Top 12 Tips for Photographing Birthdays

If there is an event in which we always use our digital camera, that is the celebration of a birthday party. It is one of those moments in which we take more or fewer photos, trying to collect those moments that we will see again and again.

In this article, we will tell you a series of simple techniques to get better photos on birthdays. Are you going to miss them?

And, who has ever missed the opportunity to take out the camera on the birthday of a family member or friend? It is one of those special occasions that we try not to overlook, taking our best snapshots.

But if you review the results of other birthdays, you will probably always see the same photos, and almost always the same mistakes. And just by spending a few minutes reflecting on these tips, you will be able to improve your technique and, with it, your results.

If it’s a child’s birthday party, be sure to also check out the article ” The Definitive Guide to Photographing Young Children .” It is sure to be of great use to you.

Appoint an official photographer for the party
First of all, if you are not going to take the photos yourself, appoint an “official photographer.” Someone must be responsible for taking the photos. Otherwise, you may find that the excitement of the moment causes no one to remember to take photos at the most critical moments of the party.

By assigning someone the responsibility of taking the photos, you will avoid the risk of missing out on this special event.

Check your equipment before leaving
If you are not going to be at home, or even if you are, do not forget to prepare your photographic material in advance.

Check the condition of the batteries, check that you have all the equipment you will need, and clean the camera lens well.

It is very unpleasant to arrive at the party and realize that you have forgotten something just when you need your camera the most.

In the article Basic Photographic Material for Travel, we review all the typical material that we may need for a trip. It will likely give you some clue about the checks you need to perform.

Use the children’s perspective
Children are very different in height from adults. To photograph them, it is preferable that, instead of taking the photos from your natural position, pointing your camera downwards, you bend over to be able to take the photos of the smallest children from their height.

With this you will be able to take much more natural photos, collecting the party from its point of view. You will see how this new approach gives your images an added touch of interest.

Play with different positions and focal lengths
The first of the positions is the one I just told you about; crouched at the same height as the child.

But don’t just take the photos from that position. Try from other angles and positions; Get on a chair to take photos from a height, get down on the ground, try different angles … The important thing is to shoot photos from different perspectives each time.

Also, try various focal lengths. Short focal points will allow you to get general perspectives of the site you are on, giving a lot of information about the site, while longer focal lengths will allow you to capture and isolate details more easily.

Adjust the white balance
If you are shooting in JPEG and it is photos in the interior of a room, either with flash or artificial light, do not forget to adjust the white balance before starting the party. You can use one of the preconfigured white balance modes that your camera brings, or you can adjust them manually using one of the methods that we have explained to you some time.

If your camera allows shooting in RAW format and you are using it, you don’t have to worry about setting it up. And is that the rear white balance adjustment is one of the many advantages of the RAW format over JPEG.

Look for the detail
Not every photo you take can be an overview of the party. It is usually a good idea to look for those small details that best represent a birthday party: the decorations, the candles on the cake, a gift, …

Don’t stop taking photos of those little details. They will also help you fondly remember that special day.

Use the bounce flash
If you are shooting indoors and plan to use flash, if possible, use bounce flash.

You will achieve more balanced lighting of the entire room while avoiding that the objects in the foreground are burned by the light.

In this article, we give you 5 Excellent Reasons to Buy an External Flash and in this other article, we explain 4 Different Ways to Bounce Flash Light.

Collect the naturalness of the moment
One of the keys to taking good photographs is trying to be inconspicuous when working with your camera.

Be natural and don’t force people to pose for you. Many people find it uncomfortable and end up forcing unnatural gestures.

It is much better if you take photos when people do not realize that you are photographing them. Your gestures will be much more natural in this way, so your photos will win in the final result.

Plan the photos
There are a series of very special photos on birthdays. The moment to extinguish the candles or when the gifts are received and opened are two moments that represent the magic of the birthday.

For this type of photo, whenever possible, you can do some preliminary tests to see what is the best distance, lighting, or configuration of your camera.

The moment of extinguishing the candles on the cake passes very quickly, and only by choosing a good location, lighting, and camera parameters will you achieve the desired result.

Take before and after photos
You can take some time before the birthday and after it is over to take certain photos. The details of the cake or decoration, the area where the party is going to be held, …

If you take those photos when everything is ready before the guests arrive, you will have more time and tranquility to be able to take, check and repeat those photos if necessary.

Nobody will know later if the photo in which you took the detail of the candles you took just before blowing the cake or you had taken it a while before.

There are other moments that you can collect as well, such as the arrival of the guests. If you take advantage of that moment, you will have photos of the whole world without having to burden them excessively.

Use burst shooting mode
Some moments last too short to be played on a single photo.

Using the burst shooting mode, as long as your camera allows it (check the manual; practically all cameras have this shooting mode) you can ensure a good shot by shooting several photos in a row.

This will avoid unpleasant blinks in which the guests can leave with their eyes closed.

Include adults in your photos
Although this type of party is very focused on children, do not miss the moment of also taking photos of adults alone or accompanied by children. You can have interesting memories with family or friends in those special moments.