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.
Want to fit more words on a bigger sign? Try this 12x17" version.
many colors available
The perfect option to use year after year.
multiple fonts and styles available
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
We love a banner, and this pencil version with pink felt balls is too cute! Use as a photo background year after year.
Use this cute garland as a backdrop for school pictures year after year!
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?
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.