Back to School pics: 5 things to think about – Calgary Family Photographer

There’s something about the first day of school that just tugs at a parent’s heart. A day to remember, for sure.

New beginnings. New adventures. Oh the excitement!

But it can also be a little stressful. Jumbled with nerves.

It’s an effort just to get out the door on time…as we try not to get into any arguments…or forget anything!

So when you throw First Day of School photos into the mix, it can often put things over the edge!

But with a little forethought & planning you can be sure to get what you want as a parent (documenting that important milestone!) while ensuring that it doesn’t stress your child out at the same time.

Here are my 5 tips for capturing the start of a new school year…in a simple & stress-free way. And to prove that it doesn’t have to be complicated, I took all of these photos with my iPhone.

1. Plan ahead

A lot of the stress can be removed if you do a bit of pre-planning. This is not typically my strong suit – haha! – but I’m also not one to pass up a stress-free morning…you know?!

Set out the clothes out the day before. Pack the lunch the night before. Get the backpack ready. Those are the obvious ones.

But you can also pre-plan your photos too!

I know this might seem like overkill. But if photos are important to you, it doesn’t hurt to write yourself  a note about the types of shots you want to be sure to get.

That way, when you get caught up in the morning chaos, you won’t forget.


2. The details

Take shots of all the things that don’t seem like a big deal right now but will help to tell the story later down the road.

These can include shoes, backpacks, lunch kits, hairdos…clothes.

If your son/daughter is into Paw Patrol or L.O.L. dolls right now I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t be when they are going into grade 12.

3. The front door

There’s something classic about school-aged children standing in front of the front door.

Nowadays, we don’t always live in the same house for our entire childhood.

Capturing a photo in front of the front door helps tell the story. Maybe next year it will be a different door.

If you end up living in the same house for your child’s entire childhood then it’s fun to see how they have changed over time. Which brings me to my next point.


4. Same pose, same place

If you can, think about a place that you could use every year to show the changes.

It could be the front door or it could be a special spot in the yard…or even someplace at school (like this brick wall).

It’s fun to see the changes over the years or even from day 1 of this school year to the last day of this school year.

I can’t wait to do a similar picture for the first day of Grade 1!


5. Take the focus off of them

If your child is anything like mine, they have been photographed a lot! We are constantly grabbing our phones and making them say, “cheeeese!”

So rather than creating those eye rolls or the awkward “Are you done yet, Mom?” looks, take the focus off of them.

Tell them that you’d like to take a picture of their necklace…or their shirt…or their lunch kit.

In this case, I told my daughter I wanted to take a picture of her fuzzy lunch kit keychain. This keychain has special meaning for us.

She’s a little nervous to start Grade 1 (and to eat lunch in the big gym) so I told her if she’s feeling lonely or scared then give the keychain a squeeze and we can pretend I’m giving her a hug.


I hope I’ve given you a couple things to think about when taking your Back to School pics!

We all know that things don’t always go as planned. So do your best, but don’t stress over it.

And don’t forget to have fun!

Kate Daniel is a Calgary, Alberta based natural light, lifestyle photographer focusing on family, children and baby photos.

Simple, real, natural – your life, my lens.

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Meet Kate:

Wanna know a secret? I never set out to be an entrepreneur.


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