Are you a little jealous of those great photos other people share from their kids’ birthday parties?
It can be tough to snap a picture at home without something or someone photobombing the scene. Imagine capturing that perfect smile only to discover grandma’s keister in the shot. Sigh.
With a little planning, you can say good-bye to lousy pictures by creating a kid’s birthday photo booth. I am lucky enough to work with experienced, professional photographers who were happy to share their tips:
1. Birthday backdrop ideas
You can create a DIY birthday backdrop with a bedsheet, curtain or any type of material that adds color and a theme to your photo booth. Fairy lights, crumpled tin foil, balloons and streamers can add flare and texture.
Customized banners are a good choice if you’re short on time, materials and creativity. Our experts at Totally Promotional recommend 13 oz. vinyl banners for indoor and short-term outdoor use. Sizes range from 2-feet-by-4-feet to 6-feet-by-10-feet. We also offer polyester fabric banners in many sizes.
What to avoid: Busy background designs can clash with some clothing choices. Neon colors can fade into a background setting.
2. What to wear
Dress your child in clothes that fit. Saggy, oversized apparel looks sloppy. Select clothing your kids love and are comfortable wearing. Have a spare change of clothing ready just in case.
What to avoid: Don’t choose clothes with logos or text. This can be distracting in photos.
3. Posing your subject
Give the birthday boy or girl — and anyone else you place in the photo booth — something to do. The more candid the shot, the more natural everyone will appear. Ideas: Have your subject blow out birthday candles, eat birthday cake, open a gift or just make a goofy face.
What to avoid: Don’t ask kids (or adults) to pose in ways that may embarrass them or make them feel uncomfortable.
4. Choosing props
This is where you can drive home your birthday party theme. Tiaras, princess slippers and even a large Cinderella carriage make excellent props for a princess party. Pennants, soft bats, balls and baseball hats are a must for a little slugger theme. You get the picture! (Pun intended)
Party horns and party blowers are often all that is needed to keep a child happy and distracted while you snap a few great photos!
What to avoid: Never use sharp objects or anything that could cause injury. Do not use small objects that could be swallowed by small children. Keep all props age-appropriate.
5. Getting kids to cooperate
Your biggest challenge may be changing a grumpy kid into a happy child. But don’t give up! Try letting him or her blow bubbles. Sometimes it’s best to get a sibling, friend or a parent in the photo to share the spotlight. If you don’t mind the mess, let the child throw confetti in the air. It really does make great photos! As a last resort, bribery usually works. Our experts recommend Smarties for age-appropriate children.
What to avoid: Don’t yell or show disappointment if your child isn’t cooperating; it just makes it worse. Do not bribe kids with chocolate. It’s messy and can stick to teeth.
6. Camera tips
Keep your camera level with the child’s face. This will create a more natural-looking appearance. It also makes a child feel more comfortable when you get down on their level.
Unless you have excellent photography skills, you may want to select the portrait mode on your camera. This will slightly blur the background and focus on the person or people in the foreground.
If you’re not comfortable with the settings on your camera, choose the “auto” option. Your camera will automatically select the correct shutter speed, aperture and ISO for your scene.
Set up your photo booth in an area with lots of natural light so you don’t have to use flash.
What to avoid: Do not use overhead lighting, which can create harsh shadows in your photos. Remove wall decorations near the photo booth to prevent distractions.
Shout out to our experts!
A big thank-you to Totally Promotional photographers Sara Zircher, Sarah Schlarman and Brook Albers for their great advice. We hope these tips will help you snap memorable photos during your child’s birthday party!