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30 Tips for Creative First-Day-of-School Pictures You'll Remember Forever

Capture every gap-toothed smile and first day outfit before sending them off to school!

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It’s a rite of passage to snap photos of your kids before each first day of school — even if your kid refuses to smile or look into the camera anymore. Do you really want to wake up one day and realize you missed that first-day-of-kindergarten photo? Or you totally forgot to capture their first steps into a new middle school? Whether you’re making a Yearbook or adding first-day-of-school photos to your Monthbooks, these are the pictures worth saving. Here’s how you can take creative, memorable back-to-school photos you’ll want to show off. Try these for homeschooling, too!

  1. Signs
    You can’t go wrong with whiteboard or chalkboard signs. These tools will help you keep track of your kids’ grades and interests, plus they look super cute.
  2. Matching outfits
    If your kids’ first days of school line up, send them in matching outfits! (This is even easier to pull off if they’re required to wear uniforms.)
  3. Over-the-shoulder backpack
    Your kids’ backpacks are an important part of their school ensemble. Snap an over-the-shoulder backpack
    photo, capturing the color and its accessories (or a super cute shot of your little one wearing a backpack that’s nearly half their size!) 
  4. Large shirt
    Invest in a large t-shirt your student can grow into and wear it for every first day of school from elementary through high school.
  5. Stairs
    Add some framing to your photo with a shot on the stairs. On the first day, have your kiddo sit on the stairs, showing off their outfit, their backpack, or even lounging with a chalkboard sign. If you have more than one student heading off to school, position them on the stairs in descending order for a super cute shot of all your kids. 
  6. Before the first day and after the first day shot
    Plan for a
    before the first day and an after the first day shot so you can remember the nice outfit you dressed them in, then show how messy and happy they look when they return home.
  7. Future profession
    Dress them in an outfit that resembles their future profession, whatever that may be right now (yes, even a space cowboy!).
  8. Dog
    Take a photo of your kiddos saying goodbye to their four-legged best friend, or as they walk the dog on the way to the bus stop (you can also get a special first day of school collar for your pup to include them in the action).
  9. Parents
    No first day of school photo op would be complete without a photo of your excited student posing with their parents! These are especially important photos to snap when they’re younger — before they get “too cool” to pose with adults.
  10. Door frame
    If you have a door frame at home where you measure your little bean sprouts’ height, this is a great place to take a first day photo! You’ll be able to keep track of how fast they’re growing, plus add an interesting perspective to your picture.
  11. Best friends
    Snap a shot of your kids with their best friends or fav neighbors at the bus stop, so you can look back at how much they’ve all grown together.
  12. Candid
    Take a candid of them as they get ready for the day, like when they zip up their backpack or grab their lunchbox off the counter.
  13. Tree
    Find a low-hanging branch or sturdy tree and help your kids climb up for a cute shot that represents their day of adventures — plus, it makes for an interesting shot!
  14. School sign
    If you’re able to drop your child off at school, snag a photo of them posing with their school sign.
  15. Neutral wall
    Find a neutral wall, brick background or any background that helps your kids' first day outfit (and smile) pop. 
  16. Collage
    Can’t choose your favorite photo? Go for a collage! This is a great way to remember every moment of their big day, from getting ready to anxiously waiting for the big yellow bus to pull up.
  17. Chalkboard
    On a chalkboard, have them write out their name, grade and any other information so you can see how their handwriting progresses. (Bonus points if they can write it out in cursive when they get older!)
  18. Photos within a photo
    Each year on their first day of school, take a photo of them holding last year’s photo so each first-day-of-school photo becomes a series of photos within a photo that continue to go back in time.
  19. Class year apparel
    Let them wear a hat, t-shirt, or other piece of apparel that has their class year on it, and watch them grow into the apparel with each first-day-of-school pic.
  20. Last day of school pics
    Instead of comparing your first-day-of-school pics over the years, don’t forget to snap last-day-of-school pics that you can put in a side-by-side collage! Pro tip: Get a graduation hat they can grow into and take pics of them wearing it on the last day of school each year.
  21. Text tool
    Instead of using a chalkboard or worrying about small, cramped writing, take a picture of your kids on a neutral background with lots of space behind them and add cute details like the date, their grade and the things they love using the text tool or a photo editor (or even on Instagram).
  22. Parent vs. child side-by-side
    Snap a traditional first-day-of-school pose of your kids, then snap a parent photo to show as a side-by-side. Show off your emotions! Are you nervous or excited for your little ones to leave? Watch how confident you look as the years go by.
  23. Chalk
    Start a tradition where your kids draw on the sidewalk or asphalt with chalk (don’t forget to write the year!), and then lay down beside their creations for a photo.
  24. Behind-the-back photo
    Snap a behind-the-back photo as they board the bus or head for the morning carpool each year. (Bonus points if you can snap an over-the-shoulder wave.)
  25. Favorite book
    Before they head to school, have them pose with their current favorite book so you can look back and see how (or if) their tastes have changed at all!
  26. Letter board
    Go for a simple letter board (think white letters on a black background) for a sign that’s easy to read and you can pull out at the beginning of each school year (or keep out year-round).
  27. Word bubble
    Use a word bubble (you can make this with foam and chalkboard paint) for your kids to hold up with their current go-to phrase. We're guessing for most preschoolers, they’re known for yelling “no!”
  28. Favorite hobby
    Grab a soccer ball, paint brush or video game controller — whatever their current favorite hobby is — and have them pose with it to keep track of how their interests have (or haven’t) changed over the years.
  29. Newspaper
    Try this traditional photo with your kids: Purchase a copy of the morning paper and have your kiddos hold it open, with the first page clearly showing the date and photo. This can be a cool way for them to remember what was happening in the world as they headed off for their big first day.
  30. Sleeping
    For a nontraditional, completely candid photo, sneak a picture of them in the morning while they’re still sleeping under the covers. You’ll be able to capture how their room changes over the years — and if you can snap the numbers on the clock in the background, just how much they’ll like to sleep in when they’re teens!
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