the end of your shoot. Thankfully, the right kind of preparations and mindsets exist. These 10 handy tips will not only creatively fulfill you, but help you take delightfully joyful photos of a child’s special day. Let’s begin!
1. Recommended Settings
It goes without saying that your camera needs to be prepared beforehand. A few important settings to keep in mind are ISO and White Balance:
- The ISO number should be slightly increased to sharply capture movements (ISO 200-400 will work wonders in a relatively well-lit environment)
- A proper White Balance will keep your photos visually appealing and beautifully saturated. If you’re shooting indoors, be aware of the kind of light you’re be dealing with: is it too yellow, too cold, or just natural? Change your white balance according to these observations.
2. Lenses Worth Using
When it comes to portrait sessions of any kind, two types of lenses will provide you with the ideal creative flexibility: a telephoto lens and a prime lens. The former will allow you to take high-quality photos from a distance, while the latter will compel you to get closer to your subject. A telephoto lens will help you capture spontaneous moments, and a prime lens (such as the 50mm 1.8), will allow you to take intimate photos of details and expressions. Both are worth using during events like weddings, concerts, and birthday parties.
3. Embrace Pre-Birthday Tranquility
Everything is relatively quiet before the guests arrive. Take advantage of this by photographing the cake, location, and decorations. If possible, use this time to photograph the birthday boy/girl without being interrupted by their friends. Simple photos like this will be a pleasant addition to the action-filled photos you’ll take later on.
4. Experiment with Angles
Photographing from a variety of angles will give you more options to work with. Remember to take photos of details and surroundings – a combination of both will provide your clients with a fantastically diverse set of photos. Take photos from a stool, from the children’s point of view, and from where you stand. The possibilities are endless!
5. Get to Know the Guests
If you’re photographing a stranger’s birthday party, it’s likely that their young guests won’t feel entirely comfortable in your presence. To avoid awkward photos and shyness, introduce yourself to the children. Be involved in their games, tell them stories, and ask them questions. Your involvement will make them feel comfortable around you, giving you the perfect opportunity to take authentic and joyful photos of their personalities.
6. Memorize the Party Schedule
Being aware of the general birthday plan will keep you safe from confusion and misunderstandings. It will also help you come up with interesting concepts, ask your clients helpful questions, and make you feel at home. Even if the party doesn’t go as planned, at least you won’t feel completely out of place.
7. Shoot in Burst Mode
Thanks to today’s digital technology, burst mode is an exciting feature available in almost every camera. If you want to take lots of photos within seconds, switch to “continuous shooting mode.” This will enable you to capture a variety of expressions and movements, some of which may become your favorite shots.
8. Observe Relationships
The birthday child’s guests are cherished friends. Without intruding, observe their interactions and find sweet moments worth documenting. Make sure to capture photos of them with their closest family members, too. This will leave them with many heartwarming photos to swoon over in the future.
9. Photograph Festive Backgrounds and Foregrounds
To capture the true beauty of any celebration, it’s important to include festive details. Photographing your subjects through colorful objects will pleasantly frame your photos; including vibrant backgrounds in your portraits will capture the birthday atmosphere in a subtle yet effective way. These details will be noticed and cherished by your clients for years to come.
10. Enjoy the Event!
Just because this is your job doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy moments of tranquility or fun. Remember to take care of yourself, too. If you get tired, talk to the guests. A short break will restore your energy and give you fresh ideas. Most importantly, absorb the joy that children so generously give out – it will make you and your photos glow in the best way possible.