If you’re a photographer, you already know and appreciate the importance of capturing important moments. Getting behind your camera offers you a front row seat so some of the most prominent and personal moments in peoples lives. What about your own life? If you’re like me, there are way more photos of your family and friends, than there are you! Its ok to put down the camera. Seriously, set it down, back away and give up some of your inner control freak. So when is a great time to start practicing this? Birthday parties for children are particularly problematic for photographers. Our children, particularly. It makes sense you’d want beautiful images of the your child, your family, and every little detail of the party you painstakingly planned, but with a little help from our friends, and some photography equipment, there is a way for you to fully enjoy the party – in front of the camera. Here are some tips from the pros.
1. Set up extra early
Get your party set up the night before. We’re sure you’re busy, but a little advance planning can go a long way. Set up your decorations and furniture the night before so all you have to do is put out the food, dress the birthday boy or girl, and get some great detail shots. Samantha Covert, a photographer in Nova Scotia says, “I try to be as organized as possible the day of the party, and delegate as many tasks that I can so I’m not stuck running errands and not documenting the event. I take images of all the details before the party starts, and also try to get a few birthday portraits before the party as well…it takes the pressure off getting “perfect” pictures during the party, so I can enjoy myself, too.”
Get a little help from your friends. Photographers love to trade services. This is the perfect time! Put your feelers out and see who may be interested in a photo trade. Get to know other local photographers – this will help your business in other ways too. You’ll want a trusted photographer or two in your corner if you come down with the flu the night before a wedding! Lauren Sanderson, a photographer in Alabama says, “I swap with a friend of mine who is also a local photographer. She photographs my kids’ parties and I photograph her’s. It makes everything so much less stressful and I get to celebrate the day being 100% present… and bonus, I’m actually in the pictures!!!”
5. Manage your expectations
As important as it is to remind yourself, its ok to put down the camera, its also important to remind yourself that its ok if you don’t capture everything. Photographers think in small details because our jobs depend on it. That antique bracelet you wore on your wedding day – we needed to remember to capture an image of it for you. It only makes sense we’d feel a strong pull to capture every detail of our own lives in this same microscopic way. At the end of the day though, it isn’t about the images, its about the memories. If you absolutely have to shoot, at least, some of the big day, pick the most important things. Amy Schuff, of California says, “The thing I most want to photograph on my child’s birthday is their face when they blow out the birthday candles. It’s one of their most favorite parts of the entire party. This is a wonderful moment for photography too! Turn off the lights, let the candles be your guide and shoot their sweet giggly faces as everyone sings them Happy Birthday and they get to blow out their candles.”
Capturing important memories is not nearly as important as creating them yourself, but with some good tips and a little planning, you can definitely have the best of both.