7 Tips for Capturing the First Day of School Photo, by Kelly Morra, of Kelly Morra Photography
1. Be ready! Have your camera charged and ready to go first thing in the morning. The first day of school is always hectic … don’t add stress looking for a memory card, or finding a dead battery. While you’re at it, have that backpack, lunch, and first day of school outfit put together the night before, too!
2. Find the light! Scout some good photo-taking spots the morning or two before the first day. Natural light is best, especially early in the morning. Avoid indoor lights by placing your kiddo near a window or in front of a door, if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Head outside if you can. Avoid harsh shadows if the sun is shining — a covered front porch or the shade of a tree are great options. Don’t forget the garage … it never fails to have great light – even when it’s raining!
3. Keep it simple. Your child may be full of nerves, so simple is best. Breaking out the crazy props while waiting for the bus will not fly. First day of school signs are all the rage right now, but if you want that tradition to stick, you better find something simple your child will hold a few years down the road. You may also find your child has no interest in holding a sign (like mine!), so be flexible. You can always add text while editing.
4. Don’t rush. Give yourself extra time to capture these moments. Head out to the bus early if you want to grab some pictures at the bus stop. Set your alarm accordingly. Plan those extra minutes in the morning so you aren’t yelling, “Hurry up!” No child will happily pose for a picture if they’re being rushed out the door to do so.
5. Don’t forget the details! The details are the things so easily forgotten. Take the time to capture those. The backpack he spent weeks deciding on, the gap-toothed smile, and those shoes she HAD to have for the first day.
6. Be there, too! You are there, in the moment, experiencing this milestone with them. So capture that! Don’t leave yourself and the rest of the family out. This is a big day for everyone.
7. Give yourself permission to fake it. If you think your child (or you) will be extremely nervous on the first day, it’s okay to fake it. Do it the day before, or the second day. Heck, do it the third day! Nobody will know but you, and you’ll probably forget in a few years anyway.
We love everything about this post, Kelly! Thank you.
Kelly Morra is an on-location portrait photographer specializing in the fashion-forward tween and teen of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her exclusively tween project, Kids of Pittsburgh, can be found on Instagram with the hashtag #kidsofpgh.
napcp contributor meet Katie Mitchell
About the Contributor: Katie, our Editorial Manager, is our wordsmith and communications extraordinaire! After college and graduate school, she worked in the nonprofit world, and briefly in politics. She realized she'd be quickly burned out, and started writing for various lifestyle websites. Before landing at NAPCP, Katie shot product photography for Etsy shops and other small business owners. Katie also works with Pinterest, as a member of their Pinfluencer team. She is passionate about making the world a happier, more beautiful place! Katie lives for her husband and two children, updating their totally 90's home, and finding joy in the small things. Even washing dishes.
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