Do's and Don't of Back to School Photos
Summer is almost over! Can you believe it?
We are here getting ready for the school year once again. With our school supplies shopping and making lists of things we need to do before school.
The top of my list is taking timeless authentic Back to School photographs of my kids. I have been taking the Back to School pictures of my daughter since she was a kindergartner and I cannot say enough about what a treasure it is. To watch her grow through those pictures is absolutely heart melting.
In this blog I will go over how I photograph my littles for their Back to School photographs and I hope you will find creating timeless images is actually not that hard!
I cannot stress this enough! Planning is the key to a fun and relaxing photoshoot. Photographing your child on the exact first day of school, when you already have a bajillion other things to juggle is a recipe for disaster.
And all those beautiful smiling pictures you see on your social media, they are all taken well in advance and just posted on the day of.
Now that we have the expectations taken care of, let's actually plan.
Pick a day, well before the first day of school, when you will have a lot of time to have fun and do a little photoshoot of your kids.
Think about all the props and prompts you will need.
Think about their outfits.
Think about the location where you will photograph them.
Do you want to include their siblings, pets, favorite book? Think about everything you will need, make a list and get them ready way before you will holler kids for the photoshoot.
Choose fun colors
I am passionate about colors, hence dedicated a section to them. Colors can make or break a picture. Colors can instill emotions and colors can draw nostalgia. When I am photographing my kids, I don’t care whether they look at the camera or not, but I care about what colors they are wearing.
Hues Red, orange and yellow can depict youth, happiness and joy.
Blues and greens infuse a sense of calmness.
Think about your child’s personality, what is the story you wish to tell with your photographs? Choose the colors that feel true to your child.
And here are the colors you should avoid because of the terrible color cast they will cause:
Hot Pink, all Neon colors or any bright shiny colors that reflect color back on your child's face/neck. No amount of post processing can completely remove that color cast.
Include their favorite things
What is the one, sure-shot way to grab your child’s attention? Include their favorite toys, books, loveys or games. Ask them questions about their favorite toy/book/game, they will have so many stories to tell and so many emotions to portray, from joy to wonder to excitement. And the best of all, you will have their undivided attention!
At this time they won’t care about the camera pointing to their faces, they will be so engrossed in the story they are trying to tell and this is exactly what you want to photograph and remember forever!
Little kids don’t like to sit still and they shouldn’t be forced to sit still either!
When their stories are over, ask them how their favorite superhero jumps or how their favorite princess twirls. Play the game of tickle monster or peek-a-boo. Let them move, jiggle or dance. Just go with their flow. They always love it when mom or dad join their silly games. Make it a fun photoshoot so they will ask for it over and over again!
Don’t force smile
If you take just one thing from this blog, let it be this. Don’t ever force the kids to smile for the camera and try to refrain from using “say cheeseeeee”
I have never met one kid that will give you their beautiful genuine smile when you say those dreaded two words!
And kids have such beautiful emotions to share with you, their eyes have so many stories to tell, why settle for a fake smile?
10 years from now you would do anything to have a photograph of their “concentration” face with their little tongue sticking out, isn’t it?
Get in Close
I love a beautiful environmental portrait of a little kid in a big world. But do you know what else I love even more? A picture of their cute little details.
Get closer and photograph their deep eyes, get a snapshot of the little curl and their hands! I love little hands doing big things. And soon they will not be little anymore! So get as many details as you can get. These will be such beautiful reminders.
Lastly and most importantly, be quick! Kids have a short attention span and forcing them beyond 10 minutes is only going to create more tears for them and frustration for you! Get a lot of pictures of their activities, keep shooting between all the games and questions and be done at the 10 minute mark, even if you did not get what you were looking for. You can always try again! You know what's even better? Take a 10 minute break, play a game with them, they will be so much more likely to cooperate with you when you have given your undivided attention to them, even if it was just for 10 minutes.
I hope this was helpful! These little treasures of back-to-school photos will bring a smile to your and little one’s face for the years to come!