CrafterNews - craft, create, celebrate.
Follow CrafterNews:

Back to School Photo Tips from Elsie & Emma of A Beautiful Mess


It’s hard to believe that the summer is drawing to a close and it’s back-to-school time again.

Sure, we’ll miss the long, lazy days of summer, but with a new school year comes lots of new and exciting opportunities. Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, founders of the popular site A Beautiful Mess and authors of the bestselling new book A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book offer some fun photography tips that can be applied to this time of year.

First, the classic example: snapping a photo on the first day of school. For Elsie and Emma (any many of us here at CrafterNews, too!), the photos were always taken in the front yard before boarding the school bus. Backpacks on, lunch pails in hand, these photos are a fun way to commemorate each passing year. We must say, it’s also entertaining looking back and giggling at some of the outfits that we donned in years past. If you had the privilege of being in school in the ’80s and ’90s, you know what we’re talking about. . .

If you’re not in school anymore, or don’t have school-aged children, worry not! You can apply a similar technique by photographing your daily outfits. Most of us take time to choose our clothes–why not take a little time to document your outfits? You may even find that this practice of taking outfit photos helps you feel more confident and comfortable with you style.

Here are five tips for taking the best outfit photos:

USE REAL PROPS. Having something to hold or carry can really help you loosen up. This can be as simple as holding your purse, or you could try riding a bike or holding a coffee cup.

TRY DIFFERENT ANGLES. Whether you’re using a tripod or having a friend snap photos for you, try getting different angles to see what works best. We all have different body types and features that we like and don’t like. Try angling the camera lower, so the shots of you are angled up. This is our favorite way to be photographed because, honestly, we’re not the tallest ladies in the land. Other folks prefer to be photographed from a higher angle, which has other advantages.

DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL STYLE. We love how taking outfit photos has pushed us both to develop our styles. It’s easy to shop and just buy something you like. It’s much more intentional and interesting to cultivate a specific style. Don’t worry about wearing things others will approve of. Wear what you love and show off your personality and unique perspective with your outfits.

TRY DIFFERENT POSES. It’s great to get full-body photos where you’re smiling, but don’t be afraid to get creative! Take close-up shots of just your shoes or the pattern of your skirt. Try holding your hands differently or sitting down, walking, and so on. Take chances and spice up your poses.

TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS! Especially during your first few sessions, take two to three times as many photos as you plan to use. This will help you feel less pressure, give you lots of options, and allow you to keep only the very best shots. If you don’t like a session, learn from it and then scrap it! You don’t have to keep or use any photos that you don’t like. The more you take, the better you will get. Practice makes perfect, dude.

-Elsie & Emma



About the Book
A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book
95 Inspiring Ideas for Photographing Your Friends, Your World, and Yourself
Written by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman
Category: Crafts & Hobbies– Photography
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
On Sale: August 13, 2013
Price: $17.99
To learn more about our books visit: