(CWS' own Fred Bonilla was interviewed last September about this article and he shared the following tips below to itsrelevant.com's Christina Chiarelli - Click here to see the segment)
The dog days of summer are coming to an end and Stamford children know what's coming soon after...time to go back to school! Stamford public schools open on August 31st (with some private schools opening earlier) and I'm sure that many of our customers and friends want to get some pictures commemorating this special day, especially if it's the first day ever for a per-k student or the first day of middle/high school or college. Here's some tips to help you get some great pictures!
First off, prepare yourself. The first day of school is probably going to be frantic, with all sorts of things going on. One thing you do not want to fuss over is your camera settings. On your point & shoot, DSLR and even your smartphone, set your camera to the "portrait mode" that will allow your device to focus and expose for the face(s) in the picture This may also allow to shoot in a continuous mode (one shot after another). Make sure your camera's battery is charged & you have a memory card in your camera as well.Then, think how you may to tell your child's story from start to end. You may want to start the night before, taking a shot of your child's first day outfit laid out in their room, then as they're wearing it before they go off to school. A shot of the kid leaving for the bus stop with their parents or siblings would be good, too.
As they wait at the bus stop, you may wish to get a shot of their excited/scared expressions before the bus rolls in. If they see friends they know at the bus stop, get a shot or 2 of them as well. And make sure you get a shot as they say goodbye or as they look thru the window at you before they roll away. If you're taking the child to school, you may want to get a shot of the student in front of the outside school sign. Then take your final shot of your matriculated one waving at you (or waving you away) as they enter the school!
When the school day ends, you should prepare yourself for what will be the best shot of the day...when your child returns! Their reaction when they realize the day is finally over will be priceless! This will also be your opportunity to take some posed shots before they go in for snacks and start their homework. You may wish to use a small blackboard or some poster board to write "first day of 2nd grade" or some other phrase that applies to the day. You can also get a pre-cut cartoon word bubble that can be filled in with the best part of the day like "I like my teacher" or "lunch was actually good!" You can also set up a picture of your child in an earlier time in their life, put it in a frame (8x10 would be a good size) and have them pose with that photo, similar to what the cast of the popular tv comedy "Modern Family" does in their opening credits.
And remember, the important thing is that you capture the day in a relaxed and fun way that allows you to share and remember the day's event fondly for years to come! If you're like me, the day will come when your children will grow up to have children of their own and they'll thank you for recording their younger days so they can share it with their own brood. Just prepare yourself, shoot casually and have fun! Good wishes to all the parents and students out there as the school year begins!