Whether you're celebrating a one-year-old or a 100-year-old, birthdays are pretty much the perfect time to take some great photos. We're got tons of awesome birthday photoshoot ideas for all ages, covering everything from candid moments to posed pictures. Another trip around the sun is definitely special, and your photos will be too.
You don't have to be a professional photographer to get these shots, either. If you have a phone camera or DSLR, we have the pro tips you need to make your pictures a success.
Shoot Your Birthday Photos Through Balloons
Balloons go with birthdays the way sprinkles go with ice cream, so make sure you get some balloons in your pictures. For a super creative and fun birthday photoshoot idea, put a few balloons between you and the birthday person. Shoot through and between them!
Pose With Your People
The best thing about birthdays is that we get to share them with our people. Take a few minutes to pose with the people who matter most to you. Get cozier than you might normally, since closer poses always look better in pictures. You don't need to do anything fancy - posed pictures at the dinner table or by the cake are simple and stunning.
Get Pets Involved in Your Birthday Photoshoot
People aren't the only ones who celebrate at these events, so be sure to include your pet in a few birthday photos. Bonus points if you can get Fluffy to wear a crown for a few minutes!
When you're taking pictures with pets, snap quickly and get as many as you can. Try to keep the shutter speed to at least 1/125 seconds if possible, since that will freeze most motion.
Throw Some Confetti
Need some winning birthday photos for Instagram? That's where the confetti comes in. There's just something about the falling sparkles that makes any birthday picture magical. This is another situation where it's nice to take a lot (and we mean A LOT) of pictures so you get some that you really love with the confetti falling just right.
Capture the Birthday Person Blowing Out the Candles
The moment of blowing out the candles is kind of a big deal at any birthday party, and it's one of the best photos you can get. It doesn't matter how old the birthday person is - this is guaranteed to be charming. Turn off all the other lights in the room for this so the candles light the person's face. Oh, and take a ton because this moment passes quickly.
If the cake has number candles, they'll be backward when you take the picture from the other side. Pro tip: Flip the photo after you take it.
Take the Ultimate Cake Group Photo
While one person blowing out the candle makes a truly awesome pic, it's even better if they have a little help from their friends. This is a tricky photo to pose, but it looks amazing (once again, take a ton of them). Ask everyone to move in super close and lean in to "help" with the candles and then start snapping. Trust us. You'll love this enough to do it every year.
Light a Few Sparklers
Candles are amazing, and you can take that whole safely glowing fire thing to the next level with sparklers. This is super fun for a teen birthday, but it also works beautifully as a birthday photoshoot idea for adults of any age. Just have the birthday person hold a cupcake and light the sparklers off of it.
Get Your Birthday Friend Photo On
Find a simple background like a pretty wall or bush, get a few balloons, and lean in. Friends are a big part of birthday parties, no matter how old you are. They deserve a photo that's all their own.
If you don't have a simple background for your friend photo, just hang a pretty colored sheet. Choose a spot that's not super bright or super dark so everyone is lit evenly and there are no weird shadows on people's eyes (think under a big tree or next to a large window).
Focus on the Cake in Some Shots
Most birthday picture ideas are all about the people, but the cake is pretty important too. You can get a photo of the cake by itself, but it's even more fun if you focus on the cake and have people out of focus behind it. That way, you get the feel of the party!
Get Some Photos Before the Gifts
There's a certain amount of anticipation before you give someone a present, especially if you chose it carefully and know they will love it. This simple photoshoot idea just has the present behind the giver's back with the birthday person waiting in the background. Like the cake photo, it helps tell the story of the birthday party.
Show the Love That's Part of the Gift
It's the thought that counts, right? Show the love that goes into giving and receiving a birthday gift by taking a photo of people hugging or kissing during the exchange. Emotion is the most important thing here. Let people know you want them to show their love.
Capture Their Reaction to Birthday Gifts
Some gifts just elicit a pretty great reaction. Whether it's an adult receiving jewelry or a kid getting that Lego or Barbie they've been wanting forever, start snapping as soon as they start ripping off the wrapping paper. The more photos you take of the gift opening, the better your chances of getting one that really shows their joyful reaction.
Get Silly With Birthday Photoshoot Props
Not all birthday photos need to be serious. In fact, it's fun to bring in some silly hats, glasses, and other props to let party guests get goofy for the camera. This works best outside or in front of a simple background. You can even make it one of the birthday party activities.
