Want to capture the BEST first day at school photos?

Image Source - By Obakeng Tihapane
Image Source - By Brittany Wilis

This special occasion only occurs once every 12 months, or even more important once in a lifetime if it’s the very first day of prep. Our little ones are growing so fast and it is up to us to capture and preserve these unique moments for years to come.

Are you confident in getting that special photo of the first day of school - that you will cherish forever? Our Android and iPhone cameras have the ability to take amazing photos, you just need to know how. You can take that WOW photo that you can’t wait to post online and share with only a few simple tips and techniques.

You will be relieved to know -

  • Your photos do not have to be perfect.
  • It is all about the moment and capturing the emotions and cuteness!

Below, I have provided some tips on what to photograph and how to capture the emotion of the first day at school. This is the beauty of using a smartphone camera – no need to distract yourself with technical camera operations. You can instead, concentrate on setting up the photo and enjoying the moment. Later you can access the comprehensive range of photo editing apps that exist to further enhance your photos and recreate that special story or experience.

photo of first day back at school - ipjhone and android smartphone

Creative ideas and photo tips

A posed photo of your little one standing next to their large empty school bag has a real charm to it. Here are some more ideas to get your creativity started.

  1. If you are organised, take your photos the day before - let the kids get used to the uniform, bag and shoes before the big day
  1. Include fun props - red apple, books, big dorky glasses
  1. Lay on the ground or get down to your child’s level. Different perspectives can add depth and interest to your photos
  1. Hold a chalkboard with the first day of school and the year. Alternatively, get the kids to hold a book and you can use editing apps to write the date, school etc. at a later time. You can take a similar photo in six months or 12 months time and see the change and growth
  1. Capture your child with plenty of space beside them. Later, list your child’s interests, hobbies, favourite things etc. in the empty space using editing apps
  1. Capture a close up of name tags on new school supplies
  1. Have your child seated next to their big empty school bag. Objects closer to the Smartphone lens appear larger. This can make your child appear even smaller and cuter - if that is possible!
  1. Spread out their first school lunch on the bench together with the named lunchbox and capture a flat lay image (photo from directly above)
  1. Capture an image from behind as your child walks out the front door or gate
  1. Capture your child about to enter your vehicle or hop on their bicycle. This communicates the story of being about to leave for school
  1. A side by side - before school and an exhausted after school photo can be a great memory
  1. Holding a sign or use an app to add a speech bubble containing a message similar to ‘Don’t Cry Mummy’
  1. As a project, make a decorated frame for your child to hold
  1. Add the siblings and have them hold similar signs etc
  1. Stand against a wall, stack a few small (light) books or an apple on the child’s head and ask them to look up. Crop the image from the nose up for a different perspective
  1. Have someone else capture the goodbye kiss
  1. Setup the photo of your children looking a little miserable - use the timer function to then photo bomb jumping in the air in excitement. The timer function of the most recent iOS updates captures ten photos at once in timer mode
  1. Encourage siblings to help
  1. Bribes!
  1. Be patient
  1. Sometimes we only have a narrow window of an opportunity to capture the moment. If you miss the photo - have a break and come back again. There is always another day


  1. Get down to your child’s eye level or lower
  1. If kids are wearing a broad-brimmed hat – it can hide their eyes. The key to any great portrait is a connection with the eyes. Capture some photos with and without the hat
  1. Demonstrate to your child what you want them to do - and make it fun
  1. Show your child the photo - kids love this
  1. Blur the background by positioning yourself close and having a distant background or using photo editing apps
  1. Step in close instead of zooming to achieve a more intimate photo
  1. Don’t have the sun behind your child
  1. Select a shady spot out of direct sun
  1. Always tap the phone screen to focus, then take the photo
  1. Choose a distraction-free, simple background
  1. Choose a background that absorbs light instead of reflecting it. A bright garage door may lead to a really bright photo and your child becoming a silhouette!
  1. Take lots of photos
  1. Be prepared and capture your photos early to avoid the stress of running late to walk out the door


Some of our children at the start of school are still making those really weird fake smiles when we ask them to smile. Here are some tips to achieve a really genuine smile:

  1. Don’t say ‘cheese.’ You will just get a fake cheesy smile and the eye will not shine. Say something that will make them laugh e.g. Daddy is wearing pink polka dot bikinis
  1. Jokingly, tell them not to smile - no matter what. "I’m serious stop smiling!" This can create a sense of fun and achieve a more natural smile
  1. If they don’t want their photo taken - capture older siblings or get them to take a photo of you being silly
  1. Smile yourself and be goofy. Have fun
  1. Have them show you their best sad face
  1. Ask them to make animal sounds

These articles are great to learn a specific technique or tip. The fastest transition to becoming a confident and creative smartphone photographer is this course. Check out the full benefits and curriculum here.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.