How to Photograph Parties

10 tips on how to photography birthday parties via Click it Up a Notch. #10 is so important!
It’s so much fun planning parties for our kids…we put so much into it that we must make it a priority to get it documented somehow! This has been on my mind today as I’m planning my baby’s SECOND BIRTHDAY! It’s a couple days away still so I’ll use pictures from his first birthday in this post. I am writing with advice based from my personal experience on how to photograph parties.
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10 tips on how to photograph parties

1. Make it a two part deal.
Take your child out for a special “birthday session” a different day. Parties are busy and when you’re the host you probably won’t be able to document the way you’d be able to if your hands weren’t so full!
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2. After you set aside a special time to photograph your child and document milestones, etc…let the party picture stress go by considering hiring someone to help take pictures.
If you are in business you can swap with a friend! If you aren’t a photographer you can barter another special talent that you have with a local photographer you know. Bartering works well for party pictures :)
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3. Don’t forget the details!
However teeny tiny they may be…invites, the food, the cake, the party hats or decor…etc.
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4. Document the guests.
This way they can remember who was there when they’re older and looking back at their pictures.

5. Capture the birthday boy or girl’s expressions and excitement.


6. Do cool things with cakes candles (lights off creates a dramatic feel when candles are lit).
We will do that this year! Last year my son was a little young for candles…

7. Think about perspective and get creative!
You can pull this off many ways (through composition, angle, lens choice). Obviously it depends on where the party is and what the circumstances are but typically my go-to party lens is my 35mm. I always change it up to get variety through out the party at least once and love to throw in a shot with my fish eye lens too just for fun :)

8. Remember to get in some of the pictures yourself.
I can’t tell you how many parties end and I wish I had been in a picture because I always wonder if my kids will think I wasn’t there when they look back on their party memories!

…I don’t have an example here because I don’t follow my own advice. Womp womp….

9. Create a book, album, or some type of keepsake to organize the birthdays through out the years.
There are so many different (and easy) ways to do this. Although I’d always wanted to create a picture album online after each party I never got around to it. I bought The Birthday Book online and it has helped me organize this information so much! And it only take a couple minutes after each party.

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10. Don’t forget to put your camera down and enjoy (or if you were able to pull off number 2 from above then maybe you were able to enjoy the whole party and let someone else do the work!).
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Here are the pictures from his actual birthday. Most of these I posted were from his pre-party picture session with me. I didn’t hire anyone and I wasn’t in any of the pictures but I did manage to snap a few quick shots for the memories. However you do it, document somehow…just make sure you have fun too!


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A Day in The Life of Kelly Garvey

What a perfect day to do a day in the life of post…a day when we weren’t running around like crazy doing the usual and we could move at a slower pace. Thank you Martin Luther King Jr for a day off of normal life :)


We started off by doing NOTHING! reading books, snuggling dogs, trying on weird hats per kids request, playing outside, playing “yeggos” (the little guy wants to be like his big brother so he walks around saying “yegooooos!” all day and has completely ditched the age appropriate legos for the little ones even though he doesn’t know what to do with them!).

It was a foggy but nice morning here in Houston so we went outside on a little walk. I will take any excuse I can get to get these random Hatley slippers on my boys…love them.

We need to go grocery shopping…so that coupled with the fact that I will take any excuse not to cook = DONUT SHOP! You will notice a theme through out our day…don’t judge! The diet starts tomorrow..oh and I will go get groceries then too :)

I decided to take the big and the little to Monkey Joe’s to JUMP! We used it as an awesome excuse to see some of our favorite people who are usually in school on Mondays – we love holidays :) Then lunch…

Miles nap time is the perfect time to hang out with Garrett…we made a new lego kit and uumm…those are not easy! I had a little hissy fit because the thing broke like 13 times after spending two hours putting it together and is no longer in working order. I vowed to never do another lego kit in my life – ha! Then I had to apologize for being a quitter and acting more immature than a five year old :)

We sort of fly by the seat of our pants. When Miles woke up I noticed the knot of mangled bed head and decided to run them in for haircuts before the place around the corner closed. I should have held out and gone to our usual legit place at the mall…because these haircuts are about the worst EVER. Holy scalped head! And bad lighting…
Oh well…hair grows.
Eeks it’s late now…daddy is home, haircuts done…still no food…out to eat for dinner it is.

At home we did baths and books…the usual!
So we aren’t too exciting or anything but thanks for looking!
I took the lazy route and used my 35mm lens the entire day. I thought about changing the lens out several times but decided to keep it simple. I really do like that lens though especially to achieve a lifestyle feel. In most cases I use the Expodisc to help achieve proper WB in tricky indoor lighting situations like the bounce house and the haircut place (although I accidentally forgot it at home in both cases, it would have been immensely helpful!). I like to use it in my house as well when I have it on hand.

**I am very bad about taking personal pictures so this exercise challenged me to put aside my usual inclination to leave the camera at home…because I usually don’t bring it around with me, it results in no pictures for weeks at a time. :( I’m glad to have done this exercise so it could help get me out of my no-shooting rut. I’m also happy to now have some of the things we do often documented through pictures. I challenge you to do this too if you are like me and tend to not take enough pictures of your own family.

Read more about photography projects:

- The Unexpected Everyday
- Project 365 or Project 52
- 14 photography projects

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