20 Simple Back to School Picture Ideas

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Looking for back to school photoshoot ideas? Check out these 20 first day school pictures you should snap before you child heads off to school.

Each of these 1st day of school photo ideas are easy and can be captured on the fly, with little to no pre-planning needed. I focused on school picture ideas with natural backdrops or that use items you have around the house to keep them super simple.

This post was inspired by me being caught unprepared on my toddler’s first day of preschool. I thought I would print out a sign for him to hold but I couldn’t get the printer to work that morning. I ended up having to write up a sign on the fly so we wouldn’t be late.

When our baby started preschool a few months later, I wanted to be ready. And thus, this list was born. Since my kids are toddlers, the list also includes lots of ideas that are simple enough for the youngest kids too.

Let’s check out the back to school photo ideas!

1. Consistent background each year

The picture shows a little girl in a pink dress against a stone wall and the text says back to school photo ideas

Using the same backdrop for your back to school photoshoot each year is an easy way to see how your child grows. Comparing photos with a consistent background really highlights how much kids can change over the course of time.

Some ideas for consistent backgrounds include:

  • Wall of your house
  • School entrance
  • Tree
  • Front door
  • Sidewalk walking away from your house

2. Apple prop

The photo shows a blonde girl with an apple on her head holding an orange book. The text says "apple picture" back to school photo ideas

Apples are a symbol of school that can be an easy and cute back to school photoshoot prop. What I like about an apple as a prop instead of buying props is that you likely already have one sitting around the house.

Having an apple in a photo is also an easy way to add scale to the photo. Your child will look bigger every year compared to the apple they’re holding.

3. Candid send-off

The picture shows three girls with backpacks walking away from the camera and the text says "candid send-off" back to school cute photo ideas

One of my favorite pictures of my kids is of them walking away from the camera with little backpacks on. They look so small and sweet in that candid moment.

4. School Front

The photo shows a girl in pink holding an apple and a brown lunch bag standing in front of doors, presumably of a school. the text says "20 easy back to school photo ideas: school front

Snapping a picture of your child in front of the school can be an easy back to school memory.

If you have a younger kid or a child nervous about the first day, you could also snap a school front shot after school as you’re picking them up. After school likely will be a more relaxed time for them to pose for this photo.

5. Photo with parents

The photo shows a mom holding the hands of two kids with backpacks as they walk away from the camera. The text says easy and cute 1st day of school photo ideas (don't forget a photo with mom)

Don’t forget to get a #proofofmom or #proofofdad photo while you’re doing your first day of school photoshoot! The kids are cleaner and more well dressed than usual so take advantage and get a family shot.

6. Matching outfits

The photo shows two little girls in matching floral dresses and blue cardigans. The text says 20 easy photo ideas for back to school: matching outfits

Truly, one of the greatest joys in my life is dressing my kids in matching outfits. If your kids are amenable, going for the matching first day of school outfits instantly elevates the cuteness of all your back to school pictures.

7. Tree picture

The picture shows a toddler in winter clothes with his hand on a tree trunk. The text says back to school photos: tree picture

My family always did our back to school pictures in front of the tree in our yard. It was a sweet way to show the passage of time because the tree got bigger through the years too. Plus, a tree is an easy background since they’re so readily accessible.

8. Letter board

The photo shows a child holding a black letter board that says first day of school. the text says 20 simple 1st day of school photo ideas: letter board

Letter boards have become trendy for a reason: once you have one they’re a super simple way to personalize photos.

Letter boards are great for first day of school photoshoots because they’re easy and can be customized each year. They also add perspective showing how your child gets bigger each year compared to the board.

9. Chalkboard

the picture shows a little girl holding a small chalkboard that says 1st day of school. The text bubble says 1st day of school 20 cute photo ideas: chalkboard shot

Chalkboards have a similar appeal to a letter board but can be even easier. You can also buy pre-made back to school chalkboards where you fill in details like a madlib, making back to school photos even easier.

10. Sidewalk chalk

The photo shows a boy dressed like a firefighter laying on a sidewalk chalk drawing of a fire truck. The text says back to school photo ideas: sidewalk chalk

Pretty much every kid has sidewalk chalk on hand, making this an even easier alternative to the chalkboard shot. Use chalk to draw on the sidewalk and then take an overhead picture of your child sitting next to drawing looking up.

