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Birthday Party Pictures

People may not place as much importance on birthday party pictures as they do on wedding or graduation photos, for example, but the memories they capture are just as valuable. Just as you do in more formal photography, you can use several techniques when taking birthday party pictures to guarantee better shots. By paying attention to elements like lighting and composition, you can produce photos that accurately illustrate the joy of the special day.

Scope out the location.

You want to make sure you get everything right, so investigate the location before the party. Look for visual obstacles, determine what kind of lighting is present and decide factors like white balance and exposure.

Take more than one photo of the important moments.

You can't always know how a picture will turn out. To make sure you get the best shot of the most important events, take several photos of them, and try out different approaches--vary the F-stops and angles you use, for example.

Make a list.

Decide before the party which photos you must have--the blowing out of the candles, opening the presents--and be prepared at that moment. Make sure the area is clear of clutter, and that you know what kind of lighting you'll need and if you'll need a flash. Also, make sure you'll have a clear shot of the subject.

Take plenty of candid shots.

You'll want several posed photos, but many of the best shots are spontaneous. Don't just concentrate on taking the traditional shots; because the subjects are posing, the photos may not look natural. Even after the cake and presents, continue taking pictures. You never know what might happen, and you don't want to miss out on a single memory.

Make sure you have the right equipment.

If you're not prepared, you don't have time to get what you need--you'll miss the best shots. Before the party, make sure you have fresh batteries, memory cards, tripods and accessories. That way, you'll be ready for whatever comes your way.