School starts this week and we're as excited as anyone else! Capturing the excitement of the first day is a important ritual for most families.  Soon our facebook feeds will be flooded with smiling kiddos with fresh haircuts and new backpacks.  Read below with some of our best tips for getting a great back-to-school pic!

be prepared

Great photos don't happen if you're stressed, running behind and unprepared.  If you want to capture a great photo, begin the night before!
  • Make sure your camera is ready...fully charged and space in your memory card.
  • Plan breakfast for the morning and have it ready to go.  We like something that can be make ahead of time like these egg muffins or overnight oats. 
  • Pack the lunches the night before.  Again, one less thing to do!
  • Lay out the clothes the night before.  While you're at it, lay out YOUR clothes too!  This way you'll be able get in those pictures.

The Big Day

  • Pick your photo spot.  If you're shooting with a manual camera, or just playing with some manual settings, take practice pictures a few days before.  Just be sure to practice at the same time of day so the lighting is consistent.  
  • We like to use the same spot every year so that we can highlight the growing kids.  The front porch is classic but there are many other options:  Under a favorite tree.  In front of the school sign.  At the end of the driveway with the family home in the background. 
  • Consider leaving a large blank space in the photo where you can digitally add the important milestone stats.  Apps such as Phonto and PicsArt or websites such a Canva and PicMonkey make adding text very easy!
  • Add a prop...whether it's a chalkboard sign, a printable, or a favorite toy. We made these chalkboard signs in the studio!  
We used paper templates to paint our wood sign. We uploaded our templates for anyone who wants to download and print paper ones like the ones below.  Completely free: [here]
We have templates for PreSchool through 12th grade.
  • Posed pictures are great but sometimes the best ones come with some silliness.  We like to grab a few posed ones and then switch to silly ones BEFORE returning to the posed ones.  The second set of posed pictures capture the excitement better after we've loosened up!
  • Zoom in and get the details.  Hands, backpacks, new shoes, etc.
  • Get in the picture!  Mom, dad, and grandparents need to be photographed too.  Candids are perfect for capturing all the important people in your kids' milestones. 
  • Remember to step back and capture the BIG PICTURE...get the bus, the hug goodbye, the wave from the front of the school, meeting the teacher, greeting old friends, etc.

Remember the purpose

Yes, we all want a perfect picture.  Remember the bigger purpose of this day.  This day is about celebrating and documenting the excitement of a new year.  Grab the photos but not at the expense of ACTUALLY enjoying your morning together and experiencing the excitement.  

But maybe your morning just isn't going well.  Scrap the photo ops and be present in the moment.  Second-day of school pics are just as good!


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