You could write their grade, the date, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, a picture of what they want to be when they grow up liek the photo above.

11. Sibling picture

The picture shows a boy and girl holding hands in front of a school. The text says sibling picture in big font and "20 can't miss 1st day of school picture ideas" as a sub-title

If you have multiple kids going to their first day of school, don’t forget to get a sibling shot. This may be a rare time when all your kids are looking sharp and ready at the same time, so snap a few pics without the school gear too (they can be good for holiday cards later too).

12. Balloons

The photo shows a child in a school uniform holding balloons. The text says: 20 cute first day of school picture ideas: balloons.

Balloons can add a lot of fun to photos and they’re easy to pick up at the grocery store if you don’t have any on hand.

Like the other props mentioned here, I like how balloons are consistent size so they can also add perspective to show how your child is growing each year.

13. Photo of phone photo

The photo shows a phone taking picture of a child with a school bag and the child is blurry in the background. the text says 20 easy and cute 1st day of school photo ideas (psst.. try this easy and fun phone photo)"

I was in a wedding where the photographer captured some photos of a phone as it took a selfie of the bridesmaids and it turned out really cool. It was a simple way to add some fun to photos and would be very easy to do a back to school photo.

14. Tablet sign

The photo shows a girl holding a tablet that says "back to school." The text overlay says 20 easy photo ideas for back to school: tablet sign shot

Another way to harness technology for an easy photo is to use a tablet in place of a sign. This is an easy idea because you don’t have to worry about making a physical sign, simply use a digital image on your tablet.

This type of photoshoot could also show how technology advances through the years as a unique way to see the passage of time.

15. School gear

the photo shows a girl in pigtails hugging school supplies. The text says 20 easy first day of school picture ideas: with school gear

Kids gets so into their school supplies, so posing with their new school gear can be an easy way to get them to cooperate for pictures. My toddler was so proud to hold up his school bag for photos, even when he wasn’t super thrilled to take other pictures.

16. Homeschool set-up

The photo shows a mom helping a child at a desk. The text says 1st day of school 20 easy photo ideas: homeschool shot

If you homeschool, don’t forget to take back to school pictures too! You can take photos at your child’s desk or using your homeschool set-up. Bonus if you get a proof of the homeschool parenting in some shots too!

17. On the bus

The photo is a close up of kids hanging out a school bus window. The text says easy first day of school picture ideas: on the bus

If your child rides the bus, taking a photo with the bus is a backdrop that is quintessentially school. You could stand in front of the bus or snap a picture from the bus window. Grabbing a picture as your child gets off the bus is also a good option because it won’t delay the bus route.

18. Stairs

The photo shows a child sitting on a staircase with his backpack next to him. The text says 1st day of school easy photo ideas: cute stairs shot

Stairs make an easy photo backdrop that adds depth and interest to a picture. I like how the photo above casually has the school gear also in the shot. If you don’t have stairs at your home, you could snap a shot on a stair case at school.

19. Front door

The photo shows three kids with backpacks on and a mom standing in front of a front door. the text says 20 back to school picture ideas that are easy: front door

What list is complete without the quintessential first day of school picture: standing by the front door. Everyone knows this shot but I included it on this list as a reminder so you don’t forget to take it. The front door shot is the stone cold classic back to school picture.

20. The coming home shot

The photo shows a child holding a back in the distance looking down the hall of a house. The text says 20 cute first day of school picture ideas: coming home

Finally, remember to capture a few pictures from after the first day of school. You can get shots of the kids coming out of school, holding up a piece of school work they did that day, or coming back in the house like in the photo above.

These after school photos are often more relaxed because they don’t have the stress of pre-school jitters and getting to school on time.

Read More:

Need more back to school ideas? Try out some of these back to school traditions for kids and families.

About the Author

Elizabeth Jon is a Ph.D. researcher whose work focuses on pregnancy and education. At Shoestring Baby, she uses her skills to research baby name trends, in-depth baby gear reviews & money savings ideas for parents.

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