6 Tips for Taking Memorable Back to School Photos for Busy Moms

Boy Holding Back to School Photo Tips Sign

It’s back to school time for my kids, and over the years I have cherished the tradition of taking pictures and capturing the memory of their first day of school each year.

It is a special time for them and I love to look back and see how much they have changed over the years.

I stopped purchasing school portrait packages of any of my kids for quite a few years now. They're expensive and I've never been very thrilled with them.

Taking your own portraits is totally doable and it's more about documenting their growth and capturing that time in their life than anything else.

One of my very favorite things to do is look through their school memories books and photos each year and see how much my kids have grown and changed!

I have them fill out their school memories books at the end of each school year and I use a picture from their back to school photo shoot.

I treasure reading their special memories, what their future goals are, and who they liked to hang out with.

Back to School Photo with Kids Holding Grade Signs



The beginning of a new school year can be hectic, so planning ahead can be very helpful. First thing first, make sure your camera is charged and the memory card is empty.

If you use a manual camera like I do and are a beginner, it really helps to take some time to get your settings right and take some practice shots before starting the photo shoot.

This also warms the kids up to the camera, and I get some of the best pictures of the kids when I am taking "practice" photos.


Take some time to capture the small details that make back to school exciting for the kids. New backpacks, special back to school outfit, school supplies, filling out their school memory page, etc.

These little details add up to help tell your child's school story.


It's usually pretty nice weather around here on the first day of school and the leaves are showing off their beautiful fall colors, so we always take our back to school photos outside in our yard.

When taking outdoor photos, it's best to take them in the early morning when the light is just right. Be sure to have the kids stand in open shade not in bright, direct sunlight.

If you are taking photos indoors, use natural light and avoid using your flash, if at all possible. Look for spots around your house for natural light.

To get as much natural light in the room as you can, open the blinds and doors and have the kids stand near a window if possible (not in front of it though).

Try and choose a neutral backdrop and have your child stand a few feet in front of it to create some depth and background blur.

First Day of School Signs and School Memory Pages


To make the back to school photos even more precious, print out a first day of school sign for them to hold! The kids really like the signs and have a lot of fun with them!

It's also a great way to remember which grade they were going in when looking back at the photos years from now.

I will often ask them to be silly with the signs and get them to shout and cheer! It's so fun to capture some silly photos.

I like to print the first day of school signs using regular printer paper or card stock then adhering them to a piece of thin cardboard (a cereal box works really well). Alternately, you can print and frame the sign (after removing the glass, of course) or clip it on a clipboard to make things easy.

I had fun designing these first day of school printable signs so you can capture the special first day of school moments with your kids, too! I also designed school memory pages for the kids to fill out.

So don't wait, capture the special first day of school moments with these back to school signs and printables!

First Day of School Signs and School Memory Pages
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Take LOTS of photos. Just start snapping away! I try to get some individual photos as well as some with all three of the kids.

Take multiple shots from different angles at different stages and get headshots as well as full body shots to show off those new back to school outfits!


Why not take some video of the session while you are at it? Even just snippets are fun to look back on! 

I accidentally recorded my entire photo shoot of my daughter one time and I am so glad I did, it is so great to watch!

These times with your kids won't last forever, and creating videos is another way you can preserve those memories.

If you are crunched for time on the first day of school, consider taking photos on another, less hectic day. Wait, what?!

Mornings can be super hectic here and adding a photo shoot to the mix just adds to the stress! Their first day of school is actually only an hour long and in the late morning, so that is the morning I take their photos! We have plenty of time to get ready and gather the first day of school signs.

And it's not too late if your kids have already started school!

Print out the first day of school signs and start taking some photos! It will be some of the most cherished memories you will have of them celebrating back to school! As your child changes through the years, these photos will be among the most precious to look back on!

I'm no expert, but I love photography and I hope I have inspired you to start taking photos of your kids with some of these back to school photo tips!

I'd love to see your adorable back to school photos on Instagram. Tag me @ellabella.designs and share using #ellabelladesignsbyann.

Happy photoshooting!

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