10 Tips for Taking Memorable Back-to-School Photos

All the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic means families are scrambling to plan for the 2020-21 school year, whether it’s in person or virtual or a mix of both. One of my favorite traditions during the back-to-school season is the first day of school photos.

I think we’re all working overtime trying to maintain some level of normalcy in our kids’ lives. Despite the current circumstances, it’s essential to keep the back-to-school traditions going. Whether you prefer to take these photos on your front porch, indoors, or yard, these ten tips will ensure you have amazing pictures of your child’s first day of school this year.

Make it a family affair

Are you familiar with those feelings of sending our little ones off to school for the very first time? Talk about a mix of emotions! Be sure to capture some special memories on the first day of school by joining your kids in the annual back-to-school picture.

From the first day of kindergarten to the day you pack the car up and hugged them goodbye as they head off to college. Jumping in the frame for this annual milestone will mean the world to your kiddos down the road. 



Highlight this annual milestone

Back to school photos mark an annual milestone and are a great way to document your child’s growth from year to year. A great way for these milestones to stand out is by taking the same back-to-school picture every year. This can be achieved by taking a couple of photos against a constant background- the same mailbox, or beneath the same tree in your backyard. You’ll be capturing the wonderful progression of your child growing up amidst the surroundings of their childhood home. If you’ve recently moved, embrace other constants. A great idea is to have them in the same pose during the photo.

Get them happy and smiling

Sometimes it’s difficult to hold a child’s attention, especially the younger kids. There’s no shame in using whatever techniques necessary to get kids to cooperate and smile. From singing silly songs to the promise of donuts after, do what you can to capture your child’s attention.


Spice up the photos with simple props

Props are a great way to spice up your kids’ back-to-school photos. Almost anything can be a prop, from everyday things like books or backpacks to homemade DIY props. Use your imagination and experiment!

  1. Grab something of your child’s that is their go-to activity at this moment and include them in your back to school photos!
  2. You can write your child’s name, grade, and teacher’s name on a cute chalkboard as a fun way to remember the new school year!

Add pops of color

Vibrant colors will add extra interest to the photos. Don’t be afraid to throw on some bright sunglasses or a brightly colored backpack. 

Get a “Class of…” T-shirt

Create a timeless back-to-school photography photo with a t-shirt and fun iron-on! Your kids will wear the same shirt at the beginning of every year until they are ready to take their senior picture!

Let your child choose the outfit

It can be challenging to let go of choosing your child’s back-to-school outfit. But it’s a great way to produce photos that truly capture your child’s personality. Let them pick out something that they feel fabulous and confident in, even if it’s their favorite Spiderman shirt or purple tutu. 


Change up the location

Back-to-school photos are typically taken at the front door, but your photos don’t have to be the same as everyone else’s. Take pictures of your child in their favorite places in the house. This may provide them comfort on what might be an anxious day. This can also help bring out more of their natural smiles and personalities.

Capture Candid Moments

Posed pictures are great, but candid shots can be priceless! Step back and capture your little ones engaging with their peers or siblings.


Pay attention to the backdrop

For great pictures, don’t forget the background in your photos. Find a neutral backdrop and snap some gorgeous close-up pictures! If you have access to a tree, hedge, or even your garden can provide an interesting backdrop for the back-to-school photos. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t just throw your photos up on Instagram and Facebook only to have them disappear into the feed forever. Make sure you get them printed and display them proudly. Back-to-school photos make a fun addition to any family photo album. You can find out more about how we make it easy to print and enjoy family photos in our family yearbook membership.

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