with Courtney Slazinik
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!


  • March 21, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Great tips! I love birthday party pictures and I always make sure to get pictures of all the small details – but some other great tips in here! I’ll be pinning to refresh my memory in June before my daughter’s 4th bday.

  • March 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    Great tips! specially number 8 for me… Usually I’m not in our birthday’s pictures (or holidays too) :D

  • March 22, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    I think the most important tip is to get in some of the pictures. I have very little photos of me from past birthdays, because I was always the photographer. And if anyone is looking for a really cool birthday theme for a little girl, have a look at Lily Rose’s birthday. I want a little girl just to have this party!! http://www.miamorphotography.com.au/2/post/2013/10/lily-roses-minnie-mouse-partyy.html

  • Debbie
    March 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Kelly, whats your favorite lens? And what lens is on your camera most of the time? :)

  • Holli
    May 20, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Thanks for the ideas! Do you have any posts that talk about birthday sessions in general? (Not the party session, but the “2 year old” session, etc.)? My friend wants me to do some 2 year old pictures for her little girl, but I feel like I don’t have ideas of what to actually do with her. I did some with my son a month ago, but I still feel like I need some direction on good ideas…

  • Alina Thomas
    March 30, 2015 at 2:53 AM

    How precious! My little one turned one this weekend and I had so much fun documenting his birthday.

  • Stacy Kim
    December 18, 2016 at 1:23 AM

    Really great tips! But in general, for any festive occasion, things to consider are to not get in the way, and generally look for any happy moments. This article I found is a really good supplement to the one above:

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