First birthday photo session ideas!

July 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment





Planning your child's first birthday photo shoot is so much fun, and there are a ton of options! I decided to write a little blog about it to help you with narrowing down all those ideas you're probably overwhelmed with on Pinterest!  I do ask that you provide your own cake, and I suggest you test your child eating it before the session if possible in case of any food allergies.  I can provide balloons, but do have a fee to cover the costs of helium, or you can provide your own. Just be sure to inquire in advance to be sure I have helium in stock, and have time to make the balloon display on the day of your session before your arrival (or can schedule an assistant to do so).



A single giant balloon is a really simple and beautiful look! Adding some greenery or ivy to the string will help hold it down because a 36" balloon full of helium will be pulling upward with a lot of strength! You can use flowers, greenery, or ribbon too!



A neutral color scheme can be really beautiful and finding something timeless, like a handmade lace bib, can be all you need for the outfit!


If you have an outfit with a color scheme, such as pink and blue like the dress below, just let me know and I'll try to coordinate the balloons to match! 


I always like to do some photos before the cake smash too - of course! 




I also like a monochromatic color scheme for balloons! its fun, bold, and simple! 




I always do photos of the child with NO bday props (cake/balloons) in a first birthday session too.


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Don't forget ages 2 & up! I photograph children at many birthday milestones! And when photographing children year to year, I try to coordinate the colors from the years prior, so that you can hang the photos together from previous years and they will match nicely. Remember the first image in this blog at the top? That is my daughter, and below is her 2nd birthday photo. I wanted her dress for age 2 to match the bib from age 1 shoot, and the flowers in the background to match her headpiece.


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The color theme for the shoot below was simple white on white.  Her dress, balloons, backdrop and cake were all white, with a small pop of pink in the cake flowers and headpiece.  A simple, very easy to accomplish setup! 




And to carry on the white theme, I did some images of her on a white bed with a canopy and white pillows. 




For this shoot, a colorful spring look was the theme and no cake or balloons at all!


A completely bare, simple shoot is always beautiful. A way to capture expression without any distraction of clothing, hats or headpieces.


If you want to add a more personal touch to your smash cake session, custom cake toppers are a great addition! You can find them on etsy.


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This shoot was designed with the tutu, crown and pearls in mind. I wanted to keep the background all white for both floor and walls, and decided to spread the roses out in petals. Letting me know outfit choices in advance help me to plan out your session, what is needed, and what backgrounds to set up before your session.


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Outdoor is always an option too - just keep in mind that the wind will definitely affect the direction of the balloons! :)

One of my favorite ways to photograph children is simple, dark backgrounds and focus on their expression and adorable features. It is timeless and reminds me of a Gap or Calvin Klein ad in a magazine! 





Neutral backgrounds are beautiful, and allow for the color or outfit accessories to really pop.

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If a smash cake is not your style - go for a single, simple cupcake! :) 




Don't stop at ONE!!! Here are a few birthday photos from two & three! :) 


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I can't wait to photograph your little one for their big first birthday milestone! Here are a few more little tips to keep in mind. 


* Don't plan for the photos to be ready for your party invitations, they are much better utilized on thank you cards and turnaround will be easier for that as well. 

* If you want a photo from your session to be on display at the birthday party, inquire about timeline of delivery and if that is possible based on your session date and when the party is. 

* Remember that you are responsible for bringing any food items, and please be aware of any food allergies your child may have if you are giving cake for the first time. 

* Letting me know in advance of your session what you plan to have your child wear will be very helpful! Also if you have a theme/style/look that you want to capture, please don't hesitate to ask and request. 

* Family photos are always welcome in the first birthday photo shoot! this blog is dedicated to smash cake and single portraits of the children, but parents and siblings are welcome to join in. If bringing siblings, you will have to let me know if you also want single photos of the siblings. If so, the time dedicated to the one year old will be shortened to just a few singles and then smash cake, as opposed to a full session dedicated to just their photos. 

* Looking for an outfit? Try Etsy! There are some great outfits for both boys and girls. Just keep in mind, that it is very popular to get custom t-shirts made and outfits with phrases on them, but those tend to be very difficult to photograph. When you see a shirt laying flat in an online store that says "One in a melon" with a watermelon on it, you might want to click buy that instant! But remember that when that shirt goes on a one year old body with curves who is going to be constantly moving, you won't see all of those letters in every photo. You'll likely see half the letters in most photos. So i highly suggest outfits that are not word or phrase related. Instead, maybe consider a lace romper for girls or pair of suspenders with jeans or khakis for a boy. Keep it simple.  Also, I have some adorable one year old outfits in my studio, please inquire if you'd like to see what I have available! 


I am looking forward to capturing this photo shoot for you! Please don't hesitate to reach out with more questions! 














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