Summer break is winding down in my neck of the woods. Family vacations, summer camps, and lazy mornings are over and tomorrow is the first day of school. This is met with much jubilation at my house, and I am not being sarcastic. My girls are ready to have some space away from each other (though I have to say that this summer has been one of the better ones as far as spontaneous sib spats go) and I am ready to get back to a more structured routine. In fact, school begins tomorrow, and first day of school photos have been on my mind as I’ve watched some of my friends’ kids hop on the school bus via Instagram and Facebook over the past few weeks. As a result, I am sharing 3 tips for better first day photos here on the blog today.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead!
I’ll be honest: the first school morning is usually a little chaotic at my house. I have high hopes for an organized morning tomorrow, which includes making plenty of time for first day photos with the big camera. Whether you are using a point and shoot, phone, or DSLR, plan ahead for the best results. Make sure everyone knows what they are going to wear (and where it all is) beforehand. You might also want to make your kids aware of the morning plan. For example, I make sure my kids know that I am planning on taking a photo (or 2 or 7) before school. They like to know what to expect. I plan to take their photos before we leave, but after they’ve eaten breakfast and brushed teeth. This isn’t a full blown portrait session, so I just carve out 10 to 15 minutes to take a few photos of my kids before they start to get impatient.
Tip #2: Location, Location, Location!
Where are you planning to take your first day photos? At home? At the bus stop? At the school itself? Wherever your location, be aware of where the sun is located and how it affects your photo. I’ll never forget the photo I took of my daughter on her first day of kindergarten. I was in a hurry to take her picture before school, so I grabbed my camera and snapped her photo without paying any attention to the lighting and how it hit her face. Imagine my disappointment when I looked at the photo a little later…the light was so harsh and she was completely washed out. Some of the details were forever lost. I’ve scouted around my yard since then, finding locations with more flattering light. If you are planning to take your photo at the school, keep in mind that there will be other parents trying to do the same thing and many things vying for your child’s attention…be prepared to work quickly, thus preserving the sanity of both you and your child!
There are so many fun ways to represent the occasion of the first day photo. The simplest way is to have your child hold up the same number of fingers as their grade. This takes zero prep time and looks great. It’s also easy to maintain consistency of style if you have multiple kids returning to school. If you prepare ahead of time, there are tons of free printables online with nice lettering and charming graphics. Make sure the printable you choose is for the appropriate school year before you print. I love the idea of using a basic spiral notebook with the grade and year written in bright marker on one of the pages. Using sidewalk chalk and some concrete or pavement is another fun way to get creative and supply some details about this big day. And, of course, there’s always the option of adding text to your photo later using a photo editing program. Have fun with it! I started a board over on Pinterest…head here to see some fun ideas and maybe come up with some awesome creativity of your own.
Happy back to school!