Today’s post is a re-post from last year, we thought these helpful tips would inspire you to take some great back to school photos!
Written by: Angie Arthur
co-founder of I Heart Faces
It’s definitely that time of year again, isn’t it? Children, young college students and even older adults are heading back to school again…whether it be to the local public school, a private university or even being schooled in their own homes.
In the midst of the stress of school supplies shopping, bulking up the children’s school wardrobe, attending open houses, meeting new teachers and all the other minute details that need to be taken care of before school starts…have you ever considered the importance of using your camera to capture those little details while you’re experiencing them?
Just from a quick photo shoot I did yesterday, here are some ways I decided to capture the whole “Back To School” experience.
Capturing the Back To School Shopping Extravaganza
Take a moment to remember back to when your next year of school was gearing up to get started again. The excitement of new crayons, a sparkling clean backpack, checking out all of the cool goodies in the store and then heading back home to carefully pack up your new supplies box so that everything would fit perfectly. These might not be award winning photography moments…but what a fun way to remember what your children were like at that point in their lives.
Don’t forget the Clothing Shopping Extravaganza as well. New shoes! New first-day-of-school outfit! New backpack! All very exciting happenings to those young ones in your life.
One perfect shot that I missed during this whole chaotic excursion? I should have handed the camera to one of my kids so that they could have captured the typical “Frazzled Mommy – I’m Losing My Mind!” moment. Now that would be a memory I’d like to have around for the rest of my life…or not.
Capturing the Whole Clan
Photographing a group of children is always an experience, to say the least. Trying to capture your own children…all at once..there are no words for that experience.
I do my best though each year to try to get at least one shot of them all acting at least slightly normal.
And then I end up with about 16 million other shots like this one:
That’s why I think it’s always a great option just to go with the feet…you get to capture those brand-new “back to school” shoes and you don’t have to be driven crazy by the variety of faces your children are making at you.
Capturing The Individual Child
Each year I make sure that I get my children up early enough on the first day of school so that I can do a mini-shoot with each of them. Even though it’s a bit stressful to add that in on that already busy day, you can’t beat the joy and excitement that is just pouring out of them. This is a time when you can focus in on all the little bits that make your child unique that day…the new pair of shoes, the pretty little flowers on her shirt, her fancy hair-do, what she is doing with her hands, the cool new backpack she picked out, etc.
I always do several fun, casual portrait shots as well. It’s amazing to look back each year and see how much they have grown from one first day of school to the next…
And the purely candid moments…ahhh. I think I love those above all others!
More Back To School Ideas
- Capturing Your Traditions – any special “back to school” traditions that your family has (ie. getting a milkshake after you’ve completed your big shopping excursion, having a family movie night on your last “free” evening as a family, etc.)
- The Bus Ride – walking down the driveway to wait for the bus, each child standing next to their new bus driver, stepping onto the bus, waiting for the driver to signal them to cross the street, etc.
- Teacher Gifts – photograph each child holding a little treat that they can give to their teacher on the first day of school
- Craft Nights – there are so many fun crafts you can make together that they can use for school…be sure to check out Amy’s site for creative back to school free ideas.
- Plan Ahead! To have time to do all of this on the first day of school, you will need to plan ahead. Have outfits picked out, backpacks ready to go, lunches packed and wake the kids up earlier than usual so you’ll have time to relax and enjoy the shoot together.
- Calming Influence – for the mini-shoots, my main tips would be to stay calm, relax and have fun with each of your children. While portraits are wonderful to capture, it’s the spontaneous moments that will probably end up being your favorites.
- Coordinating The Outfits – I do my best to coordinate my children’s outfits when I am doing a photo shoot with all of them. I’m not sure how much longer my oldest son will go for that, but I’ll keep doing it for as long as I possibly can! Makes for much nicer group shots. **Added Note from Angie: My style has changed quite a bit from last year when these photos were all taken. Now, I would never buy completely matching outfits for a photo session any longer. I’d much rather choose clothing that coordinates with one another (with a similar color running through the outfits, etc.) rather than clothes that are so matchy-matchy.
As a mom of four children who are being schooled in the local public school, my way of capturing the whole “Back to School” experience is unique to our schooling situation. My hope is that many of these ideas might help you think outside-the-box a bit as your family begins to gear up for whatever schooling situation you have in your home.
Most of all…just remember to capture those details! The little bit of time and effort it will take you to do so now will be greatly appreciated by you and your family for years to come.
Don’t miss Amy’s great round-up of back to school FREE printables!
Tell us about your “Back To School” traditions in the comments section below.
Angie is a happily married mom of four who is thinking about having her camera permanently attached to her hand. This summer she’s enjoying hanging out at the lake with her kids (where she is thrilled that they now have Wi-Fi!) while sipping on a Diet Coke and playing with her iPhone. You can find her at The Arthur Clan, Angie Arthur Photography or right here as the co-founder of I Heart Faces.
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