A Tip for Photographing Your Child’s Art

One way to reduce the amount of artwork that you should save for your child is to photograph it or scan it. When you take a picture of that new masterpiece, make sure your child is often in the photo too.

Lane goes to a small class once a week, and when I pick her up she always has a new piece of artwork to bring home. I keep a camera in my purse, and I take a picture of her right there, when she is most excited to show me what she has made.

This way, even if we’re trailing cotton balls all the way to the car, I know I’ve already taken care of it.

Because even though I’ll ooh and ahh over the picture, what I really love is her.

Some pieces of art are scanned so that we can see the details. If something has a story to go with it, I write it for her along the edge of the page, so that we’ll remember it later. I write the date, too.

Special pictures are saved in a folder — a portfolio, as Renee from FIMBY calls it. I love that.

And we don’t save everything of course, just the ones we like the best.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. That top photo of Lane is pretty much the cutest thing ever! I love the idea of an album or maybe a digital frame or something filled with just these photos over time. So cute!

    liz´s last post…converting to cloth– hankies

  2. I have recently started taking pictures of my daughter’s artwork (because there is so much of it), but I love the idea of having her in the picture as well. Great advice, thanks!

  3. GREAT IDEA! I love that by taking pictures of my daughter with the artwork I’ll be able to see her art progress as she progresses :)

  4. Sandra Gonzales says:

    Pigtails are Lane’s best look.

  5. I like this and have done it a few times, but having a kid who is overly sentimental, I know that when she sees a picture of the item, she wants to know where it is and what happened to it. I usually go with the “I think it just fell apart…”

  6. Aw, she’s so precious! I love this idea…thanks for sharing!

    Lydia´s last post…Giant: $2/$5 Meat Coupon

  7. I LOVE THIS! I have done it a few times in the past, but I love the idea of snapping a shot fresh from class. Brilliance!

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last post…Wordless Wednesday: Hope (on my kitchen window)

  8. Jenni at My Web of Life says:

    Child’s artwork are some of my biggest sources of clutter (especially the ones with the cotton balls). Thanks for a really great tip!

  9. I love this! You’ve taken the good idea of taking photos of the kids artwork to an even greater level: it’s so smart to take the photo right when the child is most excited about it. The emotion is so authentic. Great idea.

    Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists´s last post…Assignment: Computer Desktop de-clutter, or, do this now, you’ll be glad later

  10. Such a sweet, wonderful idea! I help people make photo books, and one filled with a child’s artwork makes a precious keepsake. The kids can hold all their creation in their lap and see how loved they are! Your idea to snap the photo immediately is absolutely brilliant. I will be passing that tip on! Blessings!

    Terri´s last post…Ladies Night

  11. I love the pictures, Lane is so cute! I really like the idea about having the child in the picture with the artwork. I have such a hard time throwing out my kids projects, so I pack them up and mail them off the Grandma and Grandpa. I let them handle the dirty work :)

  12. That is an awesome idea. I tried scanning in all the kids art, I tried punching it and putting it into books, and it’s all too hard to maintain over the long term.

    Pictures are so much easier to handle…now I just have to keep my camera in the right spot (at school is not the place–too hectic!) and remember to do it!


  13. That’s a wonderful idea to photograph the art with the child – have to start doing more of that. I keep a ribbon on a wall in my hallway (it’s held up on each side by 2 screwed in mug hooks) where I clothespin the things they bring home. We go through them and pull out the things we really want to keep.

    One thing my mother did which I’ve started doing as well is to tuck smaller artwork, notes, letters, etc. into my cookbooks. It’s such a treat when I’m looking up a recipe to come across a sweet Mother’s Day poem or funny drawing….

    mother necessity´s last post…Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  14. This is brilliant. I have so much kid art that I can’t bear to throw away, yet I’m dying to reduce the pile. I’m all over this idea.

