tips & ideas > take better photos: the first day of school

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take better photos: the first day of school
Get advice for taking great back-to-school pictures of your children.
Back-to-school planning Back-to-school planning
Whether it's the first day at kindergarten, or the beginning of your senior's final year, the start of school is a poignant time worthy of documenting. It's a time to let your kids know how important education is and how proud of them you are.

Make sure your camera is all ready to go by checking the batteries, and space on your memory card so you won't miss a moment.
Tell the story Tell the story
Back-to-school involves many activities. Take the camera along to "get the story." Take pictures of your kids shopping for clothes, school supplies, registration, waiting for the bus, outside the school building, or in front of signs.

First-day rituals are also a great opportunity for photos, such as laying clothes out or lining up pencils. Anything your child does to prepare for school are great photo opportunities. The photos can be used for a collage or scrapbook of the year.
Go beyond the portrait Go beyond the portrait
Of course you'll want to take lots of posed shots with a smile. But it's fun to get candid moments that show your kids' personalities. Capture real-life moments: brushing teeth, fixing hair, or loading the lunch box. And don't limit the pictures to your own family. Include other children and encourage them to ham it up. You'll all laugh when you look back.

Get your kids' perspectives by giving them a camera. Your kids get a chance to express their creativity and you can see the world through their eyes.
Photographing at school Photographing at school
The school building itself offers many opportunities for getting wonderful pictures. In addition to a shot in front of the school or classroom, you might want to take "atmosphere" pictures of the cafeteria, the hallway, and your child's "cubby" or locker.

But bear in mind that the first day is when teachers establish the tone for their classrooms. Be sure to ask permission, and respect the teacher's wishes, whatever the answer. You might also ask to take a picture of the teacher or other school personnel.
Capturing multiple bursts Capturing multiple bursts
The first day of school is important, but shouldn't be the only time you take pictures. Whether your children participate in sports, theatrics, marching band, or debate, attend their events and take pictures. Field trips and other school outings are another way to document the year.

To fill out scrapbooks, try including "still-life" shots. Create pictures of school materials, uniforms, lunch boxes-anything that has meaning. Your kids will love looking back through the years.