Back to School Portraits Made Easy
Photos Courtesy of LiLee Photography

So every year it's the same thing... beginning of the year portraits of the kids.  I love being able to compare them to previous years and I know in the future I will be so grateful I have them.  I have found that I personally hate the school photos that are offered twice a year.  While the companies hired do a good job with quality, they do not have the time to be able to really capture the kids and to be fair that is not what they are hired for.  Because of this, my kids either have no smile, a cheesy fake smile, or a weird expression on their face.  So when the form comes home I pass on it every single time.

The key to getting great portraits of your kids is to relax and have fun with it.  This lesson took me years to actually do but once I embraced it not only was it more enjoyable for everyone, the photos were better.  Here are 5 quick tips for your fall photos!

  1. Morning of the first day or not?  It all depends on you, your child, and your time.  I personally do them on a different day (usually the day before) so that I can take the time necessary to get the photos.  The morning of school is always super rushed for us so getting the kids to take time they don't want to, on a day full of distractions, just doesn't work.  On the other hand if your family does great on school mornings, just be sure to give yourself enough time so you don't have to rush!

  2. Have fun.  Go to a location that will be fun for the kids.  This year I took my kids to the park.  We knocked out the photos quickly because they wanted to be able to have time to play.  Not only did I get great portraits of my girls but also some awesome candids of them playing.  The best part is, my kids had fun and the memory is a positive one.  You can totally do the same thing in your yard if you are doing photos the morning of!

  3. Let your kids be themselves.  I used to pose my kids to fit exactly what I had in my head.  Don't do that!  Let them be them.  In between silly jokes and awkward faces is sheer brilliance that only your child can provide.  It can't be forced.  I let my girls do what they want and then when I see something that I think will photograph well I ask them to pause so I can capture it.  I promise you will get genuine personality if you do this.  Tip:  Try asking them questions or to make different faces (happy, sad, mad, ect) to get them moving!

  4. Relax.  When you are tense, so are your children.  Remember that this is supposed to be fun and stress-free.  If it isn't, then it's not worth it as the memory will be a negative one.

  5. Try some basic editing.  A simple crop and adjustment to the exposure can make a huge difference.  If you are lost in what to do you can always enlist the help of different workflows/presets.  Check out Sleeklens and my review of them here.
Whether your outsource the session or tackle it on your own, I encourage you to try and do some fall portraits of your kids this year apart from those you would normally order through the school and compare them.  Don't just compare the photo, but the overall experience that can come from taking the time to capture your kiddos!

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