We’ve hardly wiped the sleep from our eyes from the summer yet, and we’re already hip-deep in three school fundraisers, and school pictures were yesterday.
I mean, holy cow, people. The school’s not messin’ around anymore. No dilly-dallying anymore, it’s game ON, people. Game-freaking-on.
Yet again this year, in the flurry and over-abundance of school papers that are littering my home, I sat at my dinner table, staring blankly at the increased prices for school pictures, and I vowed not to do it. Nuh uh, no way. I’m not a professional by any means, and my camera isn’t nearly as fancy as others, but the daylight and flowers on my porch will do just nicely for a more natural background.
And boy, did they ever.
Oh. My. God. Will you just LOOK at my babies?
And, in true, Baby V-like fashion, she does her own ‘thing.’ Screw sitting, anyway.
Tip #1 – Pick a couple different spots that are colorful, and be sure to try different positions. I happen to love my porch area, and so I stuck with that. Outside lighting is best, avoiding the dreaded red eyes and flash lighting issues. I definitely recommend taking your kids outside, hopefully when it’s overcast, because the light is bright but diffused, and you get a better image. Try your kids in all kinds of positions, from sitting, to standing, to kneeling, or on their tummies, to get a great shot. Let their arms fall where it feels comfortable to them, it’ll make it more personal and “them” that way.
Tip #2 – Make it fun! No one likes a plastered fake smile in pictures. (One of my biggest pet peeves about school pictures!) Tell jokes, laugh around with your child, let them pick out their favorite outfit to wear (something that makes them feel confident), and suddenly you’ll notice their smiles are more natural, and the pictures are practically taking themselves.
Tip #3 – Let whatever happens, happen. If that means your baby strips half-naked, or pulls one of her hair pretties out, then so be it. It’s more fun to remember them as they really are, isn’t it? And some of those off-the-wall shots are the absolute best.
One of these things is not like the other…
(Well, the flowers ARE more interesting than smiling for the camera. Besides, remembering the back of her head is just as important, right? Heh.)
What’s most important? Really showing off their personality and interests, and make these portraits truly about them. The school portrait people don’t know your kids the way you do. Feel free to use props to really accentuate where their interests lie (like using a soccer ball or football if they play the sport, or instrument, etc) and make it much more fitting of a portrait for your wall.
>>Side note: I was having a bad day of epic proportions until my kids came home from school. In getting them dressed up, doing their hair, taking these pictures, and really making it a fun occasion, my crappy day got substantially better, and my bad mood was lightened. My oldest son and I laughed so hard, I nearly couldn’t take the shot, I was giggling so hard. Afterwards, on the way back into the house, he said, “See, mom? I made your bad day better!”
And he did. They all did.
Try it out – take your own pictures, have some fun doing it, and let me know how you did! I’d love to see them!