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Pinterest-Inspired First Birthday Photoshoot Fail


I planned my daughter’s first birthday photo shoot months in advance. Everything was set, from her dress and props to the smash cake. I even made my husband plan his outfit so we could take family photos with our dogs.

Then, the week of the photoshoot, my Baby G got a runny nose type of cold and a tooth decided to cut through her upper gums. She was cranky, but I didn’t want to reschedule, so I forged ahead with crossed fingers.

Mistake number one: Attempting a photoshoot when baby is under the weather.

Mistake number two: Not trying on her dress before the day of the pictures.

I bought her a big frilly, pink tutu dress with cupcakes on it earlier in the summer. It was too big then, but I figured she would grow into it. Great plan, but it didn’t happen. My daughter is very tall and thin, so a lot of baby clothes for her age don’t fit well. I find that most clothes are made for chubby babies. This was the case with her cupcake dress. It was too big. Of course, I realized this one hour before the photographer was scheduled to arrive at our house. Thankfully, I have a closet full of tutu dresses. I averted a panic attack by putting on a 9-month ombre tutu dress she wore to meet the Easter Bunny and hoped no one would notice, until now, as I point it out. I also dressed her in the special “one” outfit she’ll be wearing for her birthday party.

Mistake number three: Not visiting the photoshoot location ahead of time.

I planned to shoot the photos on the playground at the elementary school across from our house because it has a nice background of green grass and tall trees. But when we arrived, we noticed that there was no shade. It was way too sunny and we had to quickly scout a new location.

Mistake number four: Scheduling the photoshoot close to nap time.

I had a feeling that 2 p.m. was not the ideal time to get my baby in a good mood, but I had to work around the photographer’s availability. I hoped that after her morning nap and lunch, my daughter would be in play mode at 2 p.m. and then take her afternoon nap at home. It probably would have worked out that way if she was feeling well.  However, she was cranky the whole shoot and didn’t crack a smile once. She wouldn’t even eat her smash cake!

We tried our best and called it a day. As soon as we got home, Baby G fell asleep for two hours.

Lesson learned.

Moving forward, first birthday photoshoot tips:

  • Make sure your baby doesn’t have a cold
  • Schedule for early morning, after breakfast and a good night’s sleep
  • Scout your location
  • Try on her outfit a week before and have backups
  • Test out her palette and see if she even likes cake.

After her good nap, I set up a mini shoot outside our house and as luck would have it, she smiled and played. She still wouldn’t eat sweets– we tried a donut– but at least I got some good shots.


And the professional photographer posted one picture as a preview, and it turned out amazing, so I have hope for the rest!


This entry was posted in: DIY


Navigating life as a wife, mommy of two babies (Genevieve-3, Luca-infant) and two rescued fur-babies (Lulu and Gracey), and full-time public relations maven. I got divorced in my 20s and wrote a book about it (, have Epstein Barr Virus/chronic fatigue syndrome/ Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, live in a renovated log cabin in NJ, can't cook, quit breastfeeding after four weeks and have no regrets, taught my daughter to say "tattoo" and recognize diamonds before she turned one, call soap operas as my guilty pleasure, and have a little rainbow baby boy who adores his sister. Instagram @ hellojoelle Twitter @ChippedNailsMom Email chippedpolishandpattycake at

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