My Secret Weapon to Capture the Best Photos of Your Child

Your chest swells a little with that deep-in-your-heart feeling that your son is getting older. That time is moving too swiftly. Naturally, you grab your camera in hopes of documenting his birthday party and freezing time.

Two hours and 187 frames later, you set your camera down to help usher the tiny guests out the door, goodie bags in hand. You were an amazing hostess. You got the right Buzz Lightyear party favors and managed to make a Pinterest worthy spacecraft cake.

And then it dawns on you that don’t actually remember much of the last few hours.

You were so busy buzzing around that you didn’t get to really see what was happening. And now your recall of the event will be based on the photos you took, rather than the fun your child had at his party.

Wait wait wait! Before you sucomb to mommy-guilt and click off my blog, quietly cursing me (or loudly), I’ve got a solution! A few weeks ago I told you I was going to help you take fewer (and more meaningful) pictures AND help you remember your kid’s childhood by just being present.

(Read about why we need to try to put our cameras down here.)

Here’s the simple trick I actually use with my clients when photographing their family life. I call it my “party trick.”

birthday party photo tips for moms


Before I pick up my camera, I ask myself two questions:

“What is the reason for taking the picture?”


“Where will it live once I click the shutter?”


Before you walk into your child’s birthday party, take a moment and ask yourself these two questions. The answers might surprise you!


Earlier this year I did an online family photo album design class and shared with the students how I strive to capture the essence of a family or a birthday party, rather than every single moment. My goal is to tell the story in fewer than 6 photos. This makes designing my picture albums a snap. I use the six photos to create a spread (fancy word for “two pages facing each other”) like this one here:

How to take good pictures of your kids

You can use my party trick for any event or even daily photo taking. For these family vacation photos above, I asked myself what was important about making s’mores in the summer, and it was their sticky smiling faces, tiny hands, and how their daddy helps them. Five photos and done. (I would love to show you an album spread of the 5-6 pictures I take at a birthday party, but in the interest of our guest’s privacy, I’ll go with our sticky beach treats instead.)

And, according to fancy science, this little party trick of mine will actually help you remember life with your children far better than the photos alone!

Your turn. Try this trick and check in on my Facebook page to let me know how it goes. While you’re there, you’ll learn more unique photo tips that will help you tell your family’s story!


Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

P.S. If you want to get the photos you already have organized, sign up for my Photo News and Tips email and you’ll receive a complimentary downloadable copy of my book, Take Control of Your Digital Pictures.