Don't Let the Guest of Honor Take Themselves Too Seriously
No matter how old the guest of honor is, make sure you get some photos of them that aren't too serious. These may end up being some of your favorite pictures. Worried they'll be too self-conscious? Break out a hilarious birthday hat or sunglasses to encourage silliness.
Pose the Birthday Person With Siblings
We tend to see our age in relation to our siblings, so if the guest of honor has any siblings present, grab some shots of them together. This is wonderful with kids and even better with adults. Pose them on a front porch or couch where they can sit in a line, and don't forget to add birthday hats.
Get a Group Shot From Above the Birthday Party
For a non-traditional take on the standard party photo, try shooting the whole group from above. You can do this from an upstairs window or balcony (or if you have a photography drone, this could be a perfect chance to break it out). No need to have anyone look at the camera for this part of the birthday photoshoot; it's even cooler when the birds-eye-view shot feels candid.
Remember to Photograph the Piñata (Before and After)
If you have a piñata at the party, it's basically the best excuse for a birthday photo series. Start taking photos before people start taking swings at it, though. It's never going to look as nice as it does right now. Grab shots of people trying to hit it as well as of the moment it breaks open.
Leave Lots of Room for Candid Photos
Posed pictures are awesome; don't get us wrong. The thing is, it's the candids you will probably love the most. Roam around the party with your camera, shooting tons of photos of people just having a great time together. Try to capture the interactions and the way people care about each other. There are a few moments that are ideal for candids, including the delivery of the birthday cake to the table and everyone singing.
Use the Cake Candles for Light
Even if you don't actually include the cake in the photo, you can use the light from the candles to illuminate everyone's faces. Candlelight is magic, and everyone will be looking right at it. If the cake is in the picture, it becomes the brightest and most eye-catching part of the photo. If it's just outside the frame, it's just a hint of the celebration that's happening.
Grab Some Wide-Angle Birthday Photos
One of the birthday photoshoot ideas you absolutely have to try is taking some wide-angle photos. Your phone has a wide-angle lens, so this is really easy. The thing that's great about wide angles is that they let you get close to one thing or group of people while showing the scene around them, too.
Don't get super, super close if you're shooting a portrait with a wide-angle lens because it can distort the features of the people. Also, take the shot from a little above eye level for the most flattering results.
Show How You Celebrate Your Way
Not having the standard birthday party? This is all the more reason to have a photoshoot. Record how you're celebrating the special evening, whether that's by blowing out your candles next to a campfire or toasting the sunset from your favorite scenic turnout.
If you're shooting photos when it's getting dark, place the camera on a stable surface and try to hold still. The shutter speed may be a little slower, so this helps keep things sharp.
Embrace the Romance in Birthday Photos
Birthdays aren't just milestones for individual people. They're also important moments in romantic relationships. Capture the love between two people by asking them to kiss when opening a gift or blowing out the candles. You'll end up with a romantic birthday photo that's perfect for sharing on Instagram or anywhere else.
Capture the Fun in Pictures
Birthdays are really all about fun, and your best photos will show that. If you're shooting birthday photos of kids, have them do piggyback rides, make goofy faces, or try to all jump at the same time. Get ready to shoot a lot of pictures so you can capture them having a great time together.
Get Ready for Some Action Shots
And speaking of being ready to take a ton of photos, don't forget to include some action shots in your photoshoot. One great option is to have everyone run straight at the camera while you take pictures. This is ideal for kids (ready to burn off that sugar rush from the cake?).
Get the Whole Group in the Pictures
No birthday photoshoot is complete without the group shot. Center the birthday person and have everyone else squeeze in around them. Remind them that if they can't see the camera well, it can't see them either.
This is another time when you need to take a lot of shots. The more people you have in the photo, the higher the chance of someone blinking. If you take a lot, you'll have one where everyone's eyes are open.
Make Your Birthday Photoshoot All About Love and Joy
No matter which birthday photoshoot ideas you include, the key is also including love and joy. These emotions make birthday pictures special, and they're why you'll love the photos you take. You may find you get your best pictures toward the end of the party when everyone is relaxed and used to you snapping photos, so keep your camera out and keep shooting.
Ready to take pics of your one-year-old on their special day? Try our sweet first birthday photo ideas.