7 tips for great back to school photos

family portrait of young boy

August 12, 2018

I’m Dana.
I'm a high school senior and personal branding photographer in sunny Northern California. I help my clients to step into their greatness so we can capture their beauty - inside and out.
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Can you believe that kids are headed back to school already? You know what that means – new school supplies, fresh haircuts, first day outfit, homemade lunches and photos!

I know you’ve got the first four things covered. Here are some tips to help you get some great photos of your little ones.

1. Find good light

A good photo is all about the light. I’m talking about nice, even light on your child’s entire body. You don’t want speckled light, which creates bright spots on their faces and/or bodies. Place your child under the shade of your front porch or a nearby tree. If there’s nothing to block the bright sun, face their backs to the sun so they aren’t squinting to see you.

2. Same location, same pose

Take the photo in the same place each year. Some of my favorite locations are on my front porch, in my backyard and next to my mailbox or a tree. These places give a great frame of reference and can show how much your child has grown throughout the years.

3. Shoot from above

I’m always standing on rocks, tables or steps. I look for anything that will allow me to be tall enough to point my camera downwards towards their faces. You could also have them sit on the ground or in a chair. For younger kids, shooting from above looks so cute because it emphasizes their small size. It also makes them look upwards. This brings light into their eyes and creates that magic sparkle.

4. Pay attention to their hands

When people have something to do with their hands, they automatically look more relaxed. Have your child hold school books, a lunch box or a backpack. I love including a mini chalkboard with their grade and the year. For example, “1st grade Aug 2018”. For a relaxed look, have them put hands on hips or thumbs in pants pockets. If you have multiple children, getting them snuggled close with arms around each other is super sweet.

5. Pay attention to the details

Take some close ups of the little details – faces, shoes, backpacks and lunch boxes. Choose an outfit with bright colors. A pop of color adds excitement and creates a more vibrant image. And clear the clutter. You can either move distracting objects or position your child so that the distraction is not in your photo.

6. Do your homework

Around our house, the first day of school is always chaotic. To make photo taking quick and easy, I scout out a location the day before, close to the same time that I’ll be taking the photo. Then I know where the sunny and shady spots are so that I can quickly place them in good locations.

7. Make it fun

And most importantly, make it fun for them. Tell them how awesome they are and how great they look. Everyone loves positive reinforcement! Have your camera ready so you can capture those in between moments when their true personalities shine through.

And once you’ve gotten them off to school, take a deep breath and relax. It’s going to be okay ?

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