Creative School Picture Day Ideas to Try at Home in 2020

Make great memories right from the start with these creative school picture day ideas to try at home! Whether your kids will be remote learning, attending in-person classes, or doing a hybrid of the two, it’s important to snag memorable back to school pictures of all ages and stages. From exciting first day of school photo props and backdrops to DIY picture frames and chalkboards, scroll down to discover unique picture day ideas, tips, and tricks that you and your kids can easily do at home. Celebrate traditional routines and new milestones with high-quality photo prints so that you and your kids can look back at all the tangible mementos of childhood, joy, and special moments.

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Fun First Day Of School Photo Ideas

Even if your kids are just gearing up for a year of online classes this year, it’s important to document every special moment, especially the first day of school picture! Instead of the traditional school picture day photo, the perk of doing a picture day at home is that you and your kids can get as creative and silly as you want! Below you’ll find plenty of fun first day of school photo ideas for you and your family to choose from.

custom tabletop framesBack to school photos are wonderful keepsakes that capture the special moments representing a particular year. Include them inside your memory photo books or tabletop frames so that you can revisit all the different milestones and witness your kids grow and mature year after year.

Say It With Chalk

little kid boy flying by a space shuttle chalks pictureNothing fits the back to school theme quite like a blackboard. Start a tradition of using handwritten signs in milestone photos for things like the first day of school. You can either write on a chalkboard or have your kids draw on the ground and then have them lay next to it for a unique a back to school backdrop. It will be neat to look back on this series of photos and watch the handwriting improve over the years (hopefully).

Start a Tradition

Taking the same back-to-school picture every year is a great way to document your child’s growth. A printed sign that includes the grade, the year, the school, and the teacher’s name works well as a prop. The cute photo will definitely be one for a school photo book!

An Epic Start

Young Boy and Girl Imagine Flying On SkateboardEven the bravest among us can get a little jittery on the first day. Attitude is everything, so put your little one at ease before the big day with a composition that matches the magnitude. For other larger-than-life inspiration, think of what you can do with a sunrise, a custom costume, a hiking trail, or an athletic field.

Photo In A Photo

Snap a few shots of your child holding a printed photo of themselves from the previous year. Continue this tradition until they graduate high school, and you’ll have quite an impressive picture. Or take first-day photos as normal and have them hold that photo up on their last day of school. The possibilities are endless!

Capture Candid Moments

portrait of a cute little girl
Posed pictures are great, but candid shots are priceless! Step back, and capture your little ones’ most genuine emotions about the first day of school. When you’re looking for natural moments or details you will have endless possibilities!

Throw A Nod To Graduation

Customize a large hoodie with your child’s graduating class year and watch as they grow into it. Class of 2032 may not roll off the tongue today, but before you know it you’ll be tearing up at their high school graduation.

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Don’t Forget Your Furry Friends

personalized pet accessories
If your kids are excited about having their pets as classmates this year, dress your furry friends up in colored pet accessories like pet bandanas, personalized collars, pet tags, and toys to add that special touch to your back to school pictures.

Share Your Back To School Traditions

Do you have any fun back to school traditions? Maybe you have a special breakfast with a personalized plate or go out for milkshakes after school? These special traditions are certainly worth documenting!

Keep It Funny

Young Business Boy wearing Mind Reading Helmet Makes MoneyDon’t take the first day back to school too seriously. Capture your kiddos being their silly selves! Let the kids unleash their craziest, weirdest faces. You can also make your funny photo prop signs with sayings like, “Stop crying dad!” As much as we’re excited to see our little ones reach these milestones, it is often bittersweet as we realize they are growing up way too fast. Nothing like a bit of humor to lighten the moment!

Create A Classic Headshot

Taking a close-up, classic headshot every year as they start a new school year is a fun way to see how much they change from year to year. It will be incredible to compare these portraits over the years. If you are missing school picture day this year, a DIY school portrait using a blank neutral backdrop like the dining room wall should do the trick.

Get In The Shot

Parenthood. Family. Love. Dad and his little daughter are holding red cups, looking at each other and smiling. In the kitchen at homeThere’s no reason why a parent shouldn’t be in back to school photos! Getting cozy and comfortable together on the couch or acting playful together are good ways to catch an authentic moment before kids start school. While you watch in awe as the kids mature, you also change from parents of preschoolers to – somehow – soon-to-be-grads, it’s important to document your own evolution along the way. Later, the kids will thank you.

