Back to School Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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.

Back to School Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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.


Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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.

Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

And then I end up with about 16 million other shots like this one:

Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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. :)

Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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.

Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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…

Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

And the purely candid moments…ahhh. I think I love those above all others!

Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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.  :)

Back to School Photography Tips & Photo Ideas. iHeartFaces.com

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 Arthur Photography - Northeast Ohio 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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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy McCready August 27, 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL PHOTOS…thanks to I Heart Faces for these cute ideas for your Back to School pics. What creative… http://t.co/QvNSGttF

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Amy McCready August 23, 2012

do you take back to school photos of your kids each year? Here are some great ideas from @iHeartFaces http://t.co/oN3tVeH6

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Steph Atterbury August 16, 2011

Love these ideas! My camera skills aren’t great but, feel armed to take another go at it tomorrow on the 2nd day. Thanks!

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Cheryl August 13, 2011

Ideas for Back to School Photos via @iheartfaces: http://t.co/F63jeiu

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Pam August 12, 2011

Oh wow! What a great idea! I LOVE this. I wonder though, how long before my boys will think it is no longer “cool” to do! Ha! Thankfully they are 5, 3 and 1 right now, so I think I have some time! Thanks for posting this very cool idea!!!! =)

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Janet August 12, 2011

We have a traditional back to school breakfast. We used to all gather at the McDonalds, but as our family has grown we decided to do it at my house this year with my WONDERFUL husband cooking! We were starting to get some strange looks at McDonalds as I was running around taking pics….. So between our kids, the grandkids, the neices and nephews we hade quite a gathering, The kids all look forward to it and they all know that there will be a photo shoot at the end as well as crazy Mom, Nana and Aunt Janet running around while everyone is eating and talking! Great memories

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Pam August 12, 2011

I love this post! Growing up, my mom got us ready in our “first day of school outfits” and got our picture out in our front yard (individual and group) and then at the bus stop. I have one from preschool to my senior year. It was fun to go back and see myself grow each year. And don’t get me started on the outfits back in the day, the one from my first day of school 7th grade (1991) could could rival an Awkward Family Photo! But I am so glad my mom did this. The quality is not great (this back in the day of disposable cameras!) but the memories are still there! And now I am looking forward to carrying on this tradition with my boys!!

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Greta S. August 12, 2011

Every year we take pics outside in the front sidewalk/stoop and sometimes at the bus. Then one of us takes her to school and takes 1st-day pics in her classroom. She will be in 3rd grade this year. And I always take pics of her coming off the bus the first day and the last day of school. I love those pics. We start Monday here in Atlanta.

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emily hope September 3, 2010

love all these ideas & your photos are beautiful (even if your style has changed since :)
we homeschool & every year we take a picture of everyone by our weathered board fence holding a sign with the school year on it. very fun to see the changes from year to year! here’s our latest one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hopeink/4954247991/

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Doris August 18, 2010

I noticed in my post above, the link to my back to school picture on my blog is linking to the wrong blog post. Not sure why. Very strange. Here’s the link again:

http://dorisrudddesigns.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/june-2-2010-2/

Hopefully this time it works.

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Jerold Roth August 13, 2010

Where are all the pictures of the happy and relieved parents? You know like, “Wow, summer is finally over and we will have some quiet time in the house.”

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Tracy August 13, 2010

After I saw this post last year I vowed to take better Back to School photos! Thanks for posting this again :)

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Angie August 13, 2010

Need some tips on how to capture those Back To School photos? Check out my guest post on @iHeartFaces: http://bit.ly/9TWGlM

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Nancy Patton August 12, 2010

1. Close up of face, showing hairstyle, missing teeth, etc.
2. Full body, showing outfit and won’t that style be funny in 20 years?
3. Looking over shoulder with the backpack of the focal point
4. Front of house (it’s great to see the house you grew up in)
5. By the car, cause that will be funny in 20 years as well :)
6. For elementary school only: By their classroom/teacher/at their desk. (my kids drew the line when my husband wanted to follow them to jr. high, lol)

I always take each of these photos and now the car is their own and they drive themselves to high school and college {sigh}!

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Amy Locurto August 12, 2010

RT @iHeartFaces: Ideas for Back to School Photos! Don't forget to take photos of your own kids:-) http://goo.gl/fb/78Vf0

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Staci Perry August 12, 2010

Read B4 you shop! RT @iHeartFaces: Ideas for Back to School Photos! Don't forget to take photos of your own kids:-) http://goo.gl/fb/78Vf0

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Jessie Emeric August 12, 2010

what a great idea! we’ll definitely be taking photos like crazy at our house, since our son is going off to Kinder this year and both mommy & daddy are photographers!

