1st Birthday Photo Shoot - Tips & Tricks!

One-year-olds are adorable, aren't they? With chubby cheeks, sparkling eyes, and winning smiles, they seem to be the perfect candidate for a photo shoot.

Except that they are exceptionally wiggly and have a mind of their own.

One-year-olds, charming as they are, refuse to smile on-demand and prefer to move, move, move. Another challenge is that one-year-olds live triumphantly and courageously with little fear of danger.

We put together a mini photo shoot near our little guy's 1st birthday and we learned a few things in the process. Here are some of our tips for capturing some great memories of your toddler.

I've included affiliate links to all of the outfits and props we used in case you want to replicate for your photo shoot.


The good news is that 1-year-olds look cute in most anything. Still, it's fun to pick out an outfit or two that will add to your photo scenes. Think of clothing as a prop.

We chose two different themes - nautical + black/white.

For the nautical scenes, our little guy wore a preppy and classic sailor suit by Feltman Brothers. If your little one is between sizes, be sure to size up as the clothing tends to be true to size or a bit snug.

sailor suit feltman brothers

peeking out of wheelbarrow 1st birthday

We also continued that theme with anĀ anchor-themed diaper cover and matching bowtie, both by Juxby.

anchor diaper cover baby

clapping 1st birthday

For the black + white scenes, he wore a baseball style birthday shirt with stretchy gray jeans ($12 from Target). You can also see his Stylish Steve sneakers by Robeez in the pictures below, which are always my top pick for baby shoes since they are so flexible and well-made.

1st birthday shirt


We found a huge array of 1st birthday themed props on Party City's website - number balloons, polka-dotted balloons, garlands, birthday hats, and pinatas. These ones were from the nautical birthday decor + supplies collection. That chalkboard yard stake is only $3.99 and can be re-used for lots of other events.

1st birthday red white blue

It's also great if you can have a few retro or photogenic toys for the shoot that will also serve the purpose of distracting + delighting your toddler. We unboxed this Schoenhut My First Piano II and it was such a fun prop for our little guy. This 25-key piano is an actual piano, but specifically designed for little fingers.

1st birthday photo balloon

black and white 1st birthday balloon

toddler playing piano

One final tip related to props - Think about where your baby will sit, especially if he or she is a non-walker or new walker. Toddler-sized furniture is an obvious choice, but you can also get creative with things you have around the house or in the backyard. As you can see from our photos above, we used a rusty old gardening wheelbarrow for some of the pictures.


A photo shoot with a one-year-old is almost impossible without several people on-hand to assist. You'll be grateful for extra hands to wipe runny noses, pat off dusty bottoms, comb down hair, and do funny dances to entice a smile. Ask your husband, mom, sister, or neighbor to come over for an hour or so after nap time - you'll be so glad that you did.


Most photographers refer to the "magic hour" as just before sunset, when the golden light shines down in its glorious splendor. When photographing a 1-year-old, however, the magic hour is whatever part of the day the toddler is happiest.

If your baby is well-rested and well-fed, it goes without saying that photos will probably go smoother since these conditions make smiles more frequent.


What other tips would you add for 1st birthday photo shoots?

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