But with the advancement in phone cameras and the shift from amateur to capable photographers, that iconic picture has gone from a last-minute, front porch snap to a fully planned production… complete with chalkboard lists, professional signs, and staged poses.
Our friends at SmugMug – the largest independent photo-sharing site in the world – have compiled a list of tips to make sure all the effort you put into the first-day-of-school photo shoot results in the perfect snapshots to share with your friends and family.
… Or, as perfect as it can be when you’re working with children. 🙂
Choose the right light
Aim for natural light. Taking snapshots in the living room can turn out dark and cast shadows across your child’s face. If you’re using a flash, avoid getting too close or your child will look more like Casper the Friendly Ghost than a fresh-faced kindergartner.
An outdoor photo will most likely look great, and as an extra benefit, you may find your child is more calm and less antsy posing out in the natural world.
Keep it neutral
To keep the spotlight on the star of the photo shoot, choose a neutral the background. Avoid positioning your child in front of wild patterns, busy signs, or cluttered furniture, especially if you’re using props. If you love the idea of using a prop, such as the chalkboard prop below, be sure to keep it simple and as little a distraction as possible.
In addition to a full head-to-toe shot, get a close-up of your child’s face, so you can remember what he or she looked like during that time of life. The missing teeth, the freckles, the ringlet curls…. these are all aspects you’ll want to preserve just as much as that butterfly backpack she had to have for second grade.
Keep the awesome outtakes
Don’t stress if Junior spills his milk on his brand new pants or if Sally rips the bow out of her hair. Sometimes the unplanned messes make for the most fun pictures and memories. Sibling antics, bed head, or the we’re-late-for-the-bus-already photos will serve as reminders of this time in your life. You’ll be sure to look back and smile… or marvel at how you managed with those crazy school mornings.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but have fun. Talk to your child during the photo shoot to capture natural reactions, like laughter, smiles and, yes, even, a frown that you’ll laugh about later.