There are 13 days left until the first day of school (not that I’m counting or anything). On my mind, aside from having a few hours a day to myself, is the first day of school pictures. They have become such a thing lately. And it’s a tradition I am so happy we started!

I was asked by a few friends to give my top photo tips on getting the perfect first day of school photos. I hopped on Periscope to share my favorite tips. In case you missed that Scope, I have it all recapped here!

Back to School Photo Tips

back to school photo tips 3

1. Propsfirst day of schoolProps are a big deal when it comes to first day of school photos. They go from simple to extravagant. Personally, I stick to the simple. Each year, I use the same wooden chalkboard and simply write the grade. If you aren’t a good chalkboard letterer (is that even a word?), I got you covered. There’s a simple way to get do fancy chalkboard lettering without being a pro.

first day of school free printable signs featured image

Other options are printable signs. There are a ton on Pinterest so I will save you some time and link you to mine. Don’t have time for either? Grab a cookie sheet and magnet letters and you are good to go!

Need more ideas? Here are some first day of school photo ideas.

2. Watch out for identifiers. There are a lot of things that we as parents and photographers have to worry about these days. When taking first day of school photos, watch out for identifiers in your photos such as school name, street name, house address, bus company and number. These are especially important if you are posting photos on social media.

3. Be mindful of other kids. Remember, not everyone wants their child’s photo taken, let alone have that photo posted on Facebook or Instagram. If the parents are there, ask them! If not, try to get them blurred in the background or the back of their head or, better yet, have your child move so they aren’t in the photo.

4. Use back or sidelighting. Since you will be taking these photos in the morning during the golden hours, your lighting should be great! Have your child face you with the sun at their backs. If the sun is overpowering them, turn them to the side a little and use the sun as sidelighting. Still too much? Take them around the corner of the house or put them under a tree to get more shade.

5. Don’t forget the details. 

mabels labels teeny tags
While we are focusing on our kids that morning, the little details are important to capture as well. From their backpack to name tag to the brand new sneakers that will be destroyed in 6 weeks, take them as well!

6. Show growth. 

First Day of School vs. Last Day of School!

A photo posted by Stephanie (@thestephglover) on

I try to take our first day of school photos under the same tree. Not only does it provide me much needed shade but it also helps show growth through the school year. I take a first day of school photo along with a last day of school photo. I like to put them side-by-side and see just how much my kids have grown over the year!

7. Get candids.


Candids are some of my favorite photos! You never know what kind of photo you are going to get and you really capture your child’s personality!

Missed my Scopes? You can check them out below!

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