Queenslander children are just a few days away from the beginning of a new school year. That means, in a few days you’ll be pulling out your phone and camera to get that perfect first-day photo. If you’re anything like me, you get caught up in the excitement and rush of it all that you just snap a million and hope that one turns out. You throw your phone back in your pocket and rush to do the first drop-off of the year, saving the photos to check later on. Here are a few little tips you can use in your morning rush that’ll help you snap better photos of their first day, meaning fewer “didn’t quite make the cut” photos to go through later on.

Use a portrait setting

When opening up your camera app on your phone, select more and then portrait. This will allow you to adjust the background blur strength (some phones may not have this option but most have a portrait mode) and help to focus on your subject better. This effect will help to create a slightly professional look in your back-to-school photos.

Clean your lens!

How many times have you whipped out your phone and snapped some photos, only to come back to them and find they were blurry/hazy? This is probably the most important tip we can give you, clean your lens! Even if you think it’s clean, it’s probably not and a quick wipe-over with your shirt or cloth will make all the difference.

Find even lighting

Outside in the natural light is your best friend when taking photos! Find a nice shady spot so that the light on your child is even. Direct sunlight is too harsh and will overexpose and wash out your child’s face. If taking photos inside is your only option then find your biggest window for a natural light source.

Check your background

I’m sure you’ve all seen the viral Facebook posts where people have posted photos without noticing what can be seen in the background. You might not have stuff as embarrassing as those posts laying around to accidentally photobomb your photos but if you take a minute to check first you’ll save yourself a tonne! Check for rubbish, and mess that you don’t want in your photo if outside check there’s no dog poop or car number plates etc. We recommend taking it in front of a pretty bush, garden, the front steps, a big tree or even a tin fence or tank. These places can give off another professional vibe to your photos as well.

Don’t say cheese!

If you’re after a natural smile then don’t ask your child to say cheese! More often than not, saying cheese will create a fake, over-the-top smile that may even look like they’re in the middle of yelling… because they are. Instead try some prompts such as “show me your nicest smile”, and make them laugh or smile by telling a silly joke or making a random funny noise. Natural smiles are the most beautiful things and if we can get those on a back-to-school day; how beautiful will our photos be!

Count down

Some children don’t like the glare from the sun outside. If this is your child and squinting seems to be an issue, try counting down while their eyes are closed. 3,2,1, open! Be sure you’re ready to snap as soon as their eyes open and you’ll be able to avoid that squint a little better.

Slow down and relax

Lastly, your child is not going to feel relaxed if you’re running around stressed and trying to rush the “perfect” photo. Slow down a little and take a breath. You’ll both feel much happier and more relaxed. What’s a happy picture if the memory is of mum or dad stressed, cranky and not really present in the moment?

With these 7 simple tips, you can improve your back-to-school photos this year while enjoying the process of taking them. Remember that the perfect photo is one where your child is happy, relaxed and being themselves! Enjoy the back-to-school process, we don’t get that many of them and they’re gone just as quickly as they come.

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