8 top tips for first day of school photos
It’s such an overwhelming bundle of mixed emotions when your child starts school, excitement, apprehension and lots more. It’s a big milestone in their little lives, and a big deal for us as parents too!
We buy their shoes, their book bag and matching uniform, wash it and iron it all ready and then on their first morning, we rush and panic about getting to school on time and then fumble about for our phone to try and catch that all important photo! Or is that just me? It certainly describes Eliza’s first day of school…
The teacher gave us all a little bag with a tissue in it, a chocolate and a tea bag and I vividly remember coming home and sobbing. OK, so I had a good excuse - I was 8 months pregnant with Freya! – but even without that, it’s enough to get anyone emotional.
So here are my top 8 tips for taking your first day of school photo. I hope these help you to capture the perfect memory, without the stress.
- Cheat! There’s no rule that says your child’s 'first day of school' photo actually has to be taken on the first day of school. Why not have a practice run: get them dressed, do their hair etc. and then use this opportunity to grab a photo with time to spare. It’s also a useful check on how long you’ll need to get them ready, although I warn you – time does somehow speed up on real school mornings!
- For Instagram and for Periwinkle and Clay, why not take one of your photos in square mode? Every year we do our best to edit photos taken in vertical or landscape mode. Usually we can get a good result, but sometimes it means we have to crop out legs and school bags which is a shame. Selecting square mode solves this problem and it’s super easy – just google it based on your phone model.
- Often people take photos outside of their front door – this is a cute framing and a great memory, particularly if you move house in future. Try to get the door straight in your photos and perhaps don’t show your house number. Some great first day of school photos have been snapped in the garden in front of lovely foliage.
- Better still, why not photograph them in their own space? It might be nice for them to look back and see what toys were on the bed, what their room looked like. Also, you could get a bit playful and grab that moment when they’re sitting on their bed putting on shoes or brushing their hair in the mirror.
- Beware of harsh light and shadows! More light doesn’t always mean better photos. I see so many pictures taken in full sun where the child’s face is shadowed – or they struggle not to squint because it’s so bright. An overcast day provides soft, muted light that’s perfect for photos. But if it’s really sunny, try to find indirect light. You could go inside, near a window but not in direct sunlight. Or alternatively it can look lovely to take a photo with the child in the shade of a tree or other natural shade outside.
- Zoom in, zoom out - yes, the traditional shot of your child + uniform + bookbag is a must, but you don’t want those photos to be the only ones you have. Some of the best photos are taken from really close (use the portrait feature if your phone has it) or really far. Rarely from the middle. So, zoom in for some portraits or family selfies and also get right back and snap them running through the school gates or walking down the path.
- Use a board which details some memorable things, like their height, what they want to be when they're older and what their favourite food is. I've seen some lovely examples where this is done at the start and end of every school year which makes for a lovely snapshot in time.
- Finally, my last tip is more of a privacy thought really. Sad to say, but you can’t be too careful so maybe think about not including any identifying information – school details, logo and so on – in the photos you might share on social media. And don’t be in too much of a rush to share! Your child’s first day of school will only happen once, take the time to be fully in the moment. And if you need a tissue, a cup of tea and some chocolate after you’ve dropped them off, I certainly won’t be judging.
I hope those tips help – I really love making first day of school pieces, it’s such a happy and hopeful time. I look forward to seeing your photos and making your frame for you!