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5 Great Tips For The Perfect First Day Of School Sign Photo + Free Printable

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Your kids are growing up so fast.  What better way to document each year than with a first day of school sign photo?

I love looking back on each school year and seeing how much my kids have changed (or tearing up because they have grown so much!).  It’s so fun to compare how they look at the beginning of the school year vs. the end.  And your kids will love looking back on themselves as well.

It’s a cute and easy way to document their growth, and something you will never regret doing!

Here are some tips to help you get that perfect photo that you can treasure forever.

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1.      First Day of School Sign Printing Tips

Cardstock will be your best paper choice for printing.  If you have some available, I would highly recommend using it

Not only will it be less likely to curl, bend or flop over in the photo, but it will not be as transparent as a regular piece of paper giving it a higher quality look depending on your lighting situation.

Remember to choose a horizontal format when printing to avoid wasting paper and cutting off your image.

To add an extra dimension to your first day of school sign printable, you can mount it to a larger piece of colorful cardstock or scrapbook paper to frame your printable sign.

1.      Tricks For Great First Day of School Photo Lighting

To achieve great portrait lighting, think of what you would see inside of a portrait photographer’s studio.  A large softbox!

Now I am not asking you to go buy a softbox, no.  But you can find your own “softbox” using natural light!  It’s called indirect lighting, or open shade.

You can find this lighting just about anywhere, and it is actually quite beautiful! 


I would recommend that you take your photo during either the earlier or later daylight hours to achieve this.  The midday sun tends to be too harsh. You will need to remember to avoid direct sunlight.  For best results, your child will have their back to a wall or shaded area or stand inside of a doorway facing the big open sky where the sun is not directly visible.

Some great places to find this lighting are:

  • An open garage
  • The side of a building
  • Under and awning
  • A door entrance
  • In front of bushes or an interesting (or simple) wall

You will want to avoid harsh streaks of sunlight or dark shadows on your child’s face.

first day of school sign printable
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  The same tricks will apply for great indoor lighting. You will want to find a large window that has indirect light coming in (picture that giant softbox).  You may need to wait for the right time of day for this.

Don’t forget to pay attention to large, light-colored walls too.  They may bounce light for you as a reflector and soften harsh shadows.

If you’re struggling to find enough light, remember to open blinds all the way up, pull back curtains so they’re not blocking the window at all, or open a door.

Turn the lights off in your house.  Incandescent lighting just has a way of tinging your photos and giving them a very unflattering look.  Let that beautiful natural light work for you and give you that pro look you want!

Remember, the darker part of the room should be behind your child, while the open light should light up their face with soft shadows and great catch-lights in their eyes.

Don’t forget to pay attention to what is going on in your photo background.  Remove clutter or try to find a simple wall or plain piece of furniture.

1.      Planning Ahead

Ok, who here has ever actually forgotten to take the first day of school sign photo…on the actual first day of school?  Uuuuhhh, me.

Yep, it happens, that’s why planning ahead can totally save you.

Who says that you have to take that photo on the morning of when you’re actually very likely to forget to do it?

I say, if you want your photos to work out, then do it ahead of time.  Or at least plan your location, lighting, and outfit choice beforehand.  Make sure your first day of school sign is all printed and filled out as well. 

If you want to take the picture on the first day before they leave for school, check out the lighting during the days leading up to the first day to see what your location will be like at that time.

You can also take the photo before the actual first day.  This will be less stressful for both of you, and then you are sure to get the perfect pic.

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2.      Make The First Day of School Sign A Tradition

This should be fun for both of you.  And it’s a memory you will both love forever. I know my kids always enjoy looking back to see how much they have grown.

If you plan ahead as I mentioned, and keep it simple (so it’s not stressful), then this can be something you both have so much fun doing together every year.

You can pick the same location every year or choose different spots each time to make it enjoyable and different.

3.      Make It Fun And Exciting For Your Child

The best way to make this little tradition fun is to let your kids be involved as much as possible. 

Let them help pick their outfit, or let them fill out the first day of school sign.  Or let them choose from one of your locations with great lighting.

Include the family pet or let them do a “silly face” photo to make it extra fun.

Get your Free First Day of School Sign Printables Here for Pink & Aqua and Here for Green and Blue

Now Go And Enjoy!

I hope you love your free back to school sign printable because you won’t regret making and documenting memories with your kiddos!

1 thought on “5 Great Tips For The Perfect First Day Of School Sign Photo + Free Printable”

  1. Pingback: 11 Back to School Organization Tips That Will Save You - Jennakate blog

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