    Coach J´s last post…Of Buddhism and Pole Vaulting

  15. Tiffany H. says:

    I love it–it’s what I’ve been doing for a few years now and it’s a great memory keeper. You get to keep the artwork but it’s not big, bulky and doesn’t take up any room. I take a photo of my daughter holding the artwork but sometimes I take a photo of it while it’s hanging up in the classroom and ask her to stand next/near it if possible. I’ve kept some pieces of art/school work but each year she gets older I weed through the previous years and toss more b/c I’m learning that I just can’t keep everything. :-)

  16. I love this idea. We scan most of my sons’ work, but taking a pic of him with it, even better, especially when no one can make out what it’s supposed to be. (;

    Emily´s last post…Why Do You Love Star Trek So Much?

  17. She is so cute!!!

    Mrs. Money´s last post…Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget

  18. I love this idea. So glad you shared it with all the moms. We started doing this several years ago and what a relief! I was running out of space! I only wish I had started it earlier!

    Amy blogs @ River Rock Cottage´s last post…I Can Hardly Wait…

  19. What a great idea! I think my children’s art overwhelms me more than anything. I have WAY too many piles (yes, piles) of it. I’ve gotten better about it, but I really need to go back and sift through the things I’ve kept.

    I’ve thought about taking pictures, but I love the idea of making sure I include the artist in the photo.

    Kat @ InspiredToAction.com´s last post…The Value of Faithfulness

  20. Thanks Rachel for the link. I thought I’d explain a bit more how my “keeping memories” system works (for small spaces). Like I mentioned in my comment on your other post each child gets a medium rubbermaid bin for all their childhood tangible memory items.

    In these bins goes baby items worth keeping: a favorite blankie or booties, large and very important to keep pieces of artwork, birthday cards. Whatever I feel represents our child or things they were attached to at the time. I stopped adding things to these bins about the age 7 (and there is still space in each bin) when they were old enough to say I really like this and want to save it. They are in charge of these bins now.

    In addition I kept one binder per child that chronicled their life: their choice pieces of artwork, correspondence with grandparents and such from ages birth till 7. In this I keep pages of notes I made about cute things they said and what they were interested in month by month over the years.

    At age 7, using the same binder system, I keep track of their learning for their homeschool evaluations. More of the same: art, photos of them with art (smile), recording what they are learning, what their interests are etc.. So from ages 7 on they have one binder per year. Now that I am schooling all three (my youngest daughter was grade one age this year) I keep everything in one larger binder for easier reference. I can divide them into smaller individual binders later if that is what my kids want to do with their stuff when they grow up. I wrote about those homeschool portfolios here:

    And I just have to say Lane is adorable! Trust me, when she’s older she’ll appreciate the photo more than the cotton ball art!

  21. Great ideas, I started keeping my daughter’s artwork in a binder and scanned the ones we got rid of but I like the idea of having pictures of her with her creations. Thank you!

    funktion rambunktion is @ http://maggieandjohn.wordpress.com

  22. OH my Heck…this is genius….I wish I had thought of this years ago.

    Tina´s last post…Post #100: For My Daughters

  23. I absolutely love this idea! My mom kept everything from 12 years of school and then made me go through it all! I wish she had thought of this.

  24. jenelle says:

    This is genius! I have to start doing this!

  25. great idea. was just flicking through the ‘paper’ section of your site as I’m busy sorting out some seriously neglected paperwork and lack of suitable storage space for said paperwork.(we moved a year ago and it was ‘in need of attention’ before we moved!). Just this weekend I finally took photos of all my son’s artwork from 2yrs of preschool in one sitting. I was sad that we didn’t have dates on them so couldn’t really tell in which order they had been done. Taking a photo with the child in it would totally allow you to order the photos at least to a general age, and doing it outside preschool would alleviate the guilt of items lost or destroyed/wrinkled up under the stroller on the way home.

    My parents bought us a double frame digital photoframe for easter, and I’m hoping I can soon work out how to put photos on a slideshow so that all his ‘artwork’ has a home to go to.