Capture precious memories by taking back-to-school pictures of your kids. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take great photos — keep reading to learn top photography tips and photo-ready outfit ideas for boys and girls.
You don’t need a fancy camera to take great photos. The rear-facing camera on your smartphone is most likely good enough to take some excellent shots, especially in the right lighting. There are apps for Android and Apple devices to make your amateur shots look like a professional took them. Some smartphones have a portrait mode setting that blurs the background, and there are even different lighting effects.
If you do decide to go the high-end camera route, a DSLR camera has all the features you need. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex; these cameras take premium-quality photos and have interchangeable lenses to create various effects. These cameras are a little more complicated than your average point-and-shoot camera, but they’re worth mastering if you want your kids’ back-to-school photos to look like a professional photographer took them.
Consider taking indoor and outdoor back-to-school photos to vary your pictures. When taking pictures indoors, use natural or artificial light — but not both. Combining natural with artificial light, such as from a lamp or overhead light, can cause skin tones to appear unnatural.
When taking pictures outdoors, the best times are right after sunrise and right before sunset. Morning is a great time for back-to-school photos, as that’s when kids head off to school. Evenings are a good time to take photos of kids in their sports-team apparel. You can also take photos of your kids in their casual wear.
Take a combination of posed and candid shots for the best results. A few formal pictures of the kids in their school uniforms or dressy school outfits are great for framing and gift-giving. Then, snap some shots of the kids while they’re walking to the bus or into their school, or of them playing sports after school.
There are plenty of options when it comes to back-to-school outfits for girls. You can go dressy with a skirt and blouse, or a dress with opaque tights. If your daughter likes an on-trend look that’s also incredibly comfortable — and who doesn’t? — go for a pair of leggings for girls or dark-wash jeggings with a long tunic top. Layer a light cardigan or flannel shirt on top for extra warmth if needed.
Girls’ jeans are another option for back-to-school photos. When choosing a top to pair with them, consider your photo background color. You don’t want a shirt that matches the background, such as a green shirt against the green grass. Prints can be too “busy” for most photos; they can sometimes work with a neutral, understated backdrop.
When it comes to footwear, options include slip-on shoes and boots. Mary Janes and ballet flats are always a stylish choice, as are ankle booties and calf-high boots. If it’s a rainy fall season, opt for a pair of duck boots.
Boys’ polos and khaki pants are always a classic, polished choice for back-to-school photos. You could even go for a polo with jeans for a more casual look. To add a preppy touch, add a sweater vest or boys’ cardigan over the polo. If you want pictures featuring dressy outfits, you can’t go wrong with a pair of wool-blend pants and an Oxford shirt, with or without a tie.
Boys who play sports can wear their uniforms for some of the photos. You might even want to hang around a practice session so you can get a team photo. Another option is to take some after-school outdoor shots of your son in his favorite casual outfits, such as boys’ cargo shorts and a graphic T-shirt.
There are plenty of footwear options for boys, too. Boat shoes and leather moccasins are both preppy yet not too dressy, and they work well for warm fall days and casual outfits. Athletic trainers are another option for boys and girls, especially when you’re taking sporty photos.
There are plenty of ways to display back-to-school photo prints. You could arrange a grouping of framed photos on the mantel for a traditional look or create a gallery wall of framed pictures in different sizes if you prefer a contemporary style. Digital frames are also an option; they can be programmed to display a slideshow of multiple photos. In addition to printing the photos, you’ll want to upload digital copies to an online photo-sharing account and/or save the photos to a flash drive for safekeeping.
Back-to-school photos are a treasured item, no matter how you take them or choose to display them. Play around with different settings and outfits, and make sure both you and your kids have fun in the process.