Anyone can take a quick snapshot, but with a few helpful ideas, you can make your first day of school pictures extra special this year. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to get amazing photos of this important day, no matter how old your kids are.

Creative First Day of School Picture Ideas for Pre-School and Kindergarten

The youngest students think the first day of school is a big deal, and they’re absolutely right. Taking pictures can be a wonderful family back-to-school activity and an excellent way to capture memories you’ll treasure.

Bring in Lots of Color

Make or buy a colorful sign and decorate it with your chosen back-to-school message. Have your little one pose with their backpack and a first-day outfit, and take lots of photos of this colorful and memorable moment. You can pose them in front of your house or the school, or for added color, you can find a pretty and colorful backdrop.

Show the Goodbye Hug

If your child is nervous about school, you can make that part of your first day photos. Ask if it’s okay to take a photo of the goodbye hug. As your kid becomes more confident, they’ll love seeing how they’ve grown emotionally. This type of photo can also be a precious memory for you as the years go by. Before taking this type of photo, get your child’s permission and only take the photo if there aren’t a lot of tears.

Take Back-to-School Pictures From Above

While it’s often a good idea to get down low to take pictures of your child, you can show how small your little one is by taking photos from above. Find a shady spot under a tree or overhang and have your child look up at you. Place their backpack or book bag on the ground next to them to show this is a first day photo.

Unique Back-to-School Picture Ideas for Elementary School

The first day of school is a big deal for elementary students, who often love to mark the milestone of starting a new grade. There are lots of fun ways to create unique first-day photos of kids this age.

Let Them Write the First Day of School Sign

If you’re going to have kids hold up a first day sign, try letting them write it themselves. This adds to the charm of your first day photos, whether you choose to do a chalkboard sign or make one with crayons or markers. You can include the grade they are starting, or simply let it be about the first day of school. Either way, get lots of photos of your kid holding up their handmade sign.

Show Your Kid Getting Ready on the First Day of School

Getting ready for school is part of the everyday routine that starts on the first day, and documenting these ordinary moments can be a fun way to preserve them. It’s easy to forget the little details, so if you have time, follow your kid around while they’re getting ready. Snap photos of breakfast, teeth brushing, making lunch, and any other special routines.

Get in the Photo With Them

Before your kids get old enough to be embarrassed by having you in the first day of school pictures, grab the chance to step into the photo. While you may not love having your picture taken, you play an important role in your child’s life. You’ll love having photos that document your relationship.

Ideas for First Day of School Pictures for Teens

Even though they may not act like it, the first day of a new school year is a big deal for older kids too. You can get some great first day photos of your teen with these ideas.

Capture Your Teen in Their Natural Environment

Sure, your teen may be too old to hold up a first day of school sign, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grab a photo of your older kid in their natural environment. Before school on the first day, have your teen stand outside. Take some shots of them in the morning light, wearing what they’ve chosen. This is your best chance at a natural smile, and it’s a picture you’ll love having.

Catch Them With Their Friends

Hanging out with friends after a summer of less structured time can be one of the most exciting parts of going back to school. Catch your teen with their friends for some candid first day of school pictures everyone will love. You can stop by the school and take photos before or after the day begins, or set up a get-together at a local park or in your backyard.

Get a Locker Photo of Your Teen

When you head to school for orientation or the open house, take the opportunity to capture a locker photo of your teen. Have them stand by their locker and grab a quick photo. This is an iconic image of going back to school, and everyone will love it.

Adorable First Day of School Pictures for Siblings

While it’s great to take back-to-school pictures of kids individually, it’s also fun to get some shots of siblings together. There are a few fun ideas you should try this year.

Take That Classic Front Door Photo

Pose the kids in front of your home’s front door and get that classic shot of them together. You can add ‘first day of school’ signs or simply show off how cute they look in their new outfits. If you can capture a little sibling interaction, that’s even better. This is a traditional photo for a reason; they’ll treasure it for years to come.

Capture the Race for the Bus

Before the bus arrives, get ready with your camera in front of your front door. Shoot continuously as your kids run to catch the bus. You’ll love the action shots of siblings racing off for the first day, and kids will love looking back at these candid first-day-of-school photos.

Show That Sibling Interaction in First Day of School Pictures

Show how your kids feel about each other by having them look at one another or make each other laugh in your back-to-school photos. These pictures will be treasured, since sibling relationships change and mature over time. Think of this first day of school picture as a snapshot of the siblings at this point in time.

Funny Back-to-School Picture Ideas

Going back to school doesn’t have to be serious business in every way. Capture some humor with your first day of school pictures using these ideas.

Reveal Your Relief in First Day Pictures

There’s no point in hiding the fact that there’s a little relief that comes with kids going back to school. Take a funny first day of school picture showing how you feel. You can give your spouse a high-five as the school bus rolls away, or take a photo where you pretend to screech the minivan tires as you drop the kids off at school.

Capture the First Day of School Overwhelm

It’s easy for kids of all ages to feel nervous about going back to school and a little overwhelmed on the first day. You can channel this feeling into a humorous photo. Have your kid put their nose against a blackboard or pile a giant stack of books on the table. Being lighthearted about the stomach butterflies that come with this transition can help make it easier. Read your kiddo’s willingness to be photographed and skip the photo altogether if it makes them uncomfortable or increases their anxiety.

Take a Silly Back-to-School Selfie

Hand kids your phone and let them take some silly selfies for some of the school pictures. You’ll be amazed at how hilarious these back-to-school pictures can be. It’s a good idea to fill in with some serious shots too, but the funny ones may be your favorites.

Ideas for First Day and Last Day of School Pictures

You can get some wonderful before and after photos of your child on the first day of school and the last day of school. There are lots of ways to do this, and you’ll love looking at the pictures side by side.

Take Photos Getting On and Off the Bus

If your kid rides the school bus, take a photo on the first day of school as they are about to get on. Then on the last day of school, wait by the bus stop to capture their joy as they get off the bus to start summer vacation. These two images can capture the big emotions kids feel about the school year.

Show How Proud You Are

Take first day photos of hugging your kids as they leave for school. Then pair those with last day photos of you hugging them after a busy and productive year. They’ll look at these pictures later and know how proud you are of them.

Tips to Make Your Back-to-School Photoshoot a Success

Whether you’re taking a funny first day of school photo or capturing your goodbye hug outside the school building, there are a few key tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your back-to-school photoshoot relaxed and fun. Don’t stress if you aren’t getting the perfect shot. These images will be special, no matter what happens.
  • Try different angles to give your shots variety and a different mood. Shoot from low, high, and eye level. Move to one side and the other.
  • Use the camera you have. Don’t worry if you don’t have an expensive DSLR or fancy camera. Your phone camera can take great photos too.
  • Look for great light. The best light for portraits is usually open shade. This means you should shoot on the shady side of a building or under a tree to avoid harsh shadows.
  • Show the accessories that tell the story. While a back-to-school photo sign is fun, you can also tell the story of going back to school by including backpacks, books, lunch boxes, and other items.

Embrace the Milestones As Kids Head Back to School

Once you’ve captured the perfect first day of school picture, you can pair it with a back-to-school quote. This will make a great post on social media, and it’s a fun way to show family and friends how kids are growing and embracing these new milestones. You can create even more photo opportunities by throwing a back-to-school bash for your kids and their classmates.