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  • Andrea MacLeod

4 Tips to help take a GREAT first day of school photo

Here in Cookham, Maidenhead, Windsor, Marlow and surrounding areas, schools are set to pretty much fully reopen after closing a long 5 months ago in March 2020. So this year, even more than usual, mums and dads, guardians and grandparents, will want to take a first day of school photo to remember the occasion. But if your children are anything like mine, this isn't always an easy or straightforward process! Here are four tips to help you make the process a little less painful and hopefully take an even better photo.

1. Leave enough time.

Both the adults and children are sometimes so excited/nervous about the first day that taking a photo is only thought of at the last second. Don't try and take a photo when everyone is walking out the door. Trying to take a photo when you have a short deadline isn't easy, and the stress can show in the face of your subject. Try to make sure to leave enough time by consciously remembering the photo and scheduling in time to take it. If the morning really is too stressful, take one the day before, or after school. The actual time isn't so important, you aren't trying to take photographic evidence of the exact hour, more capturing a moment in time. Later or before is fine if necessary.

2. Be prepared.

I would recommend telling your child that you want to take a photo on the first day so they know it will be happening and are ready for it. But before you say, "Okay, let's take that photo!", make sure you are ready for it! This means making sure your camera or phone has enough battery, you've chosen the spot and cleared it for the photo, you have your camera app open or the settings on your camera ready. Then ask your kid for the photo. This will help avoid that frustrated eye rolling I've seen so often when children need to wait for adults!

3. Watch your background.

This is often ignored and it's so important! Getting a clear background will make your photo look so much better. You are going to get a much better photo if you use a plain wall or a closed door as a backdrop rather than the rubbish bins! Take a moment when preparing for your photo in step two to look around and see what else there is in the frame of where you want to take your photo. It might simply be a case of a step to the left or a half-turn to the right to dramatically improve the background and therefore the quality of your photo!

4. Let your child approve the photo.

This is probably the most vital tip I can give you! Children need to be given autonomy over their image to a certain extent, and should be allowed to say if they like the photo or if they want you to take another photo. No one is paying for film these days, so there's no reason not to take another few photos to get one everyone is happy with. This goes back to my first photography tip for first day of school to leave enough time! If your child knows that they will get to help choose the best photo, they are more likely to help create the best image they can. And you know what, if the best image means making a crazy face or sticking out their tongue, that's okay too! Showing personality is better than a frozen smile and dead behind the eyes look. Here's one I took of my two a few years ago that I love, despite it not being picture perfect, because it very much captured their quirkiness and it still makes me laugh to this day!

Here's wishing the best to all pupils restarting school in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and beyond. It will be a strange time, but no stranger than the rest of this year has been! Good luck and if I know you personally, be sure to tag me in your first day of school photos, especially if you use my tips!

If you found these tips useful, why not sign up to my newsletter? I post at most twice a month and it is full of tips like these ones to help you take better photos and to tell you what I've been up to.

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Mar 28, 2021

Very interesting posts!! Wish all businesses the best of luck opening up in the NEW normal!!

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