5 Tips For Better Back to School Photos

natural back to school photos surrey

Hello, and welcome to the first in a series of blog posts where I’ll be sharing tips for taking better photographs of your children. I’m a big believer that every family should have great photos of the special milestones in their children’s lives, and as you can’t have a professional photographer with you all of the time I hope these tips will help you to make these photos the best they can be.

As the end of the summer holiday is almost in sight, I’m kicking this series off with my top tips for better back to school photosThe first day of school is one of those days when you’ll definitely want photos of your little ones in their uniform to share with family and friends, and to look back at with your children in years to come.

To help you get the best photos you can of this special day, here are my five top tips for photographing your children’s first day back at school. 

1. Give yourself plenty of time

Trying to take photos of your children in a rush is never a good thing – you’re stressed, they’re stressed and it will show in the pictures! Try to give yourself a bit of extra time on the first day of school so that you can take the pictures without rushing.

If you think this is unlikely to happen then consider taking the photos the day before. Whilst it might seem a lot of hassle to get everyone organised, and into uniforms on a non-school day, it could mean a less stressful first day of term. And in 20 years time you won’t remember whether you took the photos on the first day of school or the day before, but you’ll definitely be glad you took them.

2. Find a clean backdrop for your photos

Just this one simple move can really transform your photos. Finding a clean, neutral backdrop makes sure that your little one is the first thing you see, and not a pile of toys or the remnants of breakfast on the kitchen table behind them!

A clear wall in the house, or a wall or fence on the way to school could be the perfect backdrop. I took the photographs below using the front door as a backdrop – anything will do, as long as it’s neutral and does’t distract from the star of the photos!


3. Capture the little details

New shoes, book bag, pencil case or lunch box. All of these things will have been chosen with great love and care for the new school year. I know how much joy it brings me to see old toys, clothes and sentimental objects from my childhood in old photos, and no doubt these photos will be the same for our children when they’re older too.

4. Take your camera to school

Once you’ve got the must have shots of your little one posing nicely in their uniform, have some fun! You can capture the journey to school, some fun action shots, and your children at the school gates.

5. Get the rest of the family involved

Finally, don’t forget to get the rest of the family involved. If it’s your eldest’s first day of school include their younger siblings (even if they are dressed as superheroes!) If all of your children are at school, get some photos of them all together. And most importantly…don’t forget to get in the frame yourself. Whether one of your other children takes the photo, you use your camera’s timer, or you even make it a selfie, make sure you are in the frame with your children on this momentous day.

sibling school photos surrey

What’s Next?

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful as you take this year’s back to school photographs.

If you’d love to have a professional record of the start of each school year, why not book one of my Back To School Mini Sessions? These short and sweet sessions in London and Surrey are designed especially to capture natural relaxed portraits of your child in their school uniform.

Click here to learn more about Back To School Mini Sessions.

Picture of Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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