The Secret to Great Back-to-School Portraits

The idea of going back to school is already nerve-wracking enough for children without you adding to their nervousness by springing a sudden photo session on them. A better way to preserve back-to-school memories is to schedule your photo session a day or two prior to the actual start of the school term. This will give you more time to take the perfect shot and give your kids a chance to feel comfortable in their new school uniform as well. And when the big day comes, all you will have to worry about is getting your child to school. 

Now that you know how to make a back-to-school photo session more appealing to your child, you will also have to pick a good background for the portrait. Instead of having your child pose in front of a door, you may want to consider taking the picture in your garden or using an attractive muslin sheet as background. This will make the portrait more interesting.  

Flash is also a big issue, especially when you are taking the picture indoors. Do not stand too close to the subject in order to avoid creating unnatural skin tones and harsh shadows in your shots. You may also want to use a reflector to add light instead of using a flash. 

Add personality to your child's back-to-school portrait by veering away from the usual up-against-the-door-looking-straight-ahead type of shot. After all, you are taking a portrait and not a mug shot. Turn your subject slightly to the side and have him look casually back at you. This gives a more pleasing angle to the photo than a direct body shot. It is also advisable to bend down slightly and shoot from your child's eye level rather than your own. 

Remember that you are shooting a portrait, which means that it is best to fill the frame with your subject by cropping the shot just above your child's waist. Finally, you can artfully use props like a backpack or book to convey the message that this is your child's first day back in school. 


For more information about school portraits click here.