After many weeks of lockdown (can anyone actually remember how many?), most of us will have had at least one or two family birthdays during that time, where we haven’t been able to have our usual get togethers. For us, lockdown hit just before our 10 week run of 11 family occasions, so Zoom was very quickly mastered and put to full use!
Sad as it is that we can’t see people face to face and have the parties and celebrations we are used to, our two daughters’ birthdays in the last few weeks have been testament to the fact that kids really don’t need much to feel special. In fact, one of the main positives for us as a family was that we got them all to ourselves for their whole special day.
So, for those of you that might be wondering how you can create that special day at home and even catch a few magical moments on camera, here are a few ideas from what we did and the things we loved most about a more simple birthday celebration.
A fun start
A birthday is a great excuse to say ‘yes’! All those mornings of being asked for sweet stuff for breakfast, for unlimited cartoons etc. etc. – you can finally say ‘yes’ (well, at least to some of them) and hopefully have a relaxed start with less battles than normal! No rushing to get ready to go somewhere, no nagging to get washed, dressed, teeth etc. What’s not to like
Obviously there are the birthday presents, but how about saving something for the end of a treasure hunt? Something that will get brains thinking. The clues don’t need to be difficult, just directing them around a few places in the house (and if you have a garden a little bonus run around the garden in pjs!) gets a bit of excitement and suspense going and gave us lots of laughs and good pics.
It may feel like the kitchen has been the most used room in the last few weeks and the cupboards never full for long, but a birthday is still a good excuse for a few extras and special treats. Go back to ‘the good old days’ and keep it simple. We did some baking beforehand (which was a good way to get them involved in the build up) and had some yummy treats to eat on the day. (tip – if you can’t find flour, a krispie cake or top hat is a no brainer for bringing a big chocolatey smile to their face)
Just being able to choose a few of their favourite things to do with you, rather than with all the usual distractions, is a treat in itself for most kids. We did face painting, playstation and dressing up, but of course each child will have their own top list. Facepainting did make for some good photos though!
All important down time
It’s a busy day despite not going anywhere so chilling with a movie and a take away was just what we needed to round it off! And not too much clearing up!
Appreciating the simple things is something we are all working on during this strange time – birthdays are a great way to do that and it might just be the ‘best birthday ever!’.
This is a great opportunity to take some fun family pics, as your kids are probably well used to you having your camera or phone out for occasions just like this.
Here are a few key tips:
- For the key moments try and get them near a door or window with them facing where the light is coming in, as lighting their faces and eyes is something that will really make your images “pop”
- If you have a fast lens such as a 1.4, 1.8 etc then open it up wide to throw your messy background (well my backgrounds in the house are usually very messy!!) out of focus. If photographing their faces close be careful not to have their nose in focus and their eyes blurred.
- Shoot with a wide angle as it can help set the scene, though try and keep your subjects close to the centre to avoid them looking too distorted
- Try what i call “layering” when you frame the shot. Basically you have something in the foreground then your subject then the background. I love using it as it gives the image a bit more depth.
- Keep smiling