simple tips for capturing back to school photos

Summer holidays are quickly winding down and we’re busy getting prepared for the first day of school next Monday! Easing back into the regular bedtime schedule, crossing a few more things off our summer to-do list and purchasing last minute school supplies are all things we’re doing to get ready for the big day.
Today I thought I’d share a few tips to help you be prepared to capture some fabulous photos of your kids when they head back to school this year!
5 simple tips for capturing back to school photos:
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1. Get ready – There’s a lot of preparation that goes into the first day of school and it doesn’t just involve having the perfect outfit ready, back packs filled and lunches packed. If you’d like to capture some fabulous photos of your kids first day of school, taking a little bit of time the night before to get yourself ready too, is a good idea. Have your camera battery charged, an empty memory card ready to go and have a list of photos you’d like to capture in mind. It’s an exciting day, you’ll need to be quick with your camera to capture those special first day of school memories and being prepared will help you to do that.
2. Capture the details I love taking some time during the excitement of the first day to snap photos of the little details that can sometimes go unnoticed. A close up of your child’s backpack, a nametag on your child’s desk, a photo of the classroom door, the contents of your child’s school lunch. All little things that may not seem as important as the typical child-smiling-in-front-of-their-new-classroom type pictures, but they can mean so much when compiled together to tell the story their first day back.
3. Sit back and observe – Taking on a role of observer during those first day of school photos can help your child relax…especially if you have an older child who may not think it’s “cool” to have mom in the classroom snapping photos. 😉 Taking a few steps back, but still being able to capture some intimate shots is possible with a zoom lens or even a fixed lens with a longer focal length { 85mm lens has a longer focal length than a 50mm lens}. A longer focal length makes your photos appear zoomed in. Both types of lens allow you to be further away from your subject physically, but still capture closeup photos that look as if you were right there in the action. Don’t worry about photos without eye contact or with your child’s back to you…I love how these unobtrusive shots make it feel like your sneaking a little peek into their day.
4. Dealing with indoor lighting – Without a lot of natural light available taking photos in most schools or classrooms can be a little bit tricky. To compensate for less light try increasing your camera’s ISO. Read up in your camera manual (because every camera is different) and learn how to do this. When you change your ISO you are adjusting your camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO the more sensitive it’s going to be, which is beneficial when you aren’t working with a lot of light. Just be careful you don’t set it too high because depending on your camera, higher ISO settings also mean an increased chance of grainy photos. You can also try adjusting the aperture on your camera to compensate in low light situations. Switch into AV (or A) mode where you can adjust the aperture and the camera will automatically take care of all the rest of the settings for you in order to achieve a properly exposed photo. Change thef-stop to a smaller number. The smaller number = a wider aperture (the size of the opening inside your camera lens) and in turn allows more of what light is available to enter your camera.

5. Document change – Taking back to school photos is usually something we do every year and is such a great opportunity to document your child’s growth. Consider taking the same photo each year on the first day of school in the same location or using the same pose. Creating a unity between these yearly photos really highlights the growth and changes that occur with each school year, especially when observing these photos side by side. Consider snapping a photo of your child with their teacher on the first day of school and again on the last day to see the changes that occur in just one year.
Have fun capturing those back to school photos everyone!
Stay tuned later this week for a new back to school version of my popular photo checklists filled with photo ideas and photography prompts to help you capture the coming school year.
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The Crafting ChicksThirty Hand Made Days
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Don't Say Cheese! How to get great, natural photos of your kids (by Rebecca Cooper)
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Rebecca Cooper is a 38-year-old wife and mother of four from Alberta, Canada. As a photographer, crafter, author, and blogger, she finds joy and fulfillment in celebrating everyday moments. She loves to read and eat chocolate, and is a firm believer in afternoon naps. Rebecca shares her family’s adventures, photo tips, simple craft projects + more right here at Simple as That.

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  1. Jennifer Tisdel says

    I love this idea. I am ready to quit paying for the school pictures that never come out how I want them and do it my own way. There is something about catching them on the first day that makes it more special; plus you get their own personality. Your pictures are beautiful. :)


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