School Photos. 3 Reasons we LOVE them!

 Photo Tip: Sit kids down on the front steps or on a bench. This allows you to get ALL of them and still move in closer with your lens. 

Photo Tip: Sit kids down on the front steps or on a bench. This allows you to get ALL of them and still move in closer with your lens. 

One of my FAVORITE things to do is scroll through Instagram beginning in late August through the 2nd week of September. Why? Pictures like this one. I know I'm not the only one, who loves these, because I see them posted from all corners of the globe. And, whether you've got the cute "Pinterest" sign or not, school pics are an almost universal way to celebrate life and the passage of time. As a scrapbooker, I'm what you call 'way behind' in my efforts to officially and consistently document school-related memories, but as a mom, I dutifully take these photos and I treasure them. This by the way is the first step to successful documentation, so I passed that test, phew!

Today, I want to share THREE reasons why we love school photos so much. I'm also going to share somel tips for taking them and keeping track of them.

ONE.
Fresh Starts.  

 Photo Tip: Encourage your kids to "relax" so you don't get stiff, unnatural poses. 

Photo Tip: Encourage your kids to "relax" so you don't get stiff, unnatural poses. 

 Photo Tip: You don't always need the whole kid; especially when you want to focus on other details, like new clothes, shoes and that adorable stance!

Photo Tip: You don't always need the whole kid; especially when you want to focus on other details, like new clothes, shoes and that adorable stance!

New clothes, new shoes, new lunch boxes and a shiny, new year full of possibilities. Kids like NEW and Moms like the chance to start fresh ...

First day of school pictures are particularly FUN because kids tend to be all polished up and looking their best. They might have a new haircut, or a new backpack and they definitely feel a new and palpable sense of excitement for new teachers, new friends, new adventures and maybe even new subjects.

 Photo Tip: Don't let the weather or other unexpected circumstances get you down. This is real life we're documenting, after all! Rain and overcast skies result in fantastic light for photo-taking!

Photo Tip: Don't let the weather or other unexpected circumstances get you down. This is real life we're documenting, after all! Rain and overcast skies result in fantastic light for photo-taking!

 Photo Tip: Look for interesting shadows or reflections and capture a few of the details that your child is most excited about! In this case, new VANS!

Photo Tip: Look for interesting shadows or reflections and capture a few of the details that your child is most excited about! In this case, new VANS!

TWO.
Marked Progression. 

For me, the start of a new school year is also the chance to STOP and take notice of who my kids are and how they are growing and becoming. Each school year is a milestone of progression and personality that lends structure to the joy (and task) of looking back. I'm not sure when exactly my focus changed from anticipation of all the new milestones that lay ahead for my young family to a feeling of almost dread that those same milestones were moving by at an ever alarming rate. But, now as I look primarily back on my children' childhoods, I'm SUPER grateful that I have these kinds of photos. AND ... I'm super ok, that these photos are not perfect. We often have unrealistic expectations for rituals like back-to-school and we feel discouraged if and when we forget to take a specific photo or find our efforts lacking in some other way. Trust me. I am now an older (and wiser) mom, and I'm telling you ... it does not matter! You will be grateful for any and all of the photos you have. 

 Photo Tip: Sometimes you don't want your child to look at you and sometimes you do (next photo). 

Photo Tip: Sometimes you don't want your child to look at you and sometimes you do (next photo). 

 Photo Tip: Take a variety of posed and unposed shots and look for context. Getting to and from is part of school!

Photo Tip: Take a variety of posed and unposed shots and look for context. Getting to and from is part of school!

Note: To illustrate growth and progression, simply compare and contrast photos side by side. Look for photos taken a few years a part (or ten) to show what has changed and what has stayed the same! Here is my son, Taft. Getting off the Kindergarten bus (2007) and pulling out of the driveway (2017) on his first day of 10th grade. Time marches on, but the photos allow me push the pause button from time to time!

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Before you know it, there's a fourth-grade girl looking back at her first-grade self. Ack!!

THREE.
Easy Connections.

Even as it evolves, school is one of those things that stays pretty much the same over the years. For this reason, school photos can help you illustrate great stories. I enjoy looking for opportunities to draw connections between children and the everyday realities of school. 

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Note: Here's my oldest attempting to open his high school locker for the first time and my third posing in front of this middle-school locker on dress up day. And ...

 Photo Tip: Half the photography battle is getting over yourself and your own embarrassment. If you want the photo, ask for it. I've found that kids now expect me to be there and to be taking pictures. They get used to it!

Photo Tip: Half the photography battle is getting over yourself and your own embarrassment. If you want the photo, ask for it. I've found that kids now expect me to be there and to be taking pictures. They get used to it!

... my youngest, who got up extra early this year, so he could meet his friends and they could all be first in line to get lockers next to each other. What a clever way to make sure you run into your friends in the hall. 


School, like life is in the details. Look for the little, everyday things that don't feel particularly special that are a part of the bigger, 'school life' story. 

My final and best tip is to spend a little time each week with your digital photos. Create a 'school' tag or keyword and add that to a few of your best photos each year. You don't have to be perfect with this, before you are richly rewarded. When I searched for school photos I was able to pull up (almost) all of the images I've shared in this post. I LOVE that!

 Photo Tip: Use the silent feature on your phone camera. They didn't even know I took this! 

Photo Tip: Use the silent feature on your phone camera. They didn't even know I took this! 

Note: As I was finishing up this post, my son was at the kitchen table helping his friend with math. Don't forget that life is constantly unfolding all around us and school-related photos happen all year, so the VERY best thing you can do is simply train yourself to be aware of the 'nothing special here' moments and recognize an opportunity to freeze time!

Happy home-working and picture-taking to one and all!