Tips for Photographing Your Kids Going Back to School!

NOTE: “THANK YOU” Shoutout to KXAN:
Many thanks to Stephanie and Larissa for having me on The CW Austin and KXAN to talk about photographing kids as they go back to school!          See the Video

It’s that time of year again, when kids are heading back to school.  Remember these moments with photographs!  Here are some suggestions that might help!

The most important considerations are not really technical. 

  • You can do this with any camera! Actually a smartphone/iPhone can really help because it is convenient, and allows for more spontaneous capturing of a moment in the midst of getting your child ready for school.  The best camera is the one you have with you when you need it! 
     
  • Try to think about the future, years later, after the kids are grown:  What will you want to remember about this moment with your photographs? Or even beyond that, what will your kids wish you had photographed, years later, after YOU are gone?  Let that inform you as to what to photograph.  Include mom or dad in the photo.  Include the front of your house, or their bedroom, a beloved pet, or their favorite backpack. Maybe have them hold a small sign or chalk board saying what year it is (“Starting First Grade!”, etc.) Get photos of them getting ready, putting things in their backpack, walking down the street to the bus, etc.   Remember you are not just photographing your child.  You are photographing a special moment in time, a context in life that will be ever changing. 
     
  • Change your perspective. See the world from different fun angles, to make a photograph more interesting. Try photographing looking down, or up, or photograph from your child’s eye-level perspective.  If you think about it, if your child is still little, their view of the world and memories may be a different perspective from yours!
     
  • Composition – Think about placement of visual elements in your photos. You don’t have to always put the subject in the center.  There is a popular guideline called the Rule of Thirds, where you divide the scene into thirds and place the key subject at one of those thirds divisions.  (see examples below)
     
  • Get to know your camera’s features beyond just the basics. This allows you to have more creative control. Learn how to choose where your camera focuses, or to lighten or darken the image. Some iPhones have advanced features such as Portrait Mode or Portait Lighting options. Did you know on an iPhone, in the Camera App, the volume up button will cause it to take a photo without having to click on the round circle button on the screen?  That can be really convenient for more spontaneous shots!   The more you take the time to learn how to operate your camera or a smartphone, the better your pictures will be!

You’re telling a story about a time in your life and in your child’s life that you’ll want to remember years later.  Rather than just one photo of them heading out the door, let your photos tell the story.  That story will change as they grow older.

Here are some examples:

Time to Wake Up!

Getting Dressed

Brushing Teeth
Try interesting angles, get the camera down lower to their level.  Even try unusual angles!

Get Your Shoes On!

Time to Brush Hair
Include Mom or Dad in some of the shots!  Years later, your kids will really appreciate this.

Get Your Backpack Ready!
Maybe include some shots with a favorite book or toy.

Framing Up the Shot
Consider using the ‘Rule of Thirds‘ when framing the shot.  Instead of placing your child in the center of the shot, imagine a ‘tic tac toe’ grid dividing the scene into thirds and use those lines as a guide to where you place them in the photo.

The Rule of Thirds says, don’t place them in the center.  So, the photo below is not obeying the Rule of Thirds.

The photo below is more in line with using the Rule of Thirds concept.  This is not an absolute rule!  It is just an alternative that sometimes helps.

All Ready to Go!

Note that most of these shots were all taken at the child’s level.

Leaving!

It’s tempting to just take the photo at the doorway. You might also want to include a shot where you see a bit more of the house. With time, memories fade. Many years later, your child might want to remember what the front of their house looked like.

Dad and Daughter, on their way to school!

HAVE FUN – THIS IS A PHASE OF YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CHILD’S LIFE THAT YOU WILL WANT TO REMEMBER FOREVER!

MY INVITATION TO YOU:

  • I teach photography classes for all skill levels, ages 13 – adult!
  • ALSO photography is actually more than camera features and settings.  It is truly about how we see the world around us!  Something I started about 18 months ago is a group that meets at my studio on Monday nights just to do different book and video discussions and share from our life insights, and we intermittently have some pretty amazing guest speakers.  The topic is actually not specifically “photography.” The topic is life and how we can make our lives better and make the world better!  We’d love to have you join us.  It is ALWAYS TOTALLY FREE TO ATTEND.  The group is called LifeInsights.   Click Here to Learn More and see our current schedule!

P.S. A “THANK YOU” Shoutout to KXAN:
Many thanks to Stephanie and Larissa for having me on The CW Austin and KXAN to talk about photographing kids as they go back to school!  See the Video

 

 

 

 

 

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Kevin's book "30 Practical Tips for Better Photographs" is available in print and on Kindle devices!
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