Back to School

12 Cute and Creative First Day of School Picture Ideas


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Source: @mrscofieldandco
Source: @mrscofieldandco

Taking photos of your kid on the first day of school is a time-honored mom tradition. I still love looking back on my own first day of school pics, even when I was at peak awkward stage, in my plaid uniform jumper beside my brothers.

While so much of our generation’s childhood was captured in one camera shot, our children are now subjected to SO many moments we want to save (thank you, smartphones and Instagram!). Curating all of our kid’s childhood photos can be a job in and of itself—but that’s a post for another day. Today, we’ve rounded up some simple ideas to creatively capture your child’s first day of school.

We’re certainly not suggesting you do all of these, lest your kid is frowning once they actually arrive at school, but hopefully, they spark an idea or two. And you’ll have a few (or a few hundred) memories to look back on and smile—or laugh.

We’ve rounded up 12 ways to get creative with photos this year—scroll down to see and shop some of our favorite props for the perfect pic!


1. With a Letter Board or a Sign

The letter board has become synonymous with modern first day of school pictures—and for good reason! Add your little one’s name, grade, the year, and maybe even some career aspirations (like in the second example photo below!) and you’ve got yourself the perfect keepsake to commemorate the day. 

first day of school picture ideas

Source: @ojuspatel

first day of school sign
Etsy | Dazzle Your Puzzle
Back to School Dry Erase Board
Shop now
first day of school picture ideas
Felt Letter Board

Want to fit more words on a bigger sign? Try this 12x17" version.

many colors available

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back to school pictures
Etsy | Peach Bloom Creations
First Day of School Dry Erase Board

The perfect option to use year after year.

multiple fonts and styles available

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back to school sign
Etsy | Mr C Wood Products
First Day of School Rustic Sign

Perfect to use with more than one child, this option is minimalist and cute.

Shop now


2. With Celebratory Balloons

Balloons are a great addition to any celebratory occasion, and the first day of a new school year is definitely a reason to celebrate. A bunch of balloons can be used as an additional prop (like in the cute pic below) or you can purchase a school-themed mylar balloon or personalized balloon that showcases your child’s grade for some extra pizzaz. 

first day of school picture ideas

Source: @mama.jots

back to school balloon
Etsy | Trace Paper Pen
Hello School Balloon

What kid doesn't love a balloon? Options available from preschool through senior year of high school.

Shop now
apple balloon
Oriental Trading Company
Mylar Apple Balloon

Have this apple blown up with helium at the grocery store so you'll be all set for first day of school pics!

Shop now


3. With Their Sibling(s)

Whether your child is the first one in the family to head off to school or you have a group of kiddos grabbing their backpacks this fall, first day of school pictures are always sweeter when they include siblings! 

kids first day of school

Source: @jlgarvin


4. With Their Homeschooling Set-Up

Many kids won’t be heading into a traditional school building this fall when they start classes again, but that doesn’t mean their first day of school pic should be any less exciting! Show off your family’s homeschool set-up by having your LO pose in their learning space for a super cute pic to kick off the year. 


5. With Their Picture From Last Year

This first day of school picture idea is extra special because it shows how much your child grows year after year. Simply start the tradition with a first day snapshot and, next year, have your kid hold a framed version of last year’s photo in their new pic. Keep the chain going year after year for a fun family memento! 

first day of school picture ideas

Source: How Does She


6. With a Festive Flag

Arguably one of the easiest—but most adorable!—first day of school picture ideas is having your child hold a festive flag that displays the grade they’re starting that year. Many Etsy shops sell printable versions for DIY flags or you can purchase pre-made packs that include each grade to be used year after year. Both options are linked below! 

first day of school picture ideas

Source: @shapinup

back to school sign
Etsy | Ting Stationary
First Day of School Flag

Add ribbon to this black and white pennant for a little flair.

Printable version also available here.

Shop now
back to school
The Letterman Co
First and Last Day School Pennant

A retro pennant you can use year after year.

Shop now
Etsy | Bloom and Grow Co
First Day of School Flag

If you'd rather the sign be pre-made, ribbon and all, this adorable sign can be customized with colors and stars.

Printable version also available here.

Shop now
back to school sign
The Letterman Co
School Grade Pennant

Another adorable felt pennant available in multiple colors.

Buy on its own or grab a full set through 5th grade so you'll be set year after year.

Shop now
back to school photo
Etsy | Happy Day Play
School Printable Flags

Cute downloadable pencil-themed flags cover daycare through 6th grade, so you'll be set year after year.

Shop now


7. With a High School Graduation T-Shirt

This one takes a bit more pre-planning, but it’s so fun to pull off if you can make it happen. Purchase a t-shirt (a few cute options are linked below!) with your child’s graduation year and watch them grow into the shirt a bit more each year when you take their first day of school photo. 

class of 2036 t-shirt
Etsy | MaleyDesigns
Class of 2036 Grow With Me T-Shirt

Decide whether you want them to grow into the shirt each year or choose a size they can wear right now, while keeping track of their growth with annual hand prints on the back!

sizes 2T - Adult XXXL

multiple colors available

Shop now
Etsy | Mamm Clothing
Graduation Class Personalized Shirt

A T-shirt they can grow into. Comes in adult sizes XS - 2XL.

multiple colors available

Shop now


8. With Sidewalk Chalk

If you’re artistically-gifted, this picture option is an unexpected way to DIY your own first day or back to school sign using sidewalk chalk. Take the photo from above and have your LO pose by sitting, standing, or lying next to your creation for a perfectly Instagram-able moment. 

sidewalk chalk
Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk

Write your little one's grade or a celebratory sign on the driveway, sidewalk, or stairs to celebrate the day!

Shop now


9. With Fun Props

Whether you’re hosting an at-home first day breakfast for your family complete with school-themed decor or simply want some props to jazz up your photo op, there are lots of oh-so-adorable pieces you can either DIY or purchase for your pics! 

pencil garland
Etsy | Glitter Party Co
First Day of School Pencil Banner

We love a banner, and this pencil version with pink felt balls is too cute! Use as a photo background year after year.

Shop now
first day of school felt garland
Etsy | Glitter Party Co
First Day of School Felt Garland

Use this cute garland as a backdrop for school pictures year after year!

Shop now
first day of school picture ideas
First Day of School Decorations

Create your own photo booth by adding a few school-themed props.

Shop now


10. With Their New School Gear

You probably spent a small fortune buying your kiddos new backpacks, lunch boxes, and the rest of their school gear—so why not have them display it in their first day snapshots? Plus, the pictures will be a cute reminder of what your LOs were into during that particular school year or age range. 


11. In Front of Their School

Most first day of school pictures are snapped at home before your kid gets on the bus or is dropped off at their school. But why not take a cute pic of them in front of their school instead for the ultimate backdrop? 

back to school sign
Etsy | Bloom Owl
First Day of School Chalkboard

An actual chalkboard (not a printable) that can be customized with your child's name and updated with chalk or chalk pens each year.

Shop now


12. With Mom (or Dad!)

It’s a rare moment when mom (or dad!) gets in the picture and the first day of a new school year is the perfect time to jump in. Your LOs will love looking back on these sweet memories as they grow up. 

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