DIY School Pictures

Every school year it was the same old thing: get all spiffified for what-you-KNOW-will-be-horrendous school pictures. I have a gamut of ugly school pictures, all because I was completely flustered and intimidated by sitting in front of a camera where the person behind the camera is a complete stranger, and I know that I only get one, maybe two, tries. Even after retake days, the pictures still were less than par. My fifth grade picture? My Aunt actually asked me if I had been running a race before the picture was taken. Yep, that bad 🙁

I remember my mom always complaining that she had to buy the whole package of pictures. Why couldn’t you decide if you just wanted one 8×10 and 3 wallets? They were just too expensive for what you got.

Taking your child's school pictures might be a better option than buying them. Here are several tips for taking your own so that you get the best possible pictures!Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (I’ve put a * by any link that is an affiliate link). If you click on one of these links and you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission from your purchase. Thank you for supporting Humble in a Heartbeat!

My kids are obviously not going to school this year (they are only 2 years old and 7 months old), but I want to help any mom out where I can. If you have a decent camera, you should be able to take your own pictures of your child for the school year. That way, if the actual school ones don’t turn out, you don’t feel obligated to buy them, and your child can have a decent school picture hanging over your mantle for the year. DIY school pictures are way cooler anyways. Ask your kids.

DIYing Your Child’s Picture for School

These are my ideas for getting significantly better school pictures for your child if you choose to DIY-it:

  • Choose a day that you know nothing else is going on (probably a weekday will be bad with homework, after-school activities, dinner, and what-not happening)
  • Let your kid choose his or her own outfit within reason (yes, my mom let me choose my outfits, but she shouldn’t have let me choose ANYthing I wanted to wear! I was wearing a Simba shirt in my 2nd grade pictures!)
  • Do your child’s hair, but try to make it look natural rather than staged
  • Take the pictures outside for a brighter look, because you know the boring backgrounds in school pictures are just that…BORING!
  • To get a genuine smile from them, do silly stuff behind the camera or have someone else make them smile while you are shooting the pictures
  • Don’t use the flash on your camera! If you have a tripod, turn off the flash and put the camera on the tripod so the pictures aren’t blurry
  • Let your child do their own poses. If you prod them to do something you have in mind, they are going to get annoyed and be in a bad mood (I totally remember being a kid, people)
  • Don’t include a lot of background (you want your child to be the focus)
  • Edit them using PicMonkey* or some other editing software you are comfortable with (simply doing these 5 edits can do a world of wonders)
  • Get them printed online (where you can have wallets, 5x7s or 8x10s printed)
    • Snapfish
    • Shutterfly

Even if your child’s school portrait turns out great, you might still want to take your own just to have some variety and so you don’t have to buy the pictures. A class picture is always nice, but school portraits on their own are a bit cheesy. At least in my opinion.

Have you ever tried taking pictures of your child for school?

Photo credits: “Community Crowd Group Man Men Women Woman People” by OpenClips on Pixabay is licensed under Public Domain CC0
Linked to: The Blogger’s Digest and SHINE Blog Hop

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  1. School pictures have seriously come ways…my parents never bought them, though I don’t understand why..they were so cute! (TOTALLY LYING, they were hideous.) I like the idea of doing them yourself- I’m up for your 9/15 challenge!
    Rebecca recently posted…Cuddling Toddlers Is OverratedMy Profile

    • Oh yay! I can’t wait to see your little guy all spiffy. Although, he really doesn’t need much done to make him cuter than he already is!

  2. This is a great idea, Charlee! Picture day was always THE most stressful day at school and the day they came back was probably the most humiliating! ha ha.
    Chelsea @ The Contented Wife recently posted…Why I Don’t Miss Adult InteractionMy Profile

    • Thanks, Chelsea! I know! You’d think that the first day of school or test days would be more stressful, but no! It was picture day!

  3. At least you could have picked out sizes. We usually got one picture of the whole class together and that was it. Also there were no retakes and no individual pictures. I’ll definitely try to join in on your challenge because I am trying to get better at taking photos!
    Ana Lynn recently posted…Book Review: Top 10 Secrets Of Successful Mommy BloggersMy Profile

    • I think that’s how they did it when my parents were going to school. Just one class picture. I guess it’s way more cost-effective and less time-consuming that way! I would love to have you join, Ana!

  4. Great idea Charlee. I’d love the challenge. My kids are such silly ones, these should be interesting 😉
    Heather @ Krafts and Kiddos recently posted…Simple Ways to Make Back to School EasyMy Profile

  5. Love this Charlee! What a great idea. I try to do this and will be taking some pictures this next week! I also love the drawing. I think I will have my little ones draw a picture of themselves for the first day of school. That may be even more special than the real pictures! I am sorry I have been in a slump. Trying to get caught up on my visiting!! Glad you are part of the IBA now.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Homemade French Bread with Tomatoes, Basil, and MozzarellaMy Profile

    • I love that, Elizabeth! So fun to see their self-portraits versus their actual picture. You really should do that. I would love to see your awesome photography skills at work, too!

  6. Since I homeschool, I take my daughter’s school pictures every year. You’ve shared some great tips here.

    Last year I also had her draw a self-portrait at the beginning of the year and one at the end. It was so neat to see how her drawing skills had developed!

    Thanks so much for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop)!

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…SHINE Blog Hop #14My Profile

    • What an awesome thing for your daughter to do, Jennifer! I am so glad I’m getting all these great ideas before my girls go to school 🙂

  7. Chels says:

    Hey- I took pics of the kids when school started with the intent they’d be the 1st (really 2nd) day of school pics but they turned out so well I decided they were our {home}school pics! Maybe I’ll share them with you for this challenge! ☺ I never liked buying the school pic packages and still have many leftover pics from past school years!

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