5 Tips for a Great First Day of School Photo

First Day of School Photo Tips

The summer has flown by and soon (if you haven’t already) you’ll be shopping for school supplies and back to school clothes in anticipation of the first day of school. There are a number of traditions that families have prior to or on the first day of school, but one of the most popular is the first day of school photograph. Here are a few tips for capturing a great first day photo!

  1. Time it well. The first day of school may be a hectic one, so try to think about the best time to take your picture. If your child is anxious about the first day, getting a shot right before they get on the bus may only add to the anticipation. Instead try taking the picture when they get home from school or with sibling. Nothing says this has to be a posed shot, too, sometimes the best pictures are candid!
  2. Choose a background: It’s often fun to take your child’s first day of school picture in the same spot, or doing the same thing, each year. Have your child pose on your front stoop, by a tree in your front yard, or snap them getting on or off the bus. By doing the same location each year will make it easy to see how much they’ve grown when you compare photos side by side. Try to choose a neutral background (grass, brick, etc.) so the focus of the picture is on your child.
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  3. Choose a prop: Having a prop of some kind is another fun way to add to the picture. If you peruse Pinterest you’ll see all sorts of ideas for posters and chalkboards displaying stats such as grade, likes/dislikes, etc. These are easily purchased or created at home. You can also choose your child’s favorite stuffed animal to be photographed with, too, for example.
  4. Check the lighting. Lighting can really do a number on a shot. Try to choose a spot where the sun is not directly in your child’s eyes, or they are backlit. I love to use natural light when I can, and even try to use the sun as an artistic element in the photo when possible.
  5. Frame it well. It goes without saying that obviously you are going to get your child in the actual photograph but capturing the most natural looking shot sometimes takes a little more effort. I was given the advice not to “chop off any limbs” in my frame and it stuck with me. Either choose to have your child’s entire body in the shot, or frame it so the picture cuts off at natural spots. For example, if you’re photographing your child’s upper body, frame it so it ends at his hip versus mid thigh. Taking just a couple of extra seconds to properly frame the shot can make a big difference later!

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