First Day Of School Photo Ideas

Welp, it’s official….we’ve started thinking about first day of school photo ideas here in our house. A few years ago, as my kiddo was about to start kindergarten, I came up with a list of ideas to help other moms document the big day as well.

Distance learning has changed what the first day of school looks like for many of our kids, but the desire and intent to photograph this milestone remains.

As you come up with your own first day of school photo ideas (featuring laptops or masks, perhaps?!) here are 7 tips to help make them as frustration free as possible.

I can not believe my baby is about to turn 5 and will be getting on the bus to go to big kid school and off to Kindergarten in just a few weeks.

::cue emotional mommy mode::

{Random Fact} I used to be a Kindergarten teacher in my former life. Hence this being a huge emotional milestone is our world.


The kids who were in my first Kindergarten class are going to be high school seniors this year. I’m about to meet with one of those kids this fall to take his senior portraits!

Talk about a full circle experience.

And one that’s making me feel really old.


But it’s re-affirmed my love of photography and memory making on so many levels.

One of the things I asked my families to do when I was in the classroom was to write me a letter about their child. I saved all the letters and dug them out of a box last week. I could feel the immense love these parents had for their kids. I actually want to see if I can track down all the parents and send them their letters.

I’m in awe at how I’ve been able watch some of those kids grow through the magic of social media these last 12 years as I’ve stayed connected to their parents.

And it’s got my mind racing around how I want to both celebrate and document this special time in our own lives.

I want to be present enough to soak in this moment with my daughter, but also have the experience documented as to never forget what it felt like either.


Because that’s the ultimate balance in this journey.

Capturing the memories while also keeping enough space open to truly celebrate them too.

If you’re looking for ideas for capturing the first day of school in a creative, mindful, and present way, here’s 7 first day of school photo ideas for doing just that this year.

1) The first day of school outfit

One tradition we started during preschool was having our daughter wear the same dress on the first and last day to see how much she’s grown. I’ve seen other parents put their kids in the same over sized shirt every year to see how long it takes them to fit in it. Whatever you do, have fun prepping the perfect clothing option for you.

2) Ask your kids for their photo ideas

Make back to school photos as much fun for your kids as it is for you. Allow them to help pick their clothes, choose a location, or plan an activity outside. Let them grab their backpack and show it off or wear their brand new shoes. Find something that engages your child and make that a part of the photo taking fun.

3) Incorporate props into your first day of school photos

Some parents like making signs to show off the grade or age of their child (a quick search on Pinterest for Back To School Signs should result in something you can print real quick!). Others like to share their child’s favorite things at the start of the year. You can even incorporate favorite hobbies into your photos too whether it be a sport, art, or other fun activity your child enjoys. Or the prop can be as simple as their backpack! Also, have fun picking the perfect location! Go up to the school,  the bus stop, or your front porch to snap pictures.


4) Beware of privacy

If you decide to take photos of your child getting on the bus or walking into the school building for the first time, be aware of any information that could breach your families’ privacy. Don’t allow bus numbers, house numbers, or school names to be prominently displayed in your photos. At least the ones you plan to share publicly on social media.

5) Plan your first day of school photos ahead of time

Does your school do an orientation before school starts? Why not take your ‘first day’ photos then? Oftentimes your kiddos will be more receptive to photo taking at that time more so than the first day. On the first day of school there are all the back to school jitters, excitement of seeing friends, and rush to get out the door on time. It can make the photo taking rushed too which can result in a stressful situation for everyone.


6) Pair your first day of school photos with words

Write your child a letter. Tell your child what you love about them, how they’ve grown, what their likes and dislikes are. So much growth and change can happen from year to year, while other pieces of their personalities will stay constant through the years. What do you want to remember about them? What do you want them to know? Save the letters and photos to print into a book for when they graduate.

7) Be prepared for the first day of school

Along with taking the photos and writing a letter before the first day, why not make sure you’ve learned the ins and outs of your camera before the day arrives? I’ve got classes designed especially for families that will give you the jump start needed for taking your best first day of school photos yet.