First Birthday Portrait Session on Naperville's Riverwalk

The first birthday of your little bundle of joy is something that every parent wants to make memorable and special.

Taking photographs is a fantastic way to capture their personalities and excitement on their first birthday! Babies at this age are precious, and while they won't personally remember the occasion, you certainly will! As a parent myself, I've felt like my kids are growing up in a blink of an eye and I remember vividly their first birthday sessions.


Time moves fast, and years down the road, you'll be happy that you have such unique photographs to remember this moment. Since first birthdays are such a special occasion, you'll want to pick the perfect location to hold your photo shoot, which is why I love recommending Naperville's Riverwalk.

Naperville Riverwalk Is the Perfect Portrait Location

The reason why I suggest using the Naperville Riverwalk as the backdrop to your little one's first birthday portrait session is because it's a naturally beautiful spot offering both downtown and natural views. I have two walks for standard Riverwalk sessions, a city walk and a natural walk.


The natural walk offers open views of the brick path as it meanders through the tree lines. The park offers hardscape gardens with vine covered trellises, and a fountain lined with benches. It’s more secluded than the section in downtown Naperville, giving you more privacy and less interruption from passersby.

I photographed this sweet family on the Naperville Riverwalk, at Fredenhagen Park and celebrated their daughter's 1st birthday with an early evening spring session. This beautiful little girl was perfectly captured with the natural beauty of the Naperville Riverwalk. The pictures are vibrant as a result of the sun drenched session we had.

To help make the kiddos comfortable, we begin most sessions with the family and create some memorable photographs full of love, laughter, and happiness. I like to use the brick path in the trees, the visual lines are fantastic and we get a little shade.

Once she became a little more comfortable, Mom and Dad jumped out and we caught some beautiful first birthday portraits. This allows us to integrate simple props.

Our chippy white chair allows the little girl to steady herself.

As we continue down the path, the covered footbridge adds some fun texture and geometry for backgrounds for more first birthday family portraits.

To complete the session and celebrate her birthday, we ended with a some smash cake portraits. We kept it simple with a cupcake from SmallCakes in Naperville along with a small bunch of color-coordinated balloons. We used the purple blooms of the tree as a natural backdrop and the golden hour light enhanced for these shots.


Mom and Dad cheered her on by bringing some energy and excitement to the party.

The entire session took forty five minutes. I always try to have fun with the family to produce some candid portraits and we can naturally grab formal portraits too. I offer various packages and time to ensure that your toddler is not overwhelmed from the session length.

Tips for Your Baby's First Birthday Portrait Session

Photographing your baby's first birthday is so essential because it marks an important milestone in your child's life. If you're booked and ready to go, remember these tips for an extraordinary portrait session.

• Outdoor sessions keep the portraits natural and organic in how they evolve. Pick a location that matches your style, and be ready to explore the environment.

• Select props to use from my catalog! For this session, we used; a white chippy chair, a cake stand, balloons, and the natural scenery of the location. However, if there is a particular item that will keep your baby relaxed and calm, bring it along for the shoot!

• Smash cake or cupcakes, I can manage the custom treats for you or bring your own, and expect your baby to get messy! No one year old's birthday is complete without getting frosting on their hands, face, feet, lips, and every little wrinkle. Bring extra wipes and a plastic bag for their dirty clothes.

• Balloons are a festive element and add great texture and color to the scene. Bring your own or I offer organic balloon arches or helium bunches! A single air filled balloon for them to play with makes it fun too.


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