Back to school month! Tips for a perfect first day of school photo

It's September, so that means one thing; we're going back to school! Here are some tips for taking a perfect first day of school photo

The leaves are slowly turning brown, the nights are drawing in, conkers are on the ground - it can only mean that September has started at it's time to go back to school.

September is the traditionally the month where uniform is dusted off and the school gate creaks open as children across the country head back to school and pre-school. Did you know that even Prince George is due to start school this week?

It's also the time of the 'back to school' photo where mums and dads make children pose for posterity, in uniform, for the traditional first day of school shot.

To make sure you capture a good one, here's some top tips from leading children’s photographer Millie Pilkington (who even captured informal images of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding anniversay, on less) who has teamed up with to provide some top tips on shooting the perfect first day of school photo.

So gather your pencils and stock up your school bag; we're going back to school:

1. Plan ahead! Your child’s first day of school can be full of emotion and stress, so check your camera is charged, choose the location and any props you need the day before

2. Location, location, location. Natural light is preferable to a flash so, weather permitting, choose somewhere outside. Avoid cluttered backgrounds – the simpler and ‘cleaner’ it is, the more your child(ren) will stand out in the image. It’s also fun to repeat this photo every year, so select a location that will work each time. In front of a closed front door is usually great for light, framing, convenience, simplicity AND you can also measure their growth each year against the doorknob

3. Avoid direct sunlight on their faces as it will make them squint. Choose a shadier spot like a doorway. Under a tree, facing into the light is another option, but make sure there is no dappled light falling onto their faces

4. What if it’s raining? Choose a ‘naturally light’ room in your house with large windows, like a conservatory. Or open the front door, but ensure the light falls onto their faces. If they are standing directly in front of the light source, their faces are likely to come out dark

5. Camera settings – Unless you know your way around your camera, keep it simple. Set it to automatic mode and turn off the flash. If photographing indoors and the shots are coming up dark, increase the ISO setting up to 800 or 1,600. Use the flash as a last resort

6. All ready? Before you pick up the camera, ensure the kids are ready – hair brushed, coat blazer on, socks pulled up (or down!). Children have short attention spans when it comes to photos, so you have to be quick!

7. Use props. It’s fun to include their school bag or lunchbox, but you could try a favourite teddy, or get them to write their name and the date on a piece of paper

8. Strike a pose. Don’t ask them to smile as you’ll get their ‘photo face’. Instead have a few jokes up your sleeve that will make them laugh. Loo humour almost always works! Try a wig or a whoopee cushion if that doesn’t work

9. Include siblings in some of the photos for a nice family feel

10. Don’t panic if it goes wrong. If emotions are too high and everything is rushed, just try again the following day or week. When you look back on the photos, you won’t notice it wasn’t on the day itself.

Happy snapping! Make sure you check out eBay for over 1.5 million photography items - and if you liked our post on taking a perfect first day of school photo, make sure you read our post on the secrets of the school run and also what you don't have to worry about when it comes to school)

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Alexandra Phillips

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