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7 Adorable Ideas for Those Iconic First Day of School Pictures

Sisters waving goodbye to Mom and Dad on their first day of school

Whether your child is in kindergarten or high school, the first day of school is a milestone every parent wants to document. It’s heartwarming to compare your child’s growth year to year—and is anything more charming than the nervous smile of a kiddo carrying a new backpack? First day of school photos are a social media hit, a must-include in family photo books, and a welcome subject for a custom photo card. Try these ideas for A-plus first day of school photos.

1. Conduct an annual interview

Mark the passage of time with a custom sign sharing your child’s answers to a recurring set of questions. For instance, your sign could include your child’s age, his or her teacher’s name, favorite foods or activities, and what your child wants to be when he or she grows up. Document and display your child’s answers year after year to capture growth inside and out.

2. Meet the teacher

Your child’s new teacher will play a huge role in the next nine or 10 months. Snap a quick pic of your child and the teacher when you arrive on the first day. You might also grab a shot at your child’s desk, where there’s likely to be a sign with his or her name. (These pics will make great end-of-the-year gifts for special teachers, too.)

3. Have fun with real-life photo props

Photo props aren’t just for parties—and for first day of school photos, your school supplies can actually double as props. Special backpacks and lunch boxes are obvious ideas, but so are props related to extracurricular activities. Is your child joining the band? Take a picture with the tuba. Playing soccer this year? Have your child put on their uniform and pose with a soccer ball.

4. Incorporate classic school imagery

Who can look at a red apple and not think about school? Who isn’t inspired by a new box of crayons? And who can resist a bright yellow school bus? Including these classic school-related images in photographs of your children will instantly tie photos to the first day of school.

Kids getting off the bus after their first day of school.
Kids getting off the bus after their first day of school.

5. Set the scene with a classroom “set”

A first day of school picture outside the front door might be iconic, but don’t feel restricted to that backdrop. You could set up a chalkboard and take photos in front of it. Another idea: Scour garage sales for old school desks and purchase one for photo shoots.

6. Pay homage to your child’s graduating class

This year’s kindergarteners will graduate from high school in 2032. Let that factoid sink in for a minute, and ponder how adorable it would be to photograph your child with a “Class of 2032” sign every first day of school for the next 13 years. (This is a spin on the ubiquitous monthly baby shots.)

7. Celebrate how far you’ve come

Make an 8×10 print of last year’s first day of school picture, and have your child hold it in this year’s shot. This is a fun way to document the passage of time and create a cohesive collection of photos (think how incredible these photos will look in a custom photo book created for your child’s high school graduation!).

Once you take first day of school photos, make the most of them by creating custom photo cards for grandparents and other family and friends—and don’t forget to include them on the August or September page of your next custom family calendar!

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