First Day of School Photo Traditions

As we arrived for the first day back to school, we saw the familiar line of families waiting to take pictures in front of the school

signboard.  I love this tradition of taking essentially the same picture of your kids, year after year, on the first day of school.  It’s an easy way to capture a time-series of similar shots you can enjoy (and use to the kids’chagrin at their graduation parties). With consistency and tenacity, you can end up with a 13-image time-series like this one.

Our version of the tradition is super simple: a picture with the backpack before we head out the door. That’s about all I can manage most “first days of school”, and I figure it has the highest chance of being a picture my child will still let me take when she is 12, 14, or 16.  I like to pair up this year’s photo with her kinder photo and Photo Mambo it off to share with the grandparents and aunties/uncles.

Some folks get super creative about this tradition. So, if you’re looking for inspiration, check out this Pinterest board for ideas like:

  • Order a large t-shirt printed with their graduation year and photograph them in that shirt every year through graduation
  • Chalk boards with the current grade and other info (like what I want to be when I grow up)
  • Apple on the head (sort of a William Tell thing?)
  • Have them hold a picture frame that says what grade they’re in
  • Pictures with the school bus or the family dog.
  • Lots of super-fancy printable signs to hold.
  • And don’t miss the photo showing 13 years of the kid standing in the same pose.

As fun as some of those pictures are, I might not count on them for a time-series.  By 4th grade, the embarrassment factor sets in, and asking them to pose in a too-big t-shirt or hold a fancy sign may earn you eye-rolling refusals.  If you’re planning a time-series, you might want to grab a simpler picture in addition to the more elaborate ones when they’re little.  Just to keep your options open.

As my fellow procrastinators know, the “first day” bonafides of your image need not be pristine.  I guarantee that a review of our “first day” pictures will turn up at least one year where the date on my photo wouldn’t agree with the school calendar’s first-day records.   First day…4th day… it all works.

Hope your family’s first day back to school is preceded by pleasant anticipation and succeeded by smiles!

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