Planning a First Birthday Photo Session


Choosing a Theme

First Birthday photo sessions require a bit of thought and planning so it's never too early to book these and get the process started. Both of my First Birthday session options include a themed set that you choose (when I saw "set" I mean a backdrop and decorations) and a cake that baby gets to smash at the very end. The first thing I'll need you to decide on is the theme for the birthday set. Even better if you already know the theme you want to do and mention it in your initial message to me. It's ok if you don't know the theme when you book but I do prefer knowing the theme at least a month before the session date so that I have plenty of time to order the cake and get balloons and other decorations if needed.


The theme you choose can be anything, but if it requires a lot of props that I don't already have then I'll ask you to help by bringing some items in. Most of the time this isn't necessary though, especially if you pick a theme I've already done before. If you choose a theme I haven't done I just ask that you be very specific in letting me know what you want. Sending example photos and a photo of the outfit you plan on having baby wear helps.


I've done many themes in the past and I have an album on my fb page that shows most of them. I recommend looking through that album first to see if anything catches your eye. You can see that album here. If you find one you like just screen shot and send to me. Most of the sets can be customized and changed. For example, lets say you like one set that uses a bunch of flowers and you like the look of everything but want to change the color of the flowers, or add in a second color of flowers. I can add, subtract or change specific things to your liking. Just let me know ahead of time.


Choosing Additional Backdrops

Once you have the theme set you'll need to start thinking of the other backdrops you get with your session. If you're doing the Mini First Birthday Session you get to choose one additional backdrop for some traditional portraits before we do birthday photos. If you're doing the Deluxe First Birthday Session then you get to choose 2 additional backdrops. These backdrops can be found in a folder on my facebook page here. The first 17 backdrops in that folder are large enough for families. The rest are child sized. You can take your time deciding on these backdrops. I just ask that you let me know which ones you want at least 3 days before your session.


If the outfits you choose to have baby in has a pattern or multiple colors in it then it's best to go with a more simple backdrop like a solid color or wood, stone, etc. I have a bunch of solid colored and neutral backdrops that are great for busier outfits. I also have a lot of backdrops that are busier and patterned, especially floral backdrops so if you like one of those then having a solid colored outfit will look best. If you need help choosing backdrops you can send me photos of the outfits you want to use and I can send backdrop recommendations.


Other Helpful Tips

Most babies do best for their sessions in the mornings. It's best to schedule at a time your baby is generally happiest. Most of the time I can accommodate any time you need so just let me know what time is best for you. If baby ends up changing their sleep schedule right before your session date we can always change the time of your session if we need to.


A lot of parents like the idea of letting baby have their first taste of sugar when they get their cake for their First Birthday session, and thats ok, but just keep in mind that a lot of babies don't like that first taste of sugar and wont actually eat any more of the cake. It happens all the time and I get a lot of disappointed parents when baby wants nothing to do with the cake at that point. If you want baby to eat the cake then I recommend giving them frosting at least once, if not more, before you come in. It doesn't have to be a lot, just a little spoon with some frosting on it so that they can get used to the taste. Another thing that happens a lot is baby will refuse to touch the cake if they aren't used to getting their hands messy/sticky. If you have a baby that doesn't like food on their hands you can always try to get them used to the feeling for a few weeks before you come in.


Lastly, most 1 year olds do pretty good for their sessions and we're able to get lots of smiles but some babies are a little more shy and hesitant to warm up. I have a bunch of things I can do to get them comfortable and smiling but sometimes it's only mom and dad that can get baby to smile. Don't be afraid to be silly and make weird noises if you know it gets smiles. Try to make a mental list of some things you can try if baby isn't interested in interacting with me. Musical and light up toys, noise makers, funny sounds, songs you can sing, and music you can play on your phone are all things we do to try to bring out smiles. Sometimes even these things don't work though so at that point we just go with it and embrace the serious side of your little one.