So, the six week summer break is coming to an end. Whether you're ecstatic that the kids are finally going back to school, or dreading the summer ending (or like me, a bit of both!), the start of the school year is always a big milestone.
It's a particularly big occasion if your little one is starting school for the very first time, or moving up to middle, secondary or high school.
It's the time of year when we see social media flooded with images of little ones in their school uniforms ready to start the school year.
Read on for my six tips for making your 'back to school' photos just a little better or more interesting...
1. Location, location, location!
I do realise that the ubiquitous ‘front door’ photo is a classic, but possibly also a little clichéd. Think about where you might have great locations around your home…
I love outdoor natural light, so I’ve always preferred to take mine in the garden against a plain fence.
If you do want to go with the front door option, then outside to get the natural light, rather than indoor in a gloomy hallway is a far better option.
If it’s raining, then standing your children by a plain wall near a window to get the natural light will give you lovely photos.
Or taking it away from the home, maybe you'd like to capture a natural shot of your little one walking to school on their first day.
2. It's emotional!
On the first day of school, emotions may be running high - your little one may be anxious starting a new school, you might be feeling a little sad at them growing up so quickly (and they may pick up on this), or they may be super excited and desperate to get there, not willing to hang around for photos.
You know your little ones best. Ask yourself whether they’ll be in the right frame of mind to take photos on the morning before school. If you think they might not be, then you may like to take photos the day before they start. Alternatively, maybe take one when they come home when they’ll be happier to have the first day over with (although they may not look quite as smart!).
Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your photos and capture your children’s true personalities and some fun emotions - let them mess around and have a giggle!
3. Prop it up!
Decide whether you would like to keep it simple with them in their school uniform only, or whether you’d like to add some props to give some context to your photo.
My chalk board shoots were really popular and you could take inspiration from the idea. Write some facts about your child on a blackboard or piece of paper and get them to hold it up - you’ll love looking back in years to come seeing what their favourite things and ambitions were when they started school.
Don’t forget the little details such as their shiny new shoes. Consider including their schoolbag or lunch box; if they’re taking both, it will really highlight how small they are when carrying these.
4. A sense of perspective…
Speaking of highlighting how tiny they are, think of locations that give perspective as they grow, if you're planning to take a picture each year or when they finish school. This is where the front door photo has it’s benefits - this year they may only just reach the letterbox, but over the years that will change significantly.
If the school sign is easily accessible, consider taking a photo there - each year you’ll see how they grow against this sign, and they may be towering over it by the time they leave.
5. Safety first
Internet safety experts recommend that you don’t share details of your child’s school on social media as it puts your child at risk. If you are sharing details, then ensure your social media profiles are private.
Remember that this doesn’t just include naming your child’s school in the post, but the logo on their school uniforms, as well as if you include pictures of the school or its sign.
I’ll be honest, and admit this is not something I’d thought about until the last year or two, when I’m hearing this advice more and more.
My personal social media profiles are private, but I’ve previously posted photos of my sons in uniform on my business profiles which are open to all.
I’ve now tried to remove all these photos and I am now careful to ensure photos shared on my business pages (of my children or clients') don’t include any school details.
6. I'll say it over and again: Put yourself in the picture!
I apologise, if you’re a regular follower, you’ll have heard me say this several times before. You must include yourself in photos with your children! In years to come, they don’t care if you’re not wearing make-up or if you’ve got a few pounds to lose. All they'll want to see is themselves with you.
It's also a great measure of time - you'll see them grow, but you'll also see how you (and fashions, etc!) are changing over time.
However you decide to take your first day of school photos, they are precious memories that you'll treasure forever. I wish all the little ones starting school this week the very best of luck!