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Tips & Tricks to make your Photoshoot a success!

behind the scenes at a photoshoot

your little one's big day is approaching and you are feeling sentimental about how quickly time is passing, how fast your baby is growing, and how much they are changing before your very eyes. the only logical next step is to schedule a photoshoot to capture every little detail of your small child so that you can remember them at this stage for the ages!!! ...but alas, hiring a photographer is just not in the budget.

do not fret! i have full confidence that anyone (with a little planning & patience) can do a photoshoot in their own home. follow these simple TIPS & TRICKS for amazingly beautiful photos of your little one!!

1. planning!

gorgeous photoshoots don't just come together at the list minute. they take a bit of pre-planning. the more planning you do pre-shoot, the smoother things will go on the day-of. here are some things to think about:

  • When will the shoot take place? the morning of the party is NOT the best time to do a shoot, you will be stressed, in a rush, cleaning, running to the store, cooking, etc. try to plan your shoot 1-2 days before or after your party. in addition, think about nap schedules and what you have going on that day. try to schedule at least 2 hours so you are not in a rush and can enjoy your time together.

  • Where are you going to do the shoot? outdoors make for gorgeous photos, but if you are risk adverse..indoors are the best as it is warmer (kids are most comfortable & happy when warm). getting enough light is key, so keep an eye on when that room/area gets the most light. plan the shoot around this time and pick a wall that is not in direct sunlight, but has a nice & warm glow.

2. decorate!

sometimes the best photos have no added elements at all, the simplicity of a photo with just the child in it can be magical. If you decide to get decorations, it can add to the mood of the photo. Pick a colors that compliment each other but are not matchy-matchy.

here are a few ideas:

  • balloons! I dare you to put any child in a pile balloons - it is always a guaranteed good time, if you are looking for smiles, this is definitely the way to go.

  • mini balloons, oversized balloons, balloon walls, confetti balloons!

  • streamers can be hung in a variety of ways and is a great way to add some variation

  • fresh flowers are by far my favorite, they can help to tell the story about the season you are in and are such a nice way to add color to any photoshoot

  • a painted wall or wallpaper to add a pop of color

  • mom & dad's bed! if you love your bed/comforter/quilt and have nice decorative pillows, sometimes this makes a great backdrop

our favorite party online decor shop is oh happy day shop - Oh Happy Day Shop - the unique streamers and cutest mini balloons that you see in our photos are from this shop. the mini balloons are perfect for little hands and come in the largest assortment of colors. the shop is based out of san francisco, but they ship far & wide and our orders always arrive super quick.

3. clothing!

pick clothes that are comfortable, showcase the personality of your child, and compliment the color scheme you have chosen. Matchy-matchy is not ideal, but complimenting colors are great. if you want to capture any quickly disappearing rolls, pick an outfit with short sleeves and roll up those pants. a lot of parents try to pick out cute shoes, but nothing can beat a photo showcasing little piggies (toes!)

4. variety!

try to frame the shots so you end up with a variety of photos:

  • posed photos (encouraging them to laugh & smile)

  • natural photos (back off a little and watch the magic unfold when a child is able to relax and behave as they normally do - these are the moments you will want to remember)

  • different angles (straight on, from side, from top)

  • closeups (try to focus on baby's features - small toes, ears, hair, scrunched nose, etc)

  • siblings! (sibling interaction is always fun to capture however difficult as there is usually a lot of movement)

5. smash-cake!

smash cakes are GREAT, and make for some priceless photos. our oldest daughter (shown below) was hilarious and loved every second. our second daughter is a dainty eater and wanted nothing to do with the mess. regardless of their varied reactions, the best thing you can do is be prepared... grab a roll of paper towels and fill up the bathtub BEFORE the smashcake (you will thank me later) :-)


the most important element of any photoshoot is to keep it light and FUN!!! if the child is having fun, you will get the most natural and genuine smiles. when you look back at the photos, you want to fondly remember how much fun you guys during the shoot. no photo is worth getting stressed out about... always remember to keep it fun! :-)

would love to hear any recommendations you have for taking pictures of small children - leave me a note!

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