8 tips for getting awesome first day of school pics

first day of school pictures

We get our resident Instagrammer to share her top tips for getting the cutest first day of school photos ever. 

Hands up if you have a kindy starter this year? I do and it’s such a bundle of mixed emotions. We have the shoes, the bag, the lunchbox and now my mind is turning to the photos. These things are important you know!

So here are my top tips for getting an Instagram worthy ‘first day of school’ photo.

Document the day

You are going to see lots of pictures of little kids holding signs or chalkboards that say ‘first day of school 2017′ etc. But unless you’re a hand letterer then it’s going to look a bit naff. You can get around this by skipping the chalk and using an app that allows you to put words on a picture after the fact. You know what I mean? Just get your kindy kid to hold up something plain, like a square of plywood, a balloon, some cardboard (stiff card so it looks solid) and snap away. After you have packed them off to class, use your fave lettering app to add the text, (I have listed my favourite apps below.) If you don’t want to do the whole sign thing, you can always photograph them in front of something plain, like a brick wall and put some words on that. Then just finish it off with a black + white filter – simple.

Photograph them in their own space

I love to look back at pictures of our home but there aren’t that many. In every photo, my siblings and I are standing in the same spot at the end of the deck. It’s actually really cool that we always stood in the same spot, it makes for hilarious photo albums – but it’s the pictures of me in my childhood bedroom that I love. What toys are on the bed? What pictures are on the wall (mine had a huge Torvill and Dean poster, why?) Also, get a bit candid, grab that moment when they’re sitting on their bed putting on shoes, eating breakfast at the table or brushing their hair in the mirror.

Get in the picture

If you only listen to one idea, make it this one. I can’t stress enough; get in the picture. Be prepared to get your butt in there. You are perfectly perfect in every way and your kid thinks you’re the most beautiful thing in the world. Not convinced? If you have to buy a new outfit or blow-dry you hair to feel confident, then just do it. This is a big day for everyone in the family, your beautiful self needs to be part of the memories. So make it happen, hell, get up an hour before everyone else so you can primp and prime yourself if that’s what it takes to make it happen – but get that gorgeous smile warmed up and get in there!

Give the social stuff (and yourself) a break

Get off Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever your poison is. Pictures can be uploaded after the fact, give yourself some time to breathe. You have enough stuff to do and posting to social media is time consuming. It also takes you away from the moment and apart from the many valid reasons to give yourself a break from it at this time; from a purely photographic standpoint – you are going to miss other gorgeous photo ops while you’re doing it!

Get your tools sorted

Charge the camera or phone, make sure the SD card is good to go, put it somewhere super easy to grab and tell your significant other where everything is before the fact. The last thing you or your little person needs is any sort of panic or parental snapping that morning. When emotions are running high, it’s hard to deal with…stuff. So be organised and take that stress out of the equation.

Beware of shadow

So we all know the photographic rule; more light = better images. And in the most part, that is true. But…I see so many pictures taken in full sun where the kid’s face is shadowed. If it’s an overcast day then by all means, get them outside, that soft muted light will make everything work perfectly, but if it’s really sunny then step inside near a window. And lose the floppy hat, it’s seriously the cutest thing ever but little faces are better!

Zoom in, zoom out

Yes, the traditional shot of kid + uniform + backpack is a must, but you don’t want them to be the only ones you get. An amazing photographer once told me that the best shots are taken from really close 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.

Brush up on you photography skills

If you’re using a phone camera, take some time to make sure you’re getting the best pics you can. Is your lens clean? Do you have a killer diamanté cover on it that casts weird light? Are you tapping the button rather than gently pressing it? These things all really affect photo quality. Maybe just double check if you’re making any of these 6 common phonography mistakes.

Best apps for the job?

Lettering; Little Moments, Phonto or A Beautiful Mess.

Filters; VSCO cannot be beat. There are lots of great filters but I recommend F1, C3 or any of the black + white ones.

Words: Barbara O’Reilly / Image: Getty Images