If you are a photographer parent, or a photographer who shoots event and birthdays, you will inevitably need to know how to take great pictures of children blowing out their birthday candles.
Although it might seem like a challenging task at hand, taking birthday candle pictures is honestly very simple! With the right knowledge of camera settings and lighting, taking birthday cake pictures will be a breeze.
Let’s go through the basics, shall we?
Step 1: Set your camera to manual
Putting your camera in manual setting is such an import part of this process. This way, you will have complete control over the settings for the optimal birthday cake photo!
Step 2: Turn off all the lights
If you are wishing to capture the ambient glow of the birthday candles of your sweet one’s face, then turning off the lights will set the scene.
If you are taking these pictures during the evening when it’s dark, having a small light on nearby will help you with your focus. Otherwise, taking the pictures closer to dusk will create a dark look without having focus issues.
Step 3: Crank that ISO!
Yes, you read that right. Since we won’t be using flash at all, you might need to shoot at a higher ISO than you are comfortable with.
While it might not seem ideal, raising your ISO will help compensate for the low light scene to capture those soft, beautiful orangey tones of the birthday candles.
Don’t be scared of noise in your images, they will add to the mood of the photo, and don’t forget that you can always help reduce it in your post-processing.
Step 4: Adjust your settings
Now that you have cranked up your ISO much more than your usual liking, you will need to find a shutter speed and aperture that corresponds with the action of blowing out candles.
If you want the candle light to be more in focus during this quick opportunity, choose a high shutter speed to capture the action.
Camera settings: ISO 800, f1.4, 1/250
Step 5: Practice the shot!
Since this is such a fleeting moment that usually can’t be redone, it’s always a good idea to set up your camera settings and practice ahead of time.
While you don’t need to light the candles on the cake for this test shot, you can use a regular candle or similar object (such as a dim lamp or string lights) in the lighting you’ll be shooting in.
Once you nail the test shot, you are prepped for the main event, are you ready?
Now grab your Birthday kid, light the candles, and prepare yourself to take some amazing keepsake photos to enjoy for a lifetime!