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Birthday Photo Shoot for Your One Year Old – Most Detailed Tips & Tricks


When my daughter was 6 months old, I already decided that I wanted to do a photo shoot for her when she turns one. I missed out on the newborn photo shoot so I was determined to do this when she is one. I also knew I wanted to do a cake smash theme because I just thought it is super cute. 

I researched online for a local photographer with good reviews and reasonable pricing. I eventually came across a photographer in Markham who lived really close to me and coincidentally our kids went to skating lessons together at one point.  I am so glad to have found Xi Luo from Bunny Bear Baby Studio. She is was patient and so accommodating to our needs. Being a mom herself, she really knew how to get the kids’ attention and moved really quickly with her camera to catch shots from different angles. She even has different outfits and accessories for kids. She prepared a beautiful background and had props already made (she hand-makes her own props and they look amazing). Xi was not the kind of photographer that stopped right at the 1 hour time frame, she took her time with us and made sure she got many good shots. We didn’t feel rushed at all. It was not an easy photo shoot to do but I am glad we did it.

If you are ever considering doing a one year old photo shoot, here are some helpful tips from me and Xi on how to have a successful one.

Preparing for the Shoot:

  1. Decide on the theme. Whether you want to do it indoor or outdoor, cake smash or no cake smash. What color scheme and props you want in the picture. Look for inspirations on Pinterest or Google Image.
  2. Decide on the outfit and accessories. There’s lots of choices, you can get them on Amazon or even get them custom made. Heavenly Hash makes them and they are adorable. I personally like the custom-made ones but you just have to plan it in advance so there is enough time to get it made. Keep the colors simple and clean and make sure your other props match or compliment the outfit.
  3. If you want to bring your own decorations, you can make them or find them on Amazon.ca. 
  4. If you are making a cake, practice making it in advance so you are not stressed the day before.
  5. If you are planning to have a few family photos taken as well, then make sure you coordinate your family’s outfits in terms of color. Ask your photographer what color their background is (if it’s indoor). Search on Pinterest for outfit ideas and start shopping earlier if you don’t have any good outfits at home.  

On the Day of the Shoot:

  1. Make sure your little one is clean. Watch for messy hair and face. Also pay attention to the little hands and feet as often times they become the focal point in a photo. Wipe those boogers and snots away and make sure their nails are trimmed can clean.
  2. Pick early in the morning while they are still energetic and happy. Or pick a time after their afternoon nap. Make sure they are well rested. A happy and content child will look happy in photos!
  3. Bring any toys or props you think will help attract the child’s attention or help calm them down.
  4. Make sure your child is well fed before the shoot too and prepare some snacks in case they get fussy. If you prepare snacks, make sure they are small and won’t make a mess on the face or outfit.
  5. Don’t stress out if your child does not cooperate. My daughter kept taking down the beautiful hairband I got her, I eventually just gave up putting it back on her.
  6. Don’t worry if the little one can’t stay still and pose for you. A good photographer knows how to get the candid shots even when they are crawling or walking around.

Tips for During the Photo Shoot  

  1. Make sure a parent is close by the photographer so that when the child looks to the parent the camera will capture their lovely expressions.
  2. Prepare some simple props like rattles or soft toy in case your photographer does not have that in the studio (they usually do).
  3. Get some bubbles because they never fail to get the child’s attention and make them smile. It definitely worked on my daughter, was the only thing that got her to smile actually.

Cake Smash

  1. Prepare a neutral color cake stand to put your cake on.
  2. Make or purchase a nice buttercream cake. I made the ombre pink buttercream cake and it looked beautiful in the pictures (and yes I’m very proud of it, so it deserved its own shot).
  3. Save the cake smash till the last.
  4. Make sure there are not much valuables around and have some towels ready.
  5. Before child touches the cake, remember to snap some shots of the complete birthday setup with the baby still looking clean in its midst.
  6. Then turn on some cheerful music, and watch the child as they dance happily to the tune and dig into the cake! Let them have fun and keep shooting from different angles. You will have a hard time choosing the best image!
  7. You can do the cake smash indoors but also outdoor if the weather is nice.

If you have some photography skills, you can attempt to take your own photos. However, I highly recommend getting a professional photographer to do this as they are much more experienced and you will be less stressed.

I will share my experience and tips on doing family photo shoot and 2 year old birthday shoot in the future too, so stay tuned.

If you are looking for a good family photographer in Markham, I highly recommend Xi. You can reach her at 647-867-5789. Just mention you found her from Markham Moms.

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