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The Cutest 21st Birthday Photoshoot Ideas

A 21st birthday is a big event in anyone’s life. Hello, legal drinking age.

That’s a huge moment. Everyone remembers the very first time that they ever walked into a bar or a club. To be honest, there will be a lot to remember from this significant birthday. 

The Cutest 21st Birthday Photoshoot Ideas

You’ve probably already got the cake sorted, and the birthday party or event. I’m guessing the presents are wrapped and waiting too now. You’re pretty much all sorted to make this the best birthday bash yet. 

But there’s one last thing you’ll want to plan meticulously. The photoshoot – obviously. 

I can guarantee you that your newly 21-year-old wants some banging (youngster speak for really good) photos to upload to the ‘gram (Instagram) on the big day.

And so you need to be prepared with supplies, knowledge of angles and lighting (they’ll guide you don’t worry), the whole shebang. 

Below you’ll find some inspiration for some of the best 21st-birthday photoshoot ideas that are worthy of social media posting! 

21st Photoshoot Ideas

The Big Baloon Numbers

I couldn’t recommend purchasing yourself a big 2 and 1 balloon enough, for young adolescents these are just as essential as candles on a birthday cake. 

You can get these balloons in a variety of different colors, such as blue and pink. But you can also opt for a more neutral color such as silver if you want to ensure they’ll match the birthday girl or boy’s outfit. 

Take care to make sure that the balloons don’t outshine the birthday person. I’d suggest placing a few regular balloons behind them as well as keeping the backdrop simple and uncluttered. 

Birthday Person Holding Their Cake

No birthday is complete without a birthday cake right? Well, why not get a photo of the birthday girl or boy with their cake?

Ideally, it should be decorated in a manner that screams I’ve just turned 21. I’d opt for a 21 cake topper, though numbered candles will do the job equally well. 

However, don’t try to take this photo just after you’ve all sung happy birthday and the candles have been blown out.

We all know how awkward we get when that happens, you’re photos won’t be at their most natural then. 

I’d say surprising them in the morning when they’re in their birthday PJs is always a cute look. Just give all girls prior warning to do their makeup if they wear it often – or it’ll never find its way onto the socials. 

Fill The Bath With Balloons And Decorations

Fun and quirky, a balloon-filled tub is a great way to get a birthday pic. Just be sure to cram in quite a few different decorations too.

A happy birthday sign will be an absolute must, and to give the photo a more rebellious look, you’ll definitely want a sparkly bottle of alcohol featured in there somewhere. 

Super Sparklers

For girls, a sparkly photoshoot will never go down a miss. The aim here is to get the birthday girl into one of her most glitzy, glamorous, and sparkly dresses.

Then you’ll hand her some sparklers to create a very moody, broody, and beautiful image. 

This one is better to do in the evenings since you’ll want the light and dark contrast but trust me, you’ll get such a better and more interesting photo from using sparklers as opposed to candles. 

It is worth noting that photographing fire isn’t always the easiest. Using semi-automatic mode or manual mode will create better results than using automatic.

If photography is something you struggle with, you could always book a professional photographer instead. 

Buy Themed Champagne Balloons

Since your birthday person is now of legal drinking age, you won’t find a more fitting decoration than some booze-themed balloons.

And they work wonders for any photoshoot. Just be sure to opt for helium balloons to get that floating effect. 

You can do indoor or outdoor photoshoots with these but just be aware of the weather. Wind will blow them all over the place and they won’t survive long in the sun either.

So, you’ll need to be quick and effective when shooting outdoors. 

Paper Confetti Shower

Pictures in motion always look better than stand-still frames. I think it just dissipates some of the awkwardness. And you won’t get a better pic than a confetti shower. 

It’s pretty simple and easy to recreate too. Perfect for those who want a great 21st pic on a budget. 

All you need to do is save up a whole lot of paper confetti, ideally in several different colors. That is unless there is a block color that suits the theme or style of the party.

Then simply capture the moment as the birthday person throws the confetti into the air. 

Use Color Smoke Bombs

If you really want to go all out with an amazing photo, then why not get a smoke bomb in the birthday person’s favorite color? Ideally, they’ll be matching the bomb and outfit together for a coordinated pic. 

However, it is important to note that smoke bombs are not toys. They need to be handled with caution and care to ensure that no one gets hurt.

Ensuring there is nothing flammable within the immediate vicinity is an absolute must. 

Personally, while I do think these make some of the best pictures, that is often only the case with the use of a professional photographer.

If this is your vision, I would advise hiring a professional as the quality will be much better and generally the photo shoot will be much safer. 

Picnic & Props

Sometimes, all the birthday girl or boy wants is a simplistic pic surrounded by all of their very best friends. And this can be easily achieved. All you really need is a picnic blanket, a few pillows, plates, and glasses. 

Everyone can gather together then and the smiles can be the main star of the show.

Typically there should still be something subtle in the photo to show that it’s a 21st birthday picture though. It could be a little sign, a birthday sash, a cake at the picnic table, anything really. 

Final Thoughts

There is no way that you can let a 21st birthday pass without capturing a few pictures throughout the day. They are definitely memories that you’ll want to keep forever. 

With that being said though, nobody wants an awkward or heaven forbid, bad-looking, birthday picture.

Simply smiling in front of a camera lens isn’t going to cut it – especially if you want them to boast these pictures across their social media. 

Luckily, though, as you’ve seen from this article, creating those stunning pictures really isn’t all that difficult.

All it takes is a few props and a little attention on the birthday person and you’re pretty much good to go. 

A good thing to remember is that pictures in motion always look better than stiff and rigid poses. You want them to look as natural as possible.

And, of course, there is the standard photoshoot rule of taking loads of pictures. Take as many as necessary, I promise the birthday person will appreciate having several to choose from. 

Simon Lewis

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