Picture day is exciting for many school children as they get ready in their favorite outfits and fix their hair to perfection. Virtual students can have just as much fun, and parents can see their children’s sparkling smiles from their personal cameras. You can take your own school pictures and save yourself and your family money by developing or printing the photos yourself instead of paying for them through the school.
Whether your child walks into school or logs in online, taking picture day photos at home can save you time and money while giving your child more pose options and the ability to retake photos until you capture the perfect one.
At CCA, we know all about taking school pictures from home because our students and families have been perfecting them for years. We’ll describe how to take school pictures at home, picture-perfect best practices, and what props and backgrounds to use for school pictures.
1. Check Your Camera Settings
Understanding how to take school pictures begins with checking your settings. Whether you’re using a phone or a professional camera, you should adjust your zoom, make sure the image is focused, and turn off the flash. If you’re unsure where to begin with a professional camera, look for the auto mode. This handy feature will make all the decisions for you, so you don’t have to adjust a thing.
If you’re using a smartphone to take your child’s photo, you still have tons of handy tools at your disposal. You can use grid lines to ensure your child is perfectly in the frame and turn features off or on with the click of a button. You can also easily edit your photos afterward by clicking through filters or smoothing harsh lines.
Always use a cloth to wipe off the lens, so there is no dirt or debris in the picture before adjusting any settings. This way, you can ensure you don’t focus on a speck you don’t want in your image and know how clear the image will appear.
2. Use a Plain Background
To create a professional-looking photo of your child, you should use a simple background. Busy colors or crowded scenes will take away from the focus of the image — your beautiful young learner. While a blank wall works, you can also use small props to accessorize the scene, like bookcases or plants.
You can edit your images after taking them to remove blurry objects or crop an item out of the frame if necessary, but you should try to avoid them altogether to make this process easier.
A few ideas for backgrounds include:
- Blank walls in your home
- Solid blankets or sheets
- Brick walls or house siding
- Trees or other simple foilage
With many home background choices, you can create beautiful and professional photos anywhere and anytime. You can experiment with multiple backgrounds or edit the image to create a precious moment you’ll cherish forever.
3. Find the Right Lighting
Knowing how to get a good school photo also comes down to understanding lighting. For a school photo, you likely want to use ambient light. Ambient light is a light source that the photographer does not control. Sunlight and moonlight are forms of natural ambient light, but other light sources such as streetlights and stoplights are also ambient light sources.
Ambient light can give a soft glow to an image that bounces on surfaces and distributes light evenly. For picture day, you will want to use natural or other ambient lights to illuminate your child. Flash or overhead lights can create shadows that darken features, such as eye color, and wash out your subject or flatten your background.
Additional lighting best practices include:
- Lights should face your child instead of shine from behind them.
- Turn the flash off your phone or camera, so it doesn’t create shadows.
- Keep light positioned above your child’s head rather than in line with their face or behind their head.
- If you are not using natural or ambient light, start with one light source and add more as necessary.
- Take your picture when the light is constant and not blocked by clouds or other objects.
- Use your camera’s white balance to avoid hints of yellow or blue light from artificial sources.
4. Keep It Simple
Keeping it simple is the way to go for school photos. Young children can have a tough time staying still for an extended time, and you want to capture their authentic smile before they lose interest in the activity. Trying to pose them in a complicated way or stacking props around them will only crowd the image, distract your child, or make it harder to find the perfect angle.
If you want to capture images similar to those you would purchase from a school, you should aim to make your child’s head and torso the image’s primary focus. You can snap as many full-body photos as you’d like, but distribute the closeups to friends and family when you’re finished.
You also want to avoid bold fabrics or clothing articles with writing, so the focus stays on your learner. Long sleeves usually look better than short sleeves, but you can encourage your child to take photos in one or two outfits to test the water. Most importantly, you want your child to feel comfortable in their outfit — if they feel uncomfortable, they’ll probably look that way in your photo, too.
Picture Your Child Learning With CCA
Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) offers traditional spring and fall “picture days” around the state for our families and students. Dates for these are communicated to families through edio®, our learning management system.
While you await picture day, let us bring your learner a dynamic learning environment from the safety and comfort of your own home. We use a student-centered approach to create customized education paths that align with each student’s goals and interests.
Online education can improve student outcomes and create opportunities for children and families who may not be able to do so on their own. With tons of socialization and hands-on learning opportunities, your child can connect with their education and the natural world from home.
Learning online encourages deep discussions that improve the quality of learning. Your student can take classes that guide them to their future career and success while developing connections with their peers on our many field trips and activity days. Contact us to learn more about our picture days and flexible online education program.