first birthday session in Chicago

Chicago Lakefront First Birthday Session | Photo Ideas

Oct 11

What a beautiful day for a darling first birthday celebration starring Ellie! I feel like I just captured her precious newborn portraits, yet here we are at her first birthday photoshoot! This baby girl is as sweet as it gets, with the most beautiful blue eyes. She was (almost) all smiles for our birthday session together, and it was such an honor to document yet another milestone for this amazing family. 

We began their family session and Ellie’s birthday photos at Kerry and Paul’s stunning Michigan Avenue condo. I’m forever in love with lifestyle sessions, and this one just fans that flame. You can feel the love in every interaction. Starting the session at home allowed Ellie to get used to me and the camera in a familiar place. Once she got warmed up, we headed out for a stroll along one of their favorite lakefront trails. Ellie seemed to love the limelight and did not shy away from my camera one bit, even if she prefers quick transitions—there’s just so much to see and do between naps! How is a girl going to get it all in? 

Chicago Lakefront Family Photos

This warm summer day was a dream! We had a soft, grassy lawn to spread out a cute gingham picnic blanket, and Ellie loved showing off her crawling skills to pick flowers. After a few more snuggles with Mom and giggles with Dad, our birthday session was a wrap!

I look forward to watching this sweet baby girl grow with more milestone family sessions to come. Happy first birthday, precious Ellie!

How to Get the Most out of Your Child’s Birthday Session

Want to make the most of your baby’s first birthday session? Here are a few ways to get wall-worthy family photos during your milestone photoshoots:

Build in a Backdrop Change

A change of scenery adds more variety to your photos, and it can be a great boredom buster or fussiness fighter for little ones, too. It’s not uncommon for younger children to get a bit antsy as the session progresses. Changing things up is almost always a great solution. After some time at home, a waterfront walk kept the fun going for sweet Ellie, and they got a ton of cozy in-home and vibrant outdoor portraits. 

Incorporate an Activity

Babies and toddlers are curious, so let them show off that fun, creative spirit during your session. Some activities include unwrapping a gift or two, building blocks, a cake smash, outdoor exploration, a picnic, a tickle session, finger painting, leaf jumping, etc. The key is to stay on the simpler side so we can easily add it into our session time. 

Don’t Force it

Are most kids as stubborn as mine? The more you push, the harder they dig in. A shot list might be great for larger families or event photography, but that may go out the window when it’s just you and your little one(s). If they just won’t have a certain pose or spot for one reason or another, that’s okay! We can change it up. I love Ellie’s session so much because we were able to capture some absolutely beautiful, priceless shots while they did their thing. They played with their sweet pup, sang, and chatted with Ellie on the window sill. We can take it slow to allow those moments (soon-to-be sweet memories) to unfold. In my opinion, keeping it real is the best way to capture those beautiful moments organically, and you will end up with photos that genuinely depict that stage or milestone.

Chicago Lifestyle Family Photographer

Does your little one have a big birthday coming up? Or maybe you need updated family pictures? I would love to be your Chicago family photographer! Browse the blog for more family photography resources, or get in touch with any questions. I’d love to meet you!

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