Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Five easy DIY at home birthday photo shoot ideas

{This post contains previously gifted items which have been indicated with a *.}

{I was under no obligation to include the items and all thoughts/ opinions are my own.} 


We have just  celebrated Scarlet's birthday and after the various lockdowns of the last year we will have celebrated 4 birthday's including both of Avery's without friends and family. While everyone has enjoyed their birthdays at home, we like many families have had to adjust plans. With three children at home life was quite the juggling act and special events like birthdays increased the pressure. Which is why we still wanted to do fun photo shoots at home, especially when it came to birthday's. We needed to adjust how much time we had to prepare and plan shoots that would work well while juggling everything else too. 

I thought I'd share some ideas on photoshoots we have done both before and during the lockdowns over the last year. I knew that each would need to have a low cost, varying levels of effort and time available to put in and most of all they needed to be something that was fun for everyone involved. A really big factor when children are involved!

 After a bit of thinking I have five very different photo shoot ideas which will all create their own unique photos, while helping you create fun memories with your children at the same time.  

I am going to start with the simplest and work my way up to the most complicated, which will need the most time and effort put in before the shoot however all the shoots will need the same shooting and some clean up too. 


Confetti Birthday Photo Shoot 



The first and simplest birthday photo shoot is a confetti shoot. The only thing you will need other than your phone or camera is some confetti, you can use normal confetti, eco confetti, flowers (try to just use the heads or short stems if you do this) or coloured paper in various shapes. We just used confetti which my children loved throwing up in the air and watching it rain down around them. I sourced the confetti from Poundland's wedding section which got me 6 bags for £1. We took the photos in a corner of our Livingroom with a cream wall as our backdrop. 

If you are doing this shoot with smaller children you or another adult could throw the confetti how you want. Another idea would be if you fill a plain open umbrella with it and let them tip it up above their heads. 


Balloon Arch Photo Shoot

While this sounds like I am suggesting you stand under a balloon arch and take photos, I assure you it's not. Right now Balloon arches are making a big impact for birthday parties and they are beautiful to look at but they can be a great photo shoot too. Once the birthday is over the balloon arch is often disposed of, before you do that take the arch down and have fun with it before you throw it all away. You can purchase many kinds of balloon arches online and in stores. Ours is from Home Bargains but Amazon have a huge range available which I have link to. 

We created a whole host of photos with ours at a recent birthday. We attached it to the wall above my bed to create a hot air balloon look and each of my children held a string and we took photos of them laying on the bed under the blanket. 


Another idea could be to have older children stand against the wall with the arch creating a loop around their head/ upper body. Having an arm reaching out through the arch loop gives a cool effect as does making faces in the centre. My eldest son, Dylan loved this set up the most and had so much fun taking the photo above.


The final way to use a balloon arch in a photoshoot is to lay them on the floor or on a bed around your child to create a huge circle. Let them bounce and play with the balloons and take all the photos you like. Play hide and seek, let them push the balloons up, take some off and throw them around. Have fun and take as many photos as you like. The simple nature of this option makes it perfect for smaller children but do remember not to leave your child unsupervised at any time during this balloon shoot.

This particular shoot will involve a lot of movement so I suggest taking more photos and just continuing to take them until the end. Some will end up blurry but there will be plenty that perfectly capture the fun. 


Crepe Streamer Photo Shoot 

Just like above there is more than one way to do this shoot. The first part however will be choosing a colour scheme, we went with a rainbow theme and purchased this pack of Rainbow Crepe paper streamers on Amazon. There are however plenty of other colour schemes available too. 

Once you are ready you can set up the streamers to be at the opening of an alcove or to hang down from the ceiling. Be sure to set the streamers up across a piece of rope or twine that can attach to the wall to be just a bit taller than your child or just skimming the floor. If you need to use the ceiling you can use string and frog tape to hang down to the right height and attach your streamers to that instead of directly on the ceiling. 

The idea is to create a curtain of streamers that your child can walk through, play hide and seek in, wear wings and pretend to be a fairy or twirl around the strands. The colourful curtain effect will give a unique setting and works well if you don't have a great background to use since you are effectively creating your own. My daughter loved twirling around and playing between the streamers in this shoot. Which you can see in all of the photos, it was fun, interactive and easy to set up. Which is just what we wanted.

Another idea you could use the streamers with would be to have them attached around a large umbrella. Create a full coverage will streamers attached to the under edges, this gives you a full circle for your child to hide inside. With the umbrella they will have more freedom and this would be a great outdoor shoot provided the weather was good. They could twirl, run, jump and move the umbrella around to have many different effects. Remember to cut the streamers to be the right height for your child for this method. 


Mirror Sticker Photo Shoot*

I had never considered how fun mirror play can be for a photoshoot with children. I recently worked with Parli and Co on our Instagram over Dylan's birthday. They had gifted us some reusable mirror and window stickers that are perfect birthday decorations. We mostly used them to create fun mirror photo opportunities. 

Now to create this shoot you will need a good sized mirror, preferably one which can sit against a piece of furniture or a wall and give you a flat surface on one side to make it very stable. If you don't have a mirror available you could also use windows and take the photos from the opposite side to your child, I would suggest a sheet or similar background behind them for this shoot.

You can get a set of Parli and Co window stickers. (We used two packs of their Mini Birthday Sticker Set which are £10 each.) They have many themed packs including flowers, bunting, weather and more so the choices aren't limited. Once you have set the stickers up on the mirror or window you can let your child have fun. They can make funny faces, match up the the various pieces, hold their hands up like they are holding the balloons or other props and so much more. There are so many possibilities for this shoot depending on the set you choose. 

As an extra plus the stickers are all reusable so they can be stored away for the next birthday, event or photoshoot to used again and again. They make for great decorations that don't have to be thrown out. so far we have had two birthday's using them and I know they will be a staple in the future too. 


Birthday Cake Smash Photo Shoot

This final photo shoot idea is the most complex, has the most elements and is probably the most expensive in terms of everything you will need. I had to of course include a cake smash photo shoot in this post. It's an iconic photoshoot idea we all know of when it comes to a child's birthday. They are most commonly considered for a first birthday but there is no reason why older children can't also enjoy all the fun.

The most obvious need here will be for a cake, we baked our cake together with box cake mix, we used three tiers and made up a pink buttercream to dirty ice the whole cake. You can however just buy your cake if you prefer, choose the style you want. Remember to buy any additional props you want like a cake topper, flowers, large candle etc. You will also need a cake stand for your cake, we used a small glass cake stand I already owned but you can pick these up for a few pounds. 

Another purchase that I suggest with the shoot is a paper roll, we used a children's roll of drawing paper from Ikea. You can lay this down on the floor and tape it to keep it in place, this can also be repeated on the wall to create the backdrop, although you an use a sheet or just the wall if you want. As you can see I also had confetti balloons in the background too. You can have anything you like there, fake or real flowers, birthday banners or you could have helium balloons which can float behind your child. These all create different effects depending on what you combine together.

Set everything for this shoot up first, get everything ready and also consider if you want to run a bath, this will get messy! Get your child dressed and sitting where you want before you introduce the cake, take one or two test shots with a toy being played with to make sure your happy with where everything is. Bring the cake in and just let them do what they want with it, take photos and enjoy their discovery of it all. 

Let them have fun until you can see that they are done, losing interest or they don't want to eat anymore. Get them all cleaned up before you try to clean the area, believe me this way will result in less mess! If you used the paper on the floor you can simply roll the mess up in the paper (minus the cake stand, remaining cake and props) and throw it away.


Which of the five photo shoot ideas is your favourite?




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