Unique Back To School Photo Props

Because no back to school photo is complete without a first day prop, we found some personalized first day of school photo props that are sure to document a unique beginning of the 2020 school year. From the first day of school chalkboard signs to fresh school supplies that commemorate all that learning, we’ve rounded up a few back to school photo props for an unconventional school picture day.

Crafty Chalk Fact Sheet


Grab a basic black chalkboard and your white chalk marker for commemorating the moment with a “First Day of School!” sign. Offer a snapshot into your little one’s personality with a crafty fact sheet by writing down all their tid-bits and facts on the chalkboard such as favorite color, favorite food, what they want to be when they grow up. All these little gems recorded graphically is great as we so often forget them as time passes and the kids grow up.

Custom Yard Sign

A custom yard sign is a simple and fun way to enhance your photos and capture the moment of their first day. Use the yard signs as a way to interview the kids about what they want to be when they grow up. You could personalize the sign to say something like, “My first day of kindergarten. When I grow up I want to be an archaeologist and ballerina!”

Personalized Selfie Frame

custom selfie framePut the back to school crew in the right frame of mind with this easy, personalized selfie frame. Announce that first day and get a big smile! With a photo booth frame like this, you can customize it so your kids will actually have fun posing for the picture. You can also DIY a word frame with just an old picture frame, paint, and stick-on poster letters!

Spell It Out In Color

Spelling out a short message – like your child’s grade or age – and hanging the letters on a string doubles as a pre-first day lesson the alphabet and an Instagrammable banner for photos.

Dress Up A Letter Board

Cute smiling schoolgirl holding and covering with a letter board and smiling. Back to school concept. Family lifestyle indoorsFelt letter boards are convenient because you don’t have to worry about whether or not your handwriting will be readable in the photo – and if you want to use one, you don’t have to default to block white litters on rectangular black background. You can get boards in different shapes, fonts, or opt for different accessories such as flowers, succulents, or seasonal icons, like apples for back to school.

Hit The Books

This is a simple idea that could 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.

You could even amaze them with their own personalized storybook! From epic adventures and bedtime stories to fairy tales and everything in between, personalized storybooks bring your young reader right into a story of their own. Choose from a range of stories all created by our award-winning teams of talented authors and illustrators.

Favorite Sport Or Club

Young girl working on a robot design
If your little scholar is nervous for the first day of school or you just want to spice up your back to school pics, let them show off their favorite sport or club! Show it off with a photo fleece blanket so they can share their favorite hobbies on their first day of school photo!

First & Last Day Of School Flag

Kids grow up so much between their first and last days of school. Why not take a photo on each day while holding these custom garden flags that can be monogrammed to say “first day of school” and “last day of school.” Once the photos are printed, you can put them side to side to compare!

Craft A Word Bubble

little girl holding "I have a dream" written speech bubble
Create a chalkboard speech bubble post by sketching the bubble on a piece of foam board. Cut it out with a Xacto knife and spray paint it with chalkboard paint for an easy DIY back to school photo prop you can use year after year.

Capture New School Details

personalized pencil pouchFor kids, September is synonymous with a fresh start. New shoes, new backpack, new lunchbox, new custom school supplies. Snap some detail shots of everything that goes into going back to school —they’re part of your tot’s back-to-school story, too. Just think of how these things will change over the years as your children grow and their tastes and favorite characters change.

custom back to school gearIf this is the year for a new fun backpack, lunch box, or custom water bottle, give them a chance to showcase that swag in their school picture day photo.

Interesting Backgrounds For Portraits

girl with an astronaut costume at homeUse anything you have at your disposal to frame and draw attention to your little scholar! Short on time? Go green! Find a bush or shrub that makes a background frame around your child for a perfectly framed shot. Bonus points if you can find a spot that has flowers to add a pop of color. You can use the stairs to add interest showing the front door and steps, which are also helpful for propping up any signs you might create!

custom bean bagBack to school photos are typically taken at the front door but you can change up the location by taking photos of your child in their favorite places around the house. This will help bring out more of their natural smiles and personalities. You could also make back to school season a party by unfurling a few years of bright fabric and having kids pose in front of it (silly faces and outfits encouraged).

