I want you to meet someone who truly inspires me. Beryl Young is a fantastic photographer and an amazing person. She asked how she might be able to help out readers of Not Just Cute, and I suggested that both parents and teachers have a desire to use photography to document — both for memory-keeping and for communication — but are often overwhelmed by the process.
Beryl is a master at taking (and teaching about taking) high-quality photos that capture experiences with as much authenticity as beauty, and her teaching style is both simple and relatable.
If improving your photography and documentation skills is on your list, I hope you’ll take advantage of the resources Beryl has to offer. You’ll be in good hands.
PS – I’m a proud affiliate of Beryl’s courses, and she’s offering a free course, which she talks about at the end of her post. Be sure to check it out!
This year my daughter started Kindergarten.
As a parent who also used to be a Kindergarten teacher by trade, this is equal parts exciting as it is terrifying.
I know what she’s got in store this year, as she begins unlocking the keys to language and reading and writing. But I find myself wondering what she does all day, and not getting much feedback in return.
Me: “Kiddo, what was your favorite part of school today?”
Her: Riding the bus!!!
Me: Well that’s cool, but what about when you were in class?
Her: Seeing my friends!
The thing is, at the end of the day, my wish for her is that she does get lots of time to play, while also learning. And my guess is that as long as she’s coming home at the end of the day, smiling and happy about her friends and the bus, that’s exactly what’s happening.
But as a parent, it would really be nice to get a sneak peek into her days at school too.
Many teachers, with the rise of standards and accountability, have been going to a model of documenting their students at work. Which is great because it serves the dual purpose of capturing proof of learning, and also allows parents to get a glimpse into a child’s day at school!
Digital photography grants us the ease of snapping photos, but there’s the added frustration of how to do this beautifully, effectively, and keep the massive amounts of images organized for printing and using them later on.
When it comes to the role preserving these memories, time is of the essence whether you’re a parent or teacher or both.
As a former teacher, parent, and photographer, I’ve got 6 tips today to make this process go more smoothly and with ease.
1) Use Guided Authenticity
When I’m taking photos of my daughter, I usually have an outcome in mind that I’d like to achieve. I like to guide my daughter through the photo process by asking questions, having a conversation with her, and making the photo process fun! Instead of rushing and snapping everything, I pause until I’ve set the stage for the exact moment I want to document.
2) Give Your Photos An Extra Boost
Lighting in our classrooms and homes can be tricky to work with, which is why I like to edit my favorite photos a bit after I’m done taking them. My absolute favorite site for teachers is PicMonkey. It’s a completely online based editing program, and the tools are super simple to use. The 3 main adjustments I make to my photos? Under their ‘Basic Edits” I work with the Exposure, Color, and Contrast tools to give my photos a bit of a brighter feel that stands out.
3) Develop An Organized Folder Structure
Create a workflow for your images. How do you want your folders organized? By month? By student? By project? By class? Also, how will you name your images? My personal photos at home I organize by year, month, then event. But this may not work well for a classroom system. You may need to pull up photos for one single student for a portfolio. Or from one quarter of the year to show progress. Figure out a way to systematize your files before you begin downloading them, to make them easier to find when you’re ready to print.
4) Have A Place For Your Favorite Images To Live
Beyond your folder structure, I think it’s important to have a folder that lives on your computer where you place your overall favorite photos. The ones you go back to again and again and again to use as examples and samples. That way when an administrator (or grandparent if it’s your personal photos) ask for a few images you’ll have your best ones at the ready.
5) Find The Right Printer
It’s important to find a place that has the right qualities you want in your final product. What’s most important for you? Cost? Quality? Speed? Creative Products? You can always print on a home or work printer if you need something fast, but there are several other quick print options out there too. Do your research based on what’s most important to you first, make a decision, and don’t spend too much time dwelling on all the options that are out there.
6) Schedule Time To Prep Photos (Or Delegate!)
Teachers (and parents) are busy! At the end of a long day, typically the last thing on your mind is figuring out how to sort and organize and print your photos. I find that when I schedule it as an event on my calendar (even if just for 10-20 minutes), the process becomes a non-negotiable, and I realize that the work isn’t always as hard as I’m making it out to be in my head.
Interested in making the time for your photo printing through a community that will leave you motivated to print more, whether it be for your personal or work life? Join me for Embrace Your Phone* (*affiliate link) – a 2 week mini class where we’ll commit to getting a simple project off your device and into your life for good. You’ll get to put these tips into practice, while getting gifts checked off the to-do list before the rush of the holiday season even begins!
Photo Credits: Love Knot Photo