6 reasons why I absolutely love back to school ‘front door’ photos
So I read a post on a photography forum about being more creative with the back to school photos… It’s such a big moment in our children’s lives so recording it, in line with our personal photography style, is a no brainer.
I love “Day in the life of” photography days with my kids (basically following them around with a camera all day and photographing the normal, every day activities) and some of my all time favourite images are from these days and adorn our walls.
But what I discovered is that doing this on the first day of a new school year, with a toddler running around, a routine to re-establish and everyone trying to get out the door at the same time, is not really a recipe for a calm start to the new term!!
So yes, I did get a few sweet pics but no, my family probably won’t thank me for them!
But what I did love, what brought tears to my eyes, was my facebook and insta feeds. Full of kids standing against their front doors. I LOVED IT. Yet there were the #sorrynotsorry and #firstdaybackbore tags… So here is why I don’t think anyone should be sorry and why I think they are brilliant…
1. Tradition – I love a tradition. It’s familiar, and comfortable. We accept it unquestioningly and look forward to it (even if we moan)! And for this reason its probably one of the less painful attempts at getting a picture of your child!! Even my husband who, let’s be frank, lets out an audible groan every time I get my camera out, allowed himself to be an extra 2 mins late for work so that I could get the picture. And my daughter stood where I told her and obliged because, well that’s what you do, everyone does it, it’s tradition.
2. The record and the archive – Anything that creates a record of our children’s lives gets a big tick from me. A first year album, a book of their art work, the memory box of their favourite things. I love looking at my own baby album. Who wouldn’t want to look back on their life and not only remember special moments but also get the sense that they were loved so much that their parents took the effort to do it. The fact you can easily line up each year’s ‘back to school’ picture and track the progression in a collage is even better for my obsession of record keeping 🙂
3. Fairness – Pretty much everyone has a front door and a camera on their phone. You don’t need a beautiful home or fancy camera. It also requires minimal skill. You don’t need to be ‘good with a camera’ or ‘have a creative eye’. There is no need to worry about creatively blurring the background, setting up fancy lighting or doing any magic in photoshop… it’s pretty much a fail-safe photo – get their feet and head in, keep the camera still and you are pretty much done.
4. Individuality – Sometimes the more generic the method and format, the more we notice the differences in the details. The cheeky smile, the proud chin up, the shy shoulder shrug, the nervous hands clutching the bag tightly, the way siblings are teasing eachother… there’s always so much story in the body language. I’ve loved looking at every single picture and feel I have got an insight into that little human being.
5. Marking the passage of time- It’s a moment of reflection for our own lives as well as our children’s. Boy do I feel old when I see a baby who was in her mummy’s tummy at our wedding starting Year 3! And I think about all that has passed and all that is to come. And yes, I regularly get a bit emotional!
6. The stories behind the pictures – The summer tans from that epic family holiday, the mum who received the wrong M&S delivery and didn’t have her child’s uniform in time, the parents who went through hell to move house to get into THAT school and the child who was told he would never go to mainstream school defying all the odds… these pictures don’t just capture one day but the stories that brought them there.
For my own child’s picture, I love seeing her bruises from a carefree summer in the outdoors, chasing after her brother and cousins. I love that she’s always just that little be dishevelled with wonky socks and her collar not straight. I will look back in years to come and remember the satchel clasps that would never bloody do up properly!! Most of all I love that she can hardly contain her excitement for the new school year ahead.
So ignore the moaners. Keep taking those pictures. There’s nothing wrong with a front door* photo. In fact, there is everything right with it.
*or a favourite bush or tree in the garden