Back to School Photos: 5 Tips to help you capture the moment and tell your story

Back to school photos. We may celebrate the beginning of the school year in different ways, but there’s one thing every mama I know is doing on the first day of school and that is taking pictures of her kiddos! The first day of school picture is a tradition I love and I want to share with you some ideas to help you take back to your first day of school photos yet!

5 Tips for Back to School Photos that Tell Your Story

  1. Give your self extra time to take photos on the first day of school. There’s nothing worse than being late on the first day of school so give yourself plenty of time to take the traditional first day of school photos. Make sure your prepared any signs or printable signs you’ll need for your first day of school photos ahead of time. You can even download and print these back to school printable signs now. I always take a few photos of my kids on the first day holding a printable sign with the grade they’re entering (you can download your printable signs here!). I also get a photo of them with a chalkboard sign or letter board that says what they want to be when they grow up. I love seeing how this changes from year to year!
  2. Choose a simple back drop. For those first day of school photos with the signs I want the focus of these photos to be on my kids so I look for a really simple back drop. I typically use our front door as the back drop for the first day of school photos, but you could also use a simple tree or other greenery, or even your garage door. Just look for something simple that won’t distract from your child as the focal point of the picture.
  3. Pay attention to lighting. Because these photos center around the first day of school you typically don’t have a whole lot of control over the lighting. For the shots where you can control or choose your lighting I recommend looking for open shade- areas that are shaded but still provide plenty of light for your photo. Finding that open shade and then facing your subject towards the light is a great way to light up their face and eyes and capture beautiful catchlights in their eyes. This is going to give you nice even lighting in your first day of school photos and help to avoid harsh shadows on the face and squinty eyes.  Most likely you’re dealing with bright morning sun for many of the shots you want to take. That’s ok too! Make the most of the light you have for your photos. The bright morning light is still great for capturing those detail, story telling shots.
  4. Take photos that tell the story. In addition to the cute portrait style photos with their grade level signs, look to take back to school photos that tell the story of that first day. These will be much more candid in nature and aren’t something you need to worry about finding the perfectly lit spot for your photo, instead be present in the moment and record it as it happens.
  5. Photograph the little moments that help tell your story.
  • Shopping for School supplies
  • The walk up to the school or in front of the school building. I love getting a shot of my kids from behind with their new backpacks.
  • Greeting friends on the first day of school- capture that joyous reunion after summer break.
  • Meeting their teacher and getting settled into their new classroom.
  • And one of my favorites, the after school shot- you know when they’ve played hard on the playground and come home looking slightly disheveled.