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Party Photography: Tips from a Pro

Party Photography: Tips from a Pro

My friend Christina is half of the amazing photography team Christina (plus) Nathan. Their photos are candid, flattering and generally amazing. Check out their website, and you’ll be convinced! Today, Christina has a post about how to get better birthday party photos – and the instructions are easy to follow, even if you’re lazy like me! 

Hello parents! If you aspire to take better photos of your birthdays, just consider me your photo-sensei. With these easy tips and advice, you too can become a ninja master (of birthday photography).


First Lesson: Check your Batteries and Card

Charge the batteries and erase the memory card ahead of time. Seriously, I can’t count how many special events I see the perfect moment unfolding in front of me, and my memory card is full or my battery dies.

Second Lesson: Cell Phones are Not Cameras

Cell phones have cameras, but they are not cameras. Ditch the blurry, grainy, small file sizes that can come with cell phone cameras, and pick up an actual camera.

You don’t need a large, expensive camera with a big old lens. If you take a DSLR and set it on automatic, it won’t take much better photos than a decent point and shoot. So go with whatever you have, but don’t buy a camera and try to learn the manual before a birthday – you have enough to worry about.



Third Lesson: Light it Up

When your party is outside, having the important moments, like blowing the candles out, opening gifts, or having a cake smash, choose an area with consistent shade. Things like bright sun or uneven light can ruin a perfect moment.

Alternately if you are indoors open all your curtains and shades and let in as much light as you can. Then select a spot with even bright light. If you can’t get it bright you will want to consider using your flash.

Fouth Lesson: To Flash or Not to Flash?

If you have a DSLR (one of those big fancy cameras), or a point and shoot, you can sometimes set the camera flash off. (If you don’t know how to do that, google it for your specific camera.)

Turning your flash off can make your photos look more natural. And it will work beautifully if you are outdoors in the shade, or in a very brightly lit room with even light. If you don’t have lots of light, you can end up with blurry photos – so do a test run if you plan on trying this out. If you want to play it safe, keep the flash as you normally have it.



Fifth Lesson: Go with the Flow

Don’t try to force a bunch of posed photos out of a hyped-on-sugar group of kids. The birthday should be about the birthday. Let it happen and get those candid moments, with a few posed close ups here and there.

Don’t be photo-annoying and stop the celebration every two seconds for a photo-op; If it’s fun they will smile, and when things don’t go perfectly, sometimes they become your favorite memories.

Sixth lesson: Focus on the People that Matter

Get some photos of all the people at the party, but remember you probably won’t remember a bunch of kids from preschool. In the end it’s all about the friends and family who are the closest to us, so get grandma with Suzy, get the people she will want to see.


Final lesson: Do Something With Them

Download the photos right away, and either print them, put them into a photobox, or make an album. Too many times these photos are lost in the shuffle and digital clutter of our lives.

You are well on your way to becoming a ninja master. Stay tuned for future tips and advice on how to incorporate photography fun into your next party.

This baby fell asleep eating cake! TOO CUTE FOR WORDS.

Yay! Thank you, Christina! You can find Christina (plus) Nathan on Facebook, at their blog, and on their website

If you are photo-challenged, I HIGHLY recommend hiring them for your party or family photos – in addition to being fantastic photographers, they are super nice people! In retrospect, I wish I’d hired them for my kids’ first birthdays – I was so concerned with getting great photos, I didn’t get to relax and enjoy the party. The families above are SO SMART.