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Hillary Yasmer Shemin August 12, 2010

Loved this post..my sons are now 27 and 29 so I thought I was long done with photos op.. Last year, my 27 year old was studying for his Masters in Education and was living with us while in school. On his first day of student teaching I knew he was very, very nervous and didn’t want to hardly talk to him that day ( you know how that can be..) Anyway, how surprised was I when he knocked on my door and said, ” Didn’t you want to take a first day of school picture of me?”… I almost cried ( actually, I did cry). He was dressed in shirt, tie, and jacket and that he wanted my tradition of back to school shots continued that morning was wonderful! Now that he has his teaching degree lets all root for a job for fall!!!!
Loved your photo series and all your wonderful ideas!

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Christina August 12, 2010

I love the inspiration! I look forward to our back to school photo shoot. Too bad we’re in such a rush in the mornings. I will just have to be late to work!

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Susan August 12, 2010

awwww, I loved this post last year, and I love it this year, too!!
BUT. I do NOT want to think about school just yet. I’m remaining in denial for as long as I can that it begins again soon. 😉

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amy August 12, 2010

Here is a fun idea I did last year with my kids holding a chalkboard. It’s become our new tradition!
http://www.livinglocurto.com/2010/08/back-to-school-chalk-board/

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Stephanie Wind August 12, 2010

I love, love, love this article! Thanks for re-posting!

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Lillian August 12, 2010

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post so much! My little ones are 1 and 3, so back-to-school is just for pre-school right now – no supplies, etc. yet! I’m excited to read all of the fun responses about traditions in the comments to get some ideas for a couple of years down the road:)

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angie ray August 12, 2010

Such incredibly beautiful kids; your daughter’s eyes are just absolutely stunning. Wonderful shots and wonderful inspiration! Thanks! <3

~Angie

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Krystal August 12, 2010

I’d love to hear what homeschoolers do for that back to school shoot.

I buy school supplies when all the back to school stuff goes on clearance and then save it for the next year. It saves us quite a lot, so that part of the shoot is out for us. I will have to think about what we can do with the new stuff that they all get but just were not in the store to pick out.

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Mimi August 12, 2010

I never thought of taking back to school pics because we homeschool. Last year a friend of mine, who also homeschools, told me how she takes pics of her kids on the first day of school. I loved the idea. I’m starting kind of late since my kids are older now but it will be fun to see how much they change in the next few years. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your memories with us.

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Jennifer O. (Romeo and Mae) August 12, 2010

Today I have an eighth grader and a kindergartner! So glad this was posted today!

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Doris August 12, 2010

These shots are all beautiful!

My daughter graduated high school this year and as part of my 365 project I created a Diptych of her first day of kindergarten and her last day of school (Here’s blog post: http://dorisrudddesigns.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/june-2-2010-2/). I always thought it would be a great idea to have a collage of all twelve years, first days of school, but I can’t put my hands on all those images.

http://iheartfaces.ning.com/photo/june-2-2010?context=user

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Pam D August 12, 2010

I love seeing the group shots of your kids; they are all so stinkin’ gorgeous. I’m glad you posted this again, Angie; there are some great tips and reminders in there (and a line or two that made me lol.. “you can’t beat the joy and excitement that is just pouring out of them”… really? or NOT!). I always take my camera to sneak a peek, when things are quite so frantic, and get a shot of Adam with his teacher. And the last couple of years, we’ve done a “bug walk” around the school the first week and I capture all of the critters that he finds. Weird, but that’s my life… !

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Sue August 12, 2010

A new tradition that I’m starting with my grandchildren: I am flying to another state to take my first grandchild kindergarten shopping and out to lunch, plus I’ll be there on her first day of school! Thanks for the great ideas and inspiration…I’ll be taking more photos than I had originally planned:)

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Brian August 12, 2010

My wife and I take pictures in outside the front door. Every year! When our youngest daughter was born she was inside the screen looking sad at her big sister leaving for school. Now they are both out in front and happy to see their friends!

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Jaz August 12, 2010

loving the shots! The girl is so pretty ^^ and I love the one where theyre all smiling especially the smallest – he’s tryin his hardest with that smile! Little kids are so damn cute 😀
I’d do that with my little brother but he’d think I’d gone crazy. Plus he hates bieng my model anyway T_T

Its a great idea though – thanks for sharing you photos! xxx

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