5 Kids’ Birthday Photo Shoot Ideas to Bring Out Their Personality

boy laying on grass laughing
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Birthdays are a fun time to take new photos of your child.

If you do this every year, you can really see the difference in how much they have changed and grown.

I have three boys, and honestly, I don’t take their birthday pictures every year. But when I do, I really love the outcome.

So today, I just want to give you some ideas of what to do on a kids birthday photo shoot and some examples from my photos and others.

5 Kids’ Birthday Photo Shoot Ideas

1. Location

Choosing a location for the photo shoot can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use a location with open shade if shooting in the day time. This will help keep the squinty eyes and dark shadows away.
  • Pick a location that makes a statement about the child. This could be a fun skate park, playground or even their school. Something that speaks to their personality or interests at this time in their life.
  • Use a location that depicts the time of year of their birth, such as changing leaves in fall, blooming flowers in spring or the snow of winter.

Here are a few examples:

In the photo above, I took my son to the skate park to get some color in his photos. Since he is a February baby, the parks and other outdoor areas were covered with snow.

In this photo shoot, I took him to the mini golf course for his birthday photos. This added playfulness and lots of places to shoot in one area.

This kid’s birthday is at the beginning of October, so I wanted to find a location with lots of fall leaves and foliage.

If you have a child that loves to read, it might be fun to do their shoot in a library, like the photos above.

2. Props

Using props in your photos can help convey a certain time or milestone in their lives.

Here are a few tips:

  • Let the child choose a few props to use from their favorite things.
  • You can use a big number for their birthday or chalk art to convey information.
  • Think about things they are interested in and show them in the photos with props. For example, sporting equipment, favorite blanket or stuffed animal, skateboards or bikes, etc.
  • You can also use props from the location to play into your shoot.

Here are a few examples:

In the photo above, I used the props at the location (the fence) to add interest to the picture.

Also from the location, these leaves represent the time of year for his birthday.

Because this was his 8th birthday, we used the 8 from the frisbee golf at the park to remind us in years to come. (Unfortunately, he wasn’t all the way in the shade!)

I love this cute photo of the little girl and the balloon. It is clear that the balloon is signifying her third birthday. This is a great use of props for a birthday photo.

This is a really cute idea for an older child. I love how the shirt and the numbers portray that she is growing up!

3. Clothes

Kids fashion changes quickly. Something they loved last year may not be “in style” this year. It is fun to look back on their clothes to see how much they have changed.

Here are a few tips:

  • Let the kids help pick out the clothes they will wear.
  • Don’t forget accessories like hats, jewelry, etc.
  • They can have several outfits if needed.
  • Use plain colors or patterns. Don’t use any clothing with words or pictures on it unless you are featuring a favorite shirt or outfit.

Here are a few examples:

My boys all have blue eyes, so I often put them in blue shirts to bring out the color. I love the look here.

Like in the photo above, you can use clothing with props to let them express themselves and the trends of the time.

I love how this little boy (above) is dressed. So cute, comfy with some attitude.

4. Personality

Kids personalities are so fun and can change from year to year. We really want to capture these personalities as they surface.

Whether your kid is silly, shy, daring or uncertain, you should try to feature these qualities in your photos.

Here are a few tips:

  • Try to get some photos when the child doesn’t think you’re looking. They are more themselves and aren’t acting for the camera.
  • Kids will give you a cheesy grin when you ask for it (“say cheese!”). So keep shooting right after the fake grin and most of the time they will laugh and give you a real grin instead.
  • Give the child something to hold or play with. This will get them looking at something besides you and might keep them still to get some close up shots.
  • Allow them to move around the area in which you are photographing. Climbing, running, dancing and other actions can bring out their personality as well.

Here are a few examples:

These photos are both of my youngest child, a year apart. I love the one above because I caught his real laugh after he was trying to give me cheesy grins. I love the one below because he was trying to act grown up and too big for his britches. Both photos bring out a different part of his personality.

If your little girl loves to play house and be mommy, use that to your advantage in the photo shoot. The photo above brings out the nurturing personality of this child, which is super cute!

5. Details

One of the things I love about doing annual birthday photos with the kids is capturing all of the little details that change from year to year.

Things like eyes, hair, clothing, shoes, etc. are fleeting. By capturing the details each year, you can keep them with you for later memories.

Here are a few tips:

  • Get a few close up pictures of their hair, eyes, eyelashes, freckles or any other facial features you might not want to forget.
  • Have them hold something so you can get their hands in the photograph.
  • Make sure to get a close up of clothing, shoes, props or anything else they might be interested in at this age.

Here are a few examples:

I love this shot above. It gets close up to see his eyes and expression. But what if when taking this shot, I got in even closer.

His hair.

close up of boy child eyelash

His eyelashes. I love to look back on these pictures now that he is a teenager. Look at those freckles too!

Since I have all boys, I wanted to add another girl example. I love how this picture is close enough to see her beautiful eyes and facial features.

Taking yearly photos of children at their birthday is a great way to commemorate the occasion and how much they have changed.

It also gives you a great excuse to spend some one on one time with each child.

Don’t forget to add personal touches to each session so that each year is a new experience. Adding fun props, new clothing and personality to each shoot will give you priceless family heirlooms to save for their children.

I hope these tips help you make the most out of your next kids birthday photo shoot. You’ve got this!

kids photo shoot ideas pin

How often do you do a photo shoot with your child? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!

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