Gearing up to capture the first day of school

Bradyn’s first day of school was emotional.  Emotional in that we were all experiencing all kinds of emotions:  anxious, happy, proud, sad, excited.  Mostly excited.  That kid was so ready to go to school; mostly to go to school on that bus.  He didn’t seem to have one second of nervousness.  He was clear that he didn’t want me to step foot on the school grounds.  For any reason.  That changed after a few months but he was just so ready to be a big kid at school.  So I didn’t have a lot of room to get melancholy.  I was too happy for him.

I felt good about the way I captured this day.  I was finally gaining some confidence with my camera so I was able to be in the moment while I kept snapping.  That second shot down with the bus pulling up was like “pa-DOW, I got it!”  Then the bus pulled off, I got choked up…and then thought, “Man, I need a better lens.”  No really, I was shooting with a kit lens and was frustrated by the variable aperture (the aperture changes as the lens is zoomed in/out which is a real pain if you’re trying to control your settings) so I focused my nervous energy on talking myself into ordering a Tamron 28-75 which, let me tell you, was a really good use of my nervous energy because it’s a fab lens.

Capturing emotional times like the first day of school is challenging because you’re managing your own emotions, clicking and still trying to participate in the experience.  My advice for times like this is:

1)  Test the light before the moment.  Use the most cooperative subject you can get your hands on.  I used a dad (lesser of the evils).  Meter off their skin, check your settings.

2)  Avoid over-chimping.  Try to either be clicking or participating.  This isn’t the time to scroll through the pictures you’ve taken so far.  Resist.

3)  Also be prepared to hand the camera off so you can GET IN A PICTURE.  Or two.  I usually tell Brian ahead of time something along the lines of, “I’m putting the camera here.  Stand here and take a few pictures.  The settings are set for this angle.  Don’t get fancy.”  He usually takes a shot of my rear or chest.  Immature much?  Anway, our neighbor took this gem:

So in preparation this year, I’ve seen this picture floating around on Pinterest quite a bit.  I love the idea of having my kids hold a sign with “first day of school” on it.  So I’m aiming high & have made printable signs for this year!

Who wants one?  I’ll happily email you one if you leave a comment & let me know which one(s) you’d like!



adam - good stuff, nancy.

Pam P - Hello…your pictures are beautiful!!!
I love the sign idea too!!!

I would love to have one with 1st day of Kindergarten and 1st day of Second Grade. Thanks..that is a very cute idea!

Andy - I would love a kindergarten sign! Thanks!

Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful} - Oh, thank you for the tips! I usually (well, we’ve only had two years of preschool, so usually might be a stretch) completely wing it. But this year is his first year of Kindergarten, so . . . I’m thinking a little preparation might make the pictures a more memorable. I LOVE the idea of the sign!!!! His school starts in Sept 2011, so I will make my own. I love the hand-crayola’d one hanging on the mirror :)

So glad I found your site!

Tina Hunter - CUTE idea!! I’ll take a K and 2nd! and hopefully I’ll be prepared to use them 😉 Cant believe we’re talking about back to school already! UGH!

sora - would love a 1st day of kindergarten one

Dolly Dewes - I would love a 1st day of preschool sign! Any chance though that you could make it say September 2011 instead though? My baby doesn’t start till Sept. 6th. Thanks in advance! And I love the pics!

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *