We all love to capture every milestone, every antic of our child in photographs. And because they make wonderful lasting treasures, many moms are upping their ante by booking a photographer and sometimes even a stylist and set designer. They reserve this route to mark significant milestones like a 1st or 7th birthday, baptism or graduation.
Some use the photos as part of the decorations for an upcoming party celebration. But often they want a personal family memento where the parents don't look stressed, and they get to have a fun, intimate bonding moment with their child.
We spoke to four moms to ask them how the experience was like and the tips they have for those who are thinking about it.
Denese Cabigting She let her daughter Daryl smash a cake for her first birthday portrait.
What made you decide to do a pre-birthday shoot for your baby? I never knew I was a sentimental person until I had my daughter. And I made sure to capture and celebrate every milestone including a photo shoot for her six-month milestone and eventually her pre-birthday shoot. Photos like these are like “memory capsules” every time I look at them. I can still remember the joy and laughter we shared on that day like it was yesterday.
Your theme was "tropical flamingo." How did you end up choosing it? My husband and I both love the beach and the chill vibe, something I think my daughter is embracing as well. She also loves animals and birds, and I love the bright colors of pink and green.
How did you choose the photographer? Our photographer was the product of tons of thorough research. We ultimately decided on Denise Llanos Dee of Delightful Little Darlings because we liked how she was able to capture candid moments so beautifully. All her photos felt relaxed and truly candid. She really made us feel comfortable immediately as if we had known each other for a long time.
What did you enjoy most about the shoot? My daughter Daryl and I just kept on pounding and eating the cake! It was spontaneous and the most fun I’ve had at a photoshoot. I think Denise had fun too because Daryl didn’t cry or shy away from destroying the cake. She just went for it.
What advice do you have for moms who want to do a shoot? Daryl got enough sleep beforehand and was well-rested. We were also practicing baby-led weaning since we started her on solids, so she wasn’t afraid of touching food (in this case, cake). I highly advise looking for a good photographer best suited to you and your family, someone who matches your aesthetic, flexible and easy to work with. I knew Denise was a talented photographer, but another attribute I appreciated about her was how welcome and relaxed she made us feel during the shoot. It made the whole session fuss-free.
Helene Santos She captured daughter Miley’s 7th birthday with timeless photos and styled the shoot herself.
What made you decide to do a pre-birthday shoot for your daughter? It's a huge milestone in her life. Turning 7 is a big deal here in the Philippines, and that’s usually the next grand celebration after the 1st birthday.
What was the theme of her pre-birthday shoot? I didn’t have a particular theme. I just knew I wanted the photos to be simple and classic. I didn’t even hire a stylist since I was on a tight budget, so we improvised. We did the shoot outdoors, and I bought balloons as props and some flower crowns for her to wear.
How did you choose the photographer? I’m always on the lookout for any new photographers, and I happened to chance upon some beautiful family photos of a friend on Facebook. She highly recommended her photographer who I ended up booking for the shoot.
What did you enjoy most about the shoot? I loved seeing my daughter pose for the photos and act like a little model for the day. It was for her birthday after all, and I wanted her to feel like a star!
What advice do you have for moms who want to do a shoot? Ask for recommendations on tried and tested photographers. I like going for up-and-coming photographers since they usually charge way less and really give it their all. If you’re on a budget, go DIY and search online for pegs and inspiration. And remember to relax and have fun during the shoot!
Mei Chua Yu She commemorated her son Leighton's first birthday with fun and bright carnival-themed shoot.
How did you choose the theme and photographer? I chose a carnival theme because its look and feel were festive and fun. And we chose Luxe Photography because we’ve done all our growing up shoots with them. It was an easy choice.
What did you enjoy most about the shoot? The stress and excitement of the preparation! And, of course, seeing our son happy -- what’s what we enjoyed the most!
What advice do you have for moms who want to do a shoot? If you want a good outcome, you need to pre-plan well with your suppliers. Find a schedule that best suits your child (make sure they are well rested and fed before the shoot) and if you’d like your child to smash a cake, then have them practice a lot before the actual shoot, so they are comfortable with the activity and the feel of the cake and icing. It can get messy so be ready to bathe them on the spot. But most of all, enjoy, have fun, and make the most out of it.
Mina Domingo Ong She put together a fun Harry Potter themed photo shoot for Mason's first birthday.
How did you choose the photographer? His birthday is a BIG milestone, and we really wanted to capture every single moment. They grow up so fast. We already decided to have the shoot and luckily enough, a good friend offered the photo shoot as her gift, one that we will never forget. She referred T&F Media, and we thought the package was super sulit. They were very courteous and open to suggestions as their style was a bit different from what we initially wanted. They obliged and delivered beautifully. We also got to use the pictures as part of the display during the party.
What did you enjoy most about the shoot? Our son had a lot of fun playing with the props. Seeing him smile for the camera also put a big smile on our faces!
What advice do you have for moms who want to do a shoot? Schedule the time of the shoot after your child’s naptime so that they will be in a good mood. Listen to your child. If they get anxious, ask for a break. And most of all, enjoy it!