My son turned a year old a few months ago, and you already know, as a first time mama, I just HAD to make a big deal about it! Since photography is a major hobby of mine, I knew I was going to be the one taking his first year birthday photoshoot - which I have been excited about for a while. A lot of planning had to go into this shoot along with a lot of patience because taking photos of a toddler is anything but easy. However, looking back at his beautiful photos now reassures me that that every second of it was well worth it! Along with the photos, I've gained memories that will last a lifetime - something I would not trade for the world.
Below are steps on what I did to plan this 1st birthday photoshoot along with some photos from when he turned a year old!
I started planning for his first-year birthday photoshoot about a month before his birthday. I wanted to get inspiration for his outfit, location, and the setting of the shoot. Where was the easiest place to get quick inspo from and find similar ideas and photos? PINTEREST of course!
I was never really a heavy Pinterest user, but I seem to be using it more lately for overall inspiration. I searched “first-year birthday photoshoot” and pinned many ideas and images that were my style. After searching on Pinterest for a few days, I found what I wanted his first birthday photos to look like! I loved the vintage look and that’s what I aimed for.
TIME TO SHOP
The next task was to shop for all the items required. I wanted props that would help showcase a first birthday photoshoot in the photos. I headed towards Micheals to see if I can find items that would appeal to me. When I first walked in, I found a wooden rocking chair. I thought it would be perfect since my son could sit on it while I snapped photos of him. It was made of wood and wasn’t painted since its purpose was to be a DIY project. So I searched Amazon for a similar, already painted mini rocking chair and found this one! It took only a few minutes to put together and was a perfect size!
I also found large white letters in which I chose to spell out the word ONE and a white box to lean them against during the shoot!
I knew I wanted him to wear a formal suit for his one year birthday! It was important to me that the suit portrayed spring colors since his first birthday was at the end of April. After many weeks of searching for the perfect first birthday outfit, I finally found what I was looking for at Janie and Jack! (I just checked their website for the exact suit, but unfortunately, it has been sold out. Check their website for other clothing items though – they have the cutest and trendiest clothes for children!)
I knew I wanted white and blue balloons in the photos to indicate it was his birthday! I purchased good quality helium gallons from target along with a helium tank so I can fill them up 30 minutes before the shoot and didn’t inconvenience myself with having to drive to Party City to have them filled up.
PREPARE THE GEAR
I’ve been practicing photography for a while now and own a DSLR Camera. However, I wanted to test out different lenses I’ve been eyeing to purchase and thought what better opportunity than for his first birthday! I rented a lens from Lens Rentals and used it for the shoot! (I loved it so much that I ended up purchasing it a month after!). Also, make sure the camera battery is fully charged and you have a good quality SD card that is empty and preferably formatted. Also, take a few test shots before the actual birthday photo shoot and make sure everything works! The last thing you want is a dressed up toddler and a camera that’s failing on you!
THE BIRTHDAY PHOTOSHOOT DAY
- Firstly, I recommend having all the camera gear and props (except for the balloons) ready early in the day and placed beside the door for an easier departure when it comes time for the shoot. I don’t recommend blowing the balloons with helium until about 30 minutes before leaving for the shoot because they only last for about 3-4 hours and you want them to look their best in the photos!
- Second, try choosing a time in the day that works perfectly for your toddler. You don’t want to take a cranky toddler to wake photos, it won’t work well at all! Instead, try taking them out right after their nap and when they’re fully fed! This will result in a much happier toddler for his first-year shoot!
- Third, dress your toddler up, load the car, and head out! Once you reach your location, set up the birthday photoshoot scene and start snapping! My son kept getting distracted with the props and would hold and touch them, these made for some pretty cute photos though so I did not mind! It was difficult trying to get him to look at the camera, so I had my phone nearby and played some of his favorite songs near my camera lens to have him look in that direction! Also, the location I chose was a little private which I liked since I was jumping up and down calling his name! I was trying to do anything to get the photos I had in mind!
The birthday photoshoot lasted for one hour and ended with a picture of my son crying – he was tired of taking photos but even his crying was captured, and it’ll make one hell of a story one day!
This photoshoot wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it! Turning one year old was a big milestone for my baby and for this first time mama as well! I hope you enjoyed reading how our day went and how we attained these photos! I’ve uploaded some photos from the shoot below!
- Make sure to check the weather beforehand – I made this mistake and during the first attempt at this shoot, it poured on us. We had to take him back home, all dressed up, and attempt this all over again. Lesson learned!
- Pick the location for your photos beforehand. Even if you have to drive around earlier in the week, do so because it will be almost impossible to search for a location with your toddler in a suit in the backseat of your car! They will more than likely get cranky quicker this way!
As always, much love
Sincerely Mama Malak