Professional photographer Tamara Bowman shares 5 tips on how to take birthday party pictures that capture the magic of the day.
Is anyone else happy it’s Thursday?
I think the fact that we’ve finally started having beautiful weather around here has made a huge difference in my outlook. That, and it looks like we’re going to have a clear holiday weekend too.
Pardon me while I get up and do a little happy dance.
Today is also extra special for another reason…my friend Tamara has agreed to switch places with me today just to shake things up a bit.
I became hooked on Tamara’s blog a long time ago reading her 20-part series on How I Met Your Father, and haven’t stopped reading since. You can find me over on her blog today to where I’m sharing inspiration for a Woodland Moose-Themed Birthday Party and a recipe for Cookies & Cream Moose Munch.
But first, Tamara is going to share her top 5 tips for how to take great birthday party pictures. She’s really a genius at this. I just love how magical her party photos always feel.
First of all, I want to thank Leslie for having me here today. She’s been a blogging friend and colleague of mine for a long time now! Two years? Maybe more! I’ve enjoyed watching her beautiful daughters – who are about the same ages as my kids – grow up, and I was so happy when she welcomed baby E into the family. I’ve looked to Leslie for inspiration in many areas – parties, food, planning, DIY, outdoors living, entertaining, and more, and I figured it was high time to talk here about something I’m confident about – photography. I’ve been blogging for six years at Tamara Camera Blog. I started a photography business three years ago at Tamara Camera Photography. I’m also a SITS Community Lead, teaching photography this week with a Photography Basics & Beyond course! Find me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I welcome questions!
I am fresh off of photographing a giant graduation party over the weekend. Three members of one family! It was awesome – set against seven mountain peaks where I live – and there was a bounce house, catered food, cake, volleyball, mixed and bottled drinks, and the works. It was scenic, celebratory, and both large and somehow intimate. I knew I had an important job to convey all that I was taking in and experiencing – and I took that job seriously, as I always do. This was a paid job, though, so I didn’t have to be both photographer and hostess. I could just wear one hat. It’s different for me at home.
We are known around town for our epic parties. They remind me a bit of the magic that Leslie shares/creates, except that a lot of the party planning is my husband’s field. I help plan cake and food and guest lists and decorations. I coordinate house guests and out-of-towners. I’m a social butterfly and I’m also the photographer. I will always blog her parties too. My husband, Cassidy, is responsible for a lot of the heavy duty stuff and he creates a complete wonderland every time.
That’s when it becomes my job, like it did with my client’s party, to capture the wonder, magic, and awe, while also being hostess/mother/wife, etc. Luckily I’m adept at doing both, and at at least “trying” to find balance in knowing when to take photos, and when to cut my daughter’s cake. I do tend to delegate non-photography work, and I’m not ashamed! I’m a photographer, after all. Here are my favorite tips for how to take great birthday party pictures. I’d love to hear your favorite tips and tricks too!
How to Take Birthday Party Pictures
1. Find the magic moments!
They are there, when you’re looking (and when you’re not) – waiting for you to capture them. It’s not always the obvious ones – like singing “Happy Birthday” or opening presents. Sometimes it’s just about the hidden gems of people totally in their element – or in their own worlds. Open. Magical. Present.
2. Designate another photographer.
These are tips meant for YOU to take the photos, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be in photos, or have time to relax, eat cake, etc. They may find moments you haven’t seen! Fresh perspective.
3. Get close and get details!
I also love to get down to a child’s perspective for a lot of photos.
4. Shoot as candidly as you can, but do posed photos too!
Where there are parties, there are mixes of people. Where there are mixes of people, there is love. Find those amazing love moments – even the non-obvious ones. Candid AND posed.
5. Consider renting a lens.
At least for me, I don’t have the means to buy the luxury lenses I dream about. I rent them for work, so I figure if I’m spending $200 on a bounce house for my kids, the lens is just another special occasion thing. It’s nice to use a lens that’s totally new to me, and is out of my reach, but is magically mine for a whole day/week. Just once a year!
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Leslie, thanks for having me here! I love seeing my photos here, and your photos at my blog!
Thank you so much for sharing your tips, Tamara! I can’t wait to try them out with all our kids’ parties this summer!
Janine Huldie says
What great tips from my favorite photographer here today and honestly ice again just love that you two switched spaces here today, too!! 🙂
It’s totally fun! And awesome to see you visit us both!
Totally agree that Tamara’s one of my favorite photographers. She’s got a true talent for capturing special moments, and I am honored that she agreed to share her tips with everyone here.
Ah, you made me so happy! I was feeling a little down on photography in 2016 and lately I seem to be feeling the groove again very much.
Your pictures are always magical!
Thank you! That’s totally what I’m trying to capture – magic in the daily life.
Your pictures are magical and will be a treasure forever. Thank you for sharing your advice. P.S. I have enjoyed your photography series over at SITS this week. 🙂
Thank you! I loved writing that series and checking in. Photography is one of the few things I feel I can talk about with at least some degree of confidence.
Love the rent a lens tip! I remember you were the one that taught me that! I have yet to pull the trigger but I have a feeling I will be doing so soon because I want that special treat! 🙂
I’m with you Nellie. I need to give that tip a try!
I thought those photos looked familiar 😉 So glad to see two of my fave bloggers in the same space! Tamara does a great job with photographing ANYTHING, parties included!
Tamara you are so gifted! I don’t think I have ever seen a picture of yours that doesn’t make me happy! Thanks for your tips my friend! I am excited to see the epic summer birthday parties you guys have planned for this year!
Bella at Dear Mummy Blog says
What a beautiful garden! Great tips for photographing a party and we’ll bear it in mind on my next birthday x #FamilyFunLinky
Mother of 3 says
I honestly had no idea you could rent lenses! These are some great tips.
What great advice. My teaching assistant for our preschool class is such a talented photographer. Talk about finding the moment. What she can do with a cellphone camera! I could never get all of those amazing pics on my own!
Donna Reidland says
I never thought about renting a lens. What a great idea! I love your photos, too!
Barbara Chapman ~ French Ethereal says
I like your photography tips, Tamara! Thank you! I’ve been photographing my family, well, forever!!! 😉 But only in the past three years have I finally had a camera I’d even call potentially professional. Now it’s time to play!! It’s working itself into a business taking professional photos of friends, their pets and some children, too. My son rents lenses sometimes for his videography work, too, and WOW it makes all the difference!
Happy shooting and thanks for hosting this post with Leslie,
p.s. Coming over from Wonderful Wednesday and Emily at LeCultivateur.com. <3
Roseann Hampton says
Such wonderful photography tips! Thanks for sharing at The Blogger’s Pit Stop! Roseann from This Autoimmune Life
Jann Olson says
Great ideas! I love the magic moments. Much better than everything posed. Thanks for shaing with SYC.
Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle says
Leslie, what a great idea to swap blog posts. Nice to meet you Tamara, Leslie is a regular on our Pit Stop linkup and we enjoy her creative posts.
How nice that you and your husband can work together on the parties 🙂 Your photos are full of character and fun, thanks for the photography tips, they are always welcome.
We will make a feature of this helpful post on the next Pit Stop.
Blogger’s Pit Stop
Alana - Burnished Chaos says
Great tips. I always find those candid photos have so much more magic about them.
Thank you for joining the #FamilyFunLinky x
Rhonda Gales says
Thanks for sharing these great tips. I had no idea you could rent camera lens. I’ll have to check this out. Have a great week.