The Ultimate Birthday Photography Checklist!

It was Jonah’s 4th birthday on June 1st and as I planned and considered each detail so carefully, I found myself looking back at photos of the boys’ previous birthdays to inspire me and reminisce on how adorable they were and how they’ve grown.

I would say that on the scale between the grandeur of Pinterest-esque super parties and sending them to Grandmas for a birthday tea, I am in the middle.  I love to organise some special bits and bobs (which ALWAYS spiral a bit out of control) but with a limited budget and working full time, I would say our parties are ‘modest’.  We get creative with decorations and get Granny and Grandma on board to help out with the party food, and Uncle Marcus is the DJ on the iPhone.

Regardless of the level of show you put on, it’s so important to enjoy every moment and for me, I want to capture the most special moments without constantly being behind the lens.

I’ve created a list of what I have found to be some of the most important moments on or around the time of your child’s birthday for you to use, modify or inspire you during this special time.

I’ve compiled a list of what I think make up the Ultimate checklist of Birthday photos, compiled from the boys’ previous birthdays.

That First Birthday Cake Smash

Ok, so this is super American and staged... but for Jonah I really wanted to mark the occasion with something special.  We didn't go all out and do a studio session, just outside in Grandma's garden, but I love the colours and his expressions.  Plus he looks absolutely delicious!

Pressies and Decorations

There is something really joyful about seeing unopened pressies.  I love the calm before the storm, when all my organising preparations are complete and all that is left is to enjoy.  You’ve got to capture that moment.

For Jonah’s 1st birthday I spent hours and hours preparing these little images of Jonah in party hats to decorate cupcakes, balloons and as bunting.  Sometimes these little details are appreciated but forgotten, so it’s nice to remember the effort put in (even if it’s just for your own satisfaction!)  Companies that we've used for decorations over the past couple of years are The Humble Hostess for some great themed and personalised decorations and The Original Party Bag Company and Bubblegum Balloons for balloons and other extras.

The 'Birthday Outfit'

There are so many shops on Instagram and Etsy that sell some seriously lovely t-shirts with numbers on which make a perfect birthday outfit.  We have been spoilt for choice and often have two outfits because one inevitably gets dirty.  The crown we have is from Little Red Fox, in the gorgeous Liberty print 'Queue for the Zoo,'  and I use if for both boys as a sort of tradition now.

Here's a few of Jonah's Birthday tees: Top Left - Button & Squirt, Top rights - Magnificent Stanley, Bottom Left - A Cute Thing

This is one of my favourite shots, it shows Jonah's outfits post-birthday and why we needed two!

This is one of my favourite shots, it shows Jonah's outfits post-birthday and why we needed two!

Family Chaos

I think it is the same for most people that before school age, your little babas don’t actually have any friends of their own, so party invites mainly go out to cousins and close family.  It’s actually the only time that the clan are able to get themselves all together and I love taking the opportunity to capture them all together because it’s ALWAYS chaotic and they all grow so quickly that they are different in every photo!

The Birthday Cake

Whether you buy or make your little one's birthday cake, you will want to get a shot of it before it is gobbled up/smashed into a pulp but those squidgy little fists.

The ‘Spread’

This phrase has become a bit of a joke that I've heard thrown around lately, but I do love a spread.  I like the idea of looking back at what party food we had to celebrate, I mean, you put in the effort to create a lovely spread, you want to record it for generations to come!

With Mummy and Daddy

Don't forget to take a moment in the madness to get out from behind the camera and show people that you were there too!

Candid Love 

Lastly, I love these candid shots of family like my sister Allyson (below) sharing this moment with one of the boys.  We don't get to see each other very often but she and my Mum and Dad always make the effort to come and celebrate the boys birthdays with us.  The love for Ally in Winter's eyes here is just the best.

I think I've covered enough to give you a bit of inspiration and at least start the ball rolling for your photography checklist.  If you enjoy our photos, please come and follow us over on Instagram @mywinterandjonah ! Thanks for stopping by!