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Planning a First Birthday Photography Session | One Year

Are you planning a First Birthday Photography Session? Here are a few things to consider:

1. Location

Let’s start with what type of first birthday photography session you are looking for – studio or outdoor. Both are great options and really depend on time of year and your preference.

Outdoor sessions are a great option in late Spring, Summer and Fall. With warmer temperatures during these months in New England, you can take advantage of the beautiful scenery to incorporate during your session. One thing that you have to consider is flexibility in moving the date if the weather does not cooperate and matching location and time of day for best lighting.

When choosing an outdoor location, talk to your photographer. There might be a special place that you want to include or your photographer might know of locations that will offer beautiful backdrops for your first birthday shoot.

choosing a location for your first birthday photography session

Studio first birthday photo sessions are a great option year round! If your baby is in a better mood in the morning (and let’s face it, we all are!), you don’t have to worry about finding a location that would allow a mid-morning photoshoot. You can also get creative with your decor! From birthday banners to balloons to elaborate themed setups, a studio photoshoot is a great option.

studio first birthday photoshoot

When planning a studio first birthday photography session, work with your photographer to understand who will be supplying the decor. Some photographers love to plan elaborate scenes while others keep things simple. Make sure that you are communicating what you are looking for!

2. Outfits

Depending on what you are looking from your first birthday photoshoot, you’ll want to consider a few different outfit options. Typically you’ll want 2-3 outfits for baby during the photoshoot.

If you are including some family portraits during your time, you will want to plan coordinating outfits for the whole family. It’s best to keep things simple and classic. The outfits you choose should reflect your family and your style, as well as be comfortable.

For smash cake portion of the shoot (if you choose to add it!), you’ll want a separate outfit. Often cakes have colorful frosting which does not always easily come out of clothing. Keep this in mind! Don’t choose an heirloom outfit that you would be devastated to ruin.

If time and mood allows it, it’s also nice to have an outfit to capture just baby in. First birthday milestone is a big one!

choosing an outfit for your first birthday photography session

3. Theme and Decorations

If you’re looking to incorporate an elaborate theme into your baby’s first birthday shoot, you’ll want to start planning early! If your photographer provides the decor, you’ll need to communicate ahead of time and allow time for planning, designing and purchasing backdrops and props needed to accomplish it. If you’re providing your own props, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to search, purchase and ship what you need.

Not all first birthday photoshoots have an elaborate theme! Some simple setups or minimal decor is gorgeous. You can opt for some balloons or flowers or simply stick with one color background.

Some photographers are known for planning and creating elaborate backdrops while others opt for outdoor or minimal approach. The style of the photographer you choose should match with your style!

choosing a style for your first birthday photography session

4. Family portraits versus just baby milestone versus smashcake

There are many ways to celebrate a first birthday with photography! You can opt for a classic smashcake (or cake smash) where the baby gets to eat (and hopefully smash!) a birthday cake. Some parents take a spin on this trend and bring cupcakes, donuts, or even fruit and veggies! There is no right or wrong way to do it – simply what matches your style and your family.

capture your baby's first birthday with first year smashcake photography

While many others opt to leave the cake for a birthday party and want to capture their growing baby or their family at this time. First birthdays are such an amazing milestone! It’s the perfect time to have family portraits.

capture your family portraits and your baby's first birthday milestone with professional photography

At the end of the day, no matter what you choose, your first birthday photoshoot should reflect your family!

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Catherine King Photography


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