Back-to-school time is here, and the excitement is in the air. New school supplies, new teachers, new and old friendsoh, and back to that early morning routine! In the midst of all this chaos, it can be hard to capture truly unique first-day-of-school photos. Up your first-day photo quality, and lower your stress with these tips and ideas:
1. Plan it at least a week out. Decide when you will take them (Morning before school? After school? At home? At school?), and build time into your schedule. Make sure you have all your required equipment, props and charged batteries ready to go the night before.
2. Shoot twice. Shoot in the morning and then again after school. If things get too crazy the first morning, you”ll have a backup. They both count as back-to-school, right
3. Consider doing a back-to-school interview the day before. Ask kids about their favorites, their dreams and ambitions, and photograph them holding up their answers. You”ll have the photo and the actual interview as keepsakes. Not only will the answers change year to year, but so will their handwriting.
4. Use one of the many free printables that say “First day of 1st grade, etc.” and bring it to school with you. Your child will have fun holding up that sign with friends and creating a memory of who their school friends were. Remember to snap some photos without the signs. Years from now, we might find those signs cheesy.
5. Pick a consistent location. If possible, shoot all your first and last day of school photos at the same spot in your home, with something in the background for scale. It will be fun to see your child get taller and taller over the years.
6. Allow your child to hold a cherished object in the photo. That will tell you more about the child’s life at that time. Perhaps it is a stuffie, or a doll, or a bike, or a bat.
7. Get into the picture yourself! Snap a selfie, or give the camera to a spouse, older kid or another parent at school to click. Photos of your children will be cherished for your lifetime, photos that include their parents will be cherished for three lifetimes: yours, your children’s and their children’s.
8. Print Print Print! Don’t let those images just live on your electronic device. Be sure to print them out, even if it’s just some 4×6’s to put on the fridge or to send to grandparents.
Natascha is a family photographer based in Denver. She specializes in joyful and vibrant portraits. NataschaLeeStudios.com.
This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2016.