Starting in Kindergarten: back-to-school photo series ideas

If you have a little person starting pre-school or kindergarten, you’re in the enviable position to pick a photo theme that can serve you all the way through high school graduation!

The result is a photo series that will capture the changes and growth that happen every year in a way that’s fun to look each time you add a new image—and will be a family treasure for decades to come.

My top two photo tips

(I was going to give you three because it sounds better, but really, these are the two that matter most.)

  1. Take the photo the day before school starts. The first day of school tends to be chaotic as everyone is figuring out the routine and maybe even having nerves. Give your kids (and yourself!) the gift of a stress-free photo session.
  2. Get on their level. Squat down and keep the camera at their eye level, unless you’re intentionally trying to make them look tiny or huge. 😉

Now, on to the ideas!

Use the same prop

A graduation year T-shirt

This is the idea that started this website—I saw the concept on Pinterest and got together with some friends to make our t-shirts… and then it took an embarrassingly long time to figure out (with confidence!) what year to put on the t-shirts. Hence the calculator! 😉

Back-to-school photos with our graduation year t-shirt

The idea is as simple as it gets: just start with a t-shirt that’s large enough to fit your eventual high-school senior. Hopefully. 😉 We used a men’s large. You can make the shirt, like we did, or just buy one.

A basic chalkboard

I love this idea because it takes almost zero prep.