6 ideas for back to school photos

It’s time to start planning the first day of school photos that many parents take to one-up each other on social media — sorry, to remember the milestones for years to come.

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Here are six ideas to mark the occasion:

1. Here’s a sign

There are tons of signs that your kid can hold or stand by as they are ready to head to the bus — or the kitchen table, for learning-from-home situations.

Good Housekeeping has examples ranging from a simple whiteboard filled out with a marker to a pre-produced, fill-in-the-blank chalkboard that can be reused and stored year after year, or a letter board that can be repurposed throughout the year and not saved for only one or two days.

CafeMom suggests using sidewalk chalk to write out the grade your child is entering, and snap a photo of them lying next to it.

Shutterfly suggests trying to use the same background to show their growth over the year (or years).

Another simple idea: Print the sign on your home’s printer. CafeMom says “Go for the understated look that is completely classic. All you need is the most basic of descriptions: ‘first day of [X grade].’ Done and done.”

2. Candid shots

Buck the trend and instead of the boards filled out with your child’s likes and grade, Good Housekeeping says to consider getting a candid shot while they prepare for their first day.

Also, get in the shot with them. Parents are going to feel some of the same things as their kids when the little (or not so little ones) head back to school. Get family members together, the publication suggests.

Shutterfly suggests grabbing a shot or two of your child sleeping before waking them up for the big day.

3. Future plans

If your child wants to be a doctor, get them a lab coat. If they want to be a firefighter, find a firefighter’s hat. As Good Housekeeping said, “have them dress the part for cute themed photos!”

You could make it a theme of their schooling career and see how their plans change as they grow up.

If they aren’t really happy about going to school, show it, Bored Panda said. Not everything is lollipops and rainbows. Sometimes kids just aren’t excited.

Or do the first day versus the second day, especially when they realize “yes, they have to go back to that place.”

4. Don’t settle for just one

If there’s time — and really will there be as they’re rushing out the door? — but if there is, by some miracle, time to take a couple of different shots, collage them. Put them on one layout that highlights your kid for their first day, Good Housekeeping suggests.

And while you’re at it, remember those frames that had kindergarten through senior year that many of us grew up with? Bring the display into the 21st century and print the photos — yes print them, get those photos off the phone and social media — and hang them. Here’s one display idea.

Another way to show the passage of time may take a little organization and preparation. Again, print out the photo from the last year and have your child hold it, repeating it every year to show how much they’ve grown.

If the kiddo is a bit older (read that as a teenager), have them hold their kindergarten photo, if you can find it, Simplemost suggested.

Bored Panda suggests taking the morning photo of your child dressed perfectly for school in the morning, and then appearing a bit disheveled in the afternoon.

5. Have some fun yourself

While the kiddos are embarking on their learning, you’re going to be able to relish the silence of a house that isn’t quite as lively as it has been. Have fun with it with your own celebration photos.

If you have a couple of kids, especially if the younger ones aren’t old enough for school, CafeMom has a suggestion to have your school-aged child with his or her sign and the siblings in the background. has compiled a few other fun photo ideas.

6. Don’t just think about the first day

Think about the first, last and all the days in between. Shutterfly says take pictures of days that will help tell the story of your child’s year. If it is their first field trip, grab a photo. First snow day, grab a photo. You get the idea. At the end of the year, put them all together for a picture collage.

You can also give the kid the camera and let them take photos that they think will mark their first day, Shutterfly suggested.

What about their first weekend at the end of the first week of classes? Bored Panda has an example of a child who was waiting for the weekend when it finally arrived.