As summer vacation winds down, it’s time for back to school! (Where did the time go?!) A fun tradition that many parents start as their child begins Pre-K is the annual back to school portraits. Here are a few fun tips & ideas to capture your child’s educational evolution!
Play with color and accessories
Grab that brightly colored backpack and use it as a photo prop or dress your child in vibrant colors and patterns that stand out. You can also use simple props – like a stack of books or an apple – to make the standard back to school photo a little more fun. Check out thrift stores for a vintage desk to make the photos even cuter or try a cute “nerd” photo shoot using some old sunglasses with the plastic popped out and a pair of suspenders. Another creative idea is to capture your child’s handwriting with a fun “My name is” sign.
Take your photos for a ride
Have fun with the way your family gets to school on the first day. If you usually walk or drive up to the school or bus stop, try letting your kids scooter, cycle or skateboard! Children tend to be nervous on the first day, but if you let them use their favorite mode of transportation, they’ll put on their best smile for you.
Let your child choose the outfit
It can be difficult to let go of choosing your child’s back to school outfit, but it can also be worth it. It’s a great way to produce photos that truly capture your child’s personality. Also, having your child pick out their own clothes is a fun way to catalog different phases in their personality. Although it may be hard, let them pick out something that they feel confident in — even if it’s an Avengers pajama shirt with patterned pants and rain boots.
Don’t be afraid to stage it
A great way to relieve some of the pressure of capturing photos on a busy morning (when your child is likely to be filled with nervous energy) by staging a back to school photo session at another time. Let them put on their first day clothes for a dress rehearsal during a fun, laid-back portrait or school-themed session the week before. You can always capture more details or take a documentary-style approach on the actual day.
Find inspiration in their new routine
Each school year represents the beginning of a new normal; from the morning bus route to the after-school snack to the evening homework. This collection of soon-to-be routine moments makes up much of what they will remember about the year. Feel free to photograph your child’s before and after school routines as bookends to their day. These can include silly notes packed in their lunch bags in the morning to the moment they step off the bus in the afternoon.
Go the extra mile for the shot
When it comes to younger children (and sometimes the older ones), there’s no shame in using silly techniques to get the kids to cooperate and smile. From shouting silly phrases to dangling toys in front of the camera, it’s important to do things to capture your child’s attention.
Taking back to school photos is an annual ritual that offers parents the perfect opportunity to document year-to-year changes in their kids. Kids grow, trends emerge and styles evolve; those changes are especially remarkable when set against a steadfast background such as your backyard, breakfast table or front door. If you’ve recently moved, embrace other constants — even if it’s the same pose, the arrangement of siblings or inclusion of the family dog in the photo. You can even get a large shirt with your child’s graduating year on it and take a photo of them wearing it every year!
Get in the picture
Join your child in the annual back to school picture and photograph them growing up in front of you from year to year. The best constant of all is you — the parent — and your presence in these milestones. You’ve been there from the day you laced up their shoes for the first day of kindergarten to the day you packed the car up and hugged them goodbye as they she headed off to college. Embrace those moments and all the ones in between.