As you get ready to send the kids back to the classroom, don’t forget to take a first day of school photo! From DIY chalkboards to signs that show how much they’ve grown, there are lots of ways to make your photos pop. Keep reading to snap up some inspiration.

Epic Start

Even the bravest among us can get a little jittery on the first day. Attitude is everything, so put your tyke at ease before the big day with a composition that matches the magnitude. We love what this dad did with a wide-open road. For other larger-than-life inspiration, think of what you can do with a sunrise, a costume, a hiking trail or an athletic field.


Strut Your Stuff

Let your little one express their own personal style in their back-to-school photo. If that means a mismatched outfit or a pair of sassy shades, all the better! We love this free-spirited shot by JoopaShoots Photography that totally captures this kiddo’s personality.

Chalk It Up

With chalkboard paint and a little creativity, you can make your own photo prop like this one from Mimi’s Dollhouse. It’ll be fun to look back over the years to see how your little one has changed. Click here to get all the details, including where to find a mess-free chalk marker.

A Colorful Start

How cute is this photo frame prop from Surviving a Teacher’s Salary? In addition to being a fun craft to finish off your summer with, it’s super easy—click here to get step-by-step instructions on how to make your own.

Hit the Books

This simple idea from Ruffles and Stuff is one that could really last through the years, especially if you’ve got a budding bookworm on your hands. Each year, have them pose with their current favorite book and watch as their tastes change.

Scholarly Props

Have some fun with props—got an old typewriter or a stack of textbooks laying around? They’ll be the perfect backdrop for your mini photo shoot. Add in a pair of faux glasses, and you’re in business.

Sky’s the Limit

Take some of that sidewalk chalk the kids have been using all summer and switch things up with a new point of view. It will remind your stellar student that the sky really is the limit.

Two Birds, One Sign!

Anyone else forget to keep up with that growth chart hanging behind the bedroom door? Use one as a backdrop, and you’ll know exactly how much they’ve grown by the end of the school year. For inspiration, check out how to double-down on the adorable over at Jonesing2Create.

photo: Jennifer Massoni Pardini

First Friends

Along with reading and writing, our kids are learning how to make best friends. Get the school year off on the right foot with a group photo for the ages (Sharing the spotlight takes the pressure off, too.).

Cool Collage

Putting the first and last days of each school year side-by-side is always fun, and apps like Instagram’s Layout make it easier than ever to take posterity to the next level. Try collaging each first-day snap and eventually capture every school year in one photo! (If you want to add text or designs, we heart photo editing apps like PicLab and PicMonkey.)

One Size Fits All

Class of 2032 may not roll off the tongue today, but it will be here before you know it. This is a fun way to watch them grow while the same t-shirts somehow get smaller and smaller. And check out the genius way Where The Smiles Have Been utilized the real estate on the back to track handprints every year.

Gear Show

For school kids, September is synonymous with a fresh start. If this is the year for a new backpack, lunch bag or dynamite duds, give them a chance to showcase the swag in their first-day photo.

Parents in the Picture

While you watch in awe as the kids mature, you also change from parents of preschoolers to—somehow—soon-to-be grads. As one future mom reminds us, it’s important to document your own evolution along the way. Later, the kids will thank you.

After School Special

Hooray! They made it through the first day! Be sure to commemorate that moment, too, along with all its relief and excitement. That feeling of hearing the school bell ring and knowing a fun afternoon awaits captures a special essence of childhood, doesn't it?

Video Star

Press record and ask the questions you’d usually save for the sign—grade level, favorite things and the most timeless of inquiries: what they want to be when they grow up. With a live interview, you’ll capture even more—the voice, the gestures, the giddy charm—about this age and time. After all, by next year they’ll have gone and grown up all over again.

— Jennifer Massoni Pardini & Susie Foreman



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