Thanks to Pinterest there’s a lot of pressure for the ‘perfect’ first birthday celebration but more often than not, things don’t exactly work out how you planned.  If you want memorable birthday photos of your little one at any age, read on!

1.  Don’t forget about the other birthdays!  Special birthday photos are not just for first birthdays.  I have more and more clients coming to me each year for photography sessions on their child’s second, third, fourth, and fifth birthday.  You don’t have to book a session to have beautiful memories of your little one on their special day but it’s important to remember that, unlike the first birthday, they are more likely to remember what happens on their subsequent birthdays, which can make photos even more special. 


ottawa birthday photos

2.  Family historian.  A birthday is a fantastic time to take photos of your child’s favourite activities, interests, and foods.  Look back over the past 3-6 months and gather up their favourite toys, books, outfits, and treats, for birthday photos that will be meaningful for your whole family for years to come.  We love looking back at photos and reminiscing about the boys’ obsessions with puff cereal, Thomas the train, and those ratty t-shirts that disintegrated after being worn 100 times.

ottawa birthday photography session

3.  Cake is overrated.  I have photographed thousands of sessions and hundreds of birthday sessions and I can tell you, with confidence, that most one year olds have no interest in cake.  Most babies are far more interested in cuddling with their parents, playing with favourite toys, and enjoying their favourite snack, than they are in eating a strange brightly coloured confection off the floor.  When you’re planning for birthday photos that involve food, make sure you take your child’s temperament and favourite foods into consideration.  They might prefer photos with fruit, yogurt, or even hummus!  The most important thing is to capture photos of their facial expressions and personality and that’s much more likely to happen if you choose to celebrate with something they love.  If it’s really important that you have photos of your child exploring their cake, be prepared to get messy.  They will be a lot braver and curious if you explore their cake with them so make sure there is another friend or family member on hand to take your photos.    

ottawa birthday photography

4.  Pick another day.  If you want special photos of your child on their birthday, I recommend taking them on another day.  Choose a time of day when they are at their happiest and when the celebrations for their special day won’t overwhelm them.  It’s also easier to have them wear different outfits and pose with different props if there aren’t a lot of people watching or they aren’t tired from their party.  

ottawa child photographer

5. What to ask yourself.  What do you want to remember?  While Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration, I find it often leads to more disappointment than beautiful memories when it comes to planning birthday photos.  Ask yourself what you want to remember about this age and stage in your child’s development in five, ten, or even twenty years?  I find that is the best guide when it comes to choosing birthday activities to photograph, special outfits, and even props that you want to incorporate into the photos you take of your child.  

Ottawa Birthday Photography Sessions