School Picture Day Outfits And Hairstyles

Let your little one express their style in their back to school picture and if that means a mismatched outfit or a pair of sassy shades, all the better! If you’re doing school picture day at home this year, your kids have the freedom to choose whatever picture day outfit they want.

back to school portraitsFrom the cute pajamas they’ll be wearing to their virtual classes to their favorite superhero costume, school picture day has never been this much fun. Although dressing up for school won’t be an everyday occurrence, getting in touch with their stylish side for day one makes for the cutest photos. Dresses and button-downs with fresh new hairstyles – Sunday’s best is Monday’s photo op!

Transform School Pictures Into Photo Gifts

Let your kids’ personalities shine through in the details with our most popular custom-made products. Whether it’s their school picture day photo on a personalized coffee mug or favorite memories on custom photo puzzles, creating unique details and personal touches to everyday objects adds sentiment to any gift, home decor, office supplies, and more.

Put It On A Photo Tile

custom photo tiles that stick on the wallTurn your kids’ school picture day photos into unique wall art by uploading them onto stickable photo tiles. Custom photo tiles let you stick, rearrange, and re-stick your prints without any hassle so that you can get creative with endless combinations. This is a great way to celebrate your child’s milestones every year and even gift them to friends or family to decorate their homes with! Grandparents will especially enjoy having a photo wall filled with fun pictures of their grandkids.

Turn It Into A Family Card

custom cards and stationeryShare your child’s back to school photos with family and friends by turning them into custom thank you cards for teachers or personalized cards for loved ones. You can make a greeting feel unique by turning your child’s creative photos into a full-fledged card design. All you have to do is upload the school picture day photo into a blank customizable card online!

Make A Mug

custom photo mugs with photosSpice up an ordinary coffee or tea routine by customizing a mug that features your kid’s first day of school photo. You can opt for a collage and include multiple images of your kid’s photos through the years, or you can add in a family photo. This is the perfect gift for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings.

Turn It Into A Puzzle

custom photo puzzle with monogram and collage of photos
A custom puzzle that pieces together your kid’s back to school pictures can be a fun gift to give. When you use your kid’s cute school picture day photos, this gift comes to life with creativity and doubles as an activity.

Turn It Into A Photo Book

small photo books laying out on tableEvery year as your child takes new back to school photos, you can turn their favorite ones into a personalized photo book to capture each and every year. This is a great gift that can live with a loved one’s collection of albums or become a popular item on a coffee table. You may even want to consider making a photo book for your own home to preserve your kid’s memories and avoid a stockpile of loose photos and prints.

Turn It Into A Notebook

custom notebooks for kids with photosTransform everyday stationery into an inspiring, unique gift by customizing a notebook that showcases your kid’s back to school photos. This is a fun and easy way to utilize your child’s pictures while giving your friend or family member a useful gift. Custom stationery with photos can also double as a gift for a sibling’s high school graduation, Teacher Appreciation Day, or a simple thank-you gift.

Make A Custom Pillow

personalized pillow with picture
If you’re looking to give the gift of comfort, consider creating a custom pillow using one of your kid’s school picture day photos. A custom pillow completed with an adorable photo of your little one can be gifted on a variety of occasions, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, and Christmas.

The New Picture Day Experience With Lifetouch

Not sure if your school is doing a Picture Day this year? Find current information on your schools’ Picture Day as well as Retake Days at Find My Picture Day with Lifetouch. Lifetouch, the photography company behind millions of beautifully captured school pictures, has joined us to create a new, innovative experience that will allow you to do more with your Picture Day photos than ever before.

Lifetouch continues to offer the time-honored tradition of School Photo Day by taking extra precautions this year because the safety of you, your families, and our employees are the #1 priority. Read more about the New Picture Day Experience to learn how Lifetouch is taking the proper safety measures so that we can continue capturing memories, staying connected to loved ones, and building a community.

Wrapping Up

From after school soccer games, to report cards on the fridge and smiles on their first day of school – there’s plenty of memories, big and small, that help makes up each school year as your child grows up. Capture special moments that represent that year, whether it’s braces, a different haircut, a favorite shirt, or anything else because a school picture day photo is a tangible memento of childhood, joy, and special moments.

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