DIY 1st Birthday Photoshoot
If you’ve been following along on my Instagram, you’ll see that I really enjoy doing Ziana’s monthly and special occasion photos. Last Christmas, my husband gifted me a lens for our camera and it was a total game changer. Not to mention, the gift was very timely, considering we were expecting our first child in December.
Some of my monthly pictures turned out so great, that I had friends ask me if they were professionally taken and that’s when I realized, hey, maybe I have a hidden talent here – like baby photography perhaps? As time passed, my confidence behind the lens grew and so I decided that I would take on the challenge of doing Ziana’s first birthday photoshoot on my own.
Pending you have a good camera and know how to use it (somewhat), I’ll walk you through how I did my daughter’s 1st birthday shoot in under $100. For beginners, you need to determine a theme. I went for a white/pink/gold theme.
To recreate this photoshoot, you’ll need the following:
- A neutral coloured wall (white/beige/light grey/etc) where you’re getting a good amount of natural light. Unless you have all those fancy lights and gadgets that professional photographers have, it’s important to do this in the daytime when there’s a lot of natural light.
- A white or beige blanket or rug that you can set down where the props will sit on.
- Balloons – I bought 3 pearl white and 3 pearl pink 11″ balloons and one large gold number 1 balloon. Each were attached to a gold ribbon and an iridescent weight. This cost $35. As this shoot was less than week away from Ziana’s actual birthday, I ended up reusing them for her cake smash we did on her birthday. The place I get my balloons from last for up to two weeks – so I’m really got value for my money here.
- Three chalkboard makers – in gold, white and pink. I picked these up from Michaels for a total $25.
- A chalkboard banner. I ended up reusing the chalkboard banners from my Baby Shower. I used the gold chalkboard marker to outline the banner, the pink marker to write the letters and white to outline the letters and draw the heart on the i.
- A mini chair – the chair I used is from those table and chair sets from Ikea. I borrowed the chair from a friend. Just make sure you have an extra hand keeping an eye on your child to keep them from falling off the chair.
- A ring light to provide extra light to the shot (which I already own for my beauty shots). You need to play around with the placement of the light to see where it should be positioned to give you the best lighting possible. If you don’t have a ring light, a lamp with a white light bulb could work too.
- A tutu and headband set. I was gifted this by my best friend at my baby shower and decided to hold onto it for her 1st birthday shoot.
- A custom onesie. This one has a large glittery gold “1” with “Ziana” in pink written over top. I got this from a local merchant who does custom onesies and hair accessories for $15.
- A pink fluffy pillow. I picked one up from Home Sense for $17.
- Bubbles – I picked up bubbles from the Dollar Store for $2.
Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, set up your “home studio” with the props, place your baby whose ideally had a good nap, been fed and in a dry diaper, ask a friend to blow some bubbles, while you point and shoot! It also helps to sing your baby’s favourite songs to get them to smile!
No photoshoot is complete without editing your final photos. Editing makes such a difference. I recommend using an editing tool such as VSCO or Adobe Light Room to edit your pictures. Since I wanted to blow this up, I had to ensure that whatever editing tool I use, would not ruin the resolution of the image. When it comes to editing pictures, you’re almost always going to want to brighten them, but I recommend playing with a bunch of settings such as contrast and temperature as well.
Scroll down to see the final results. Hope you enjoy my photography skills and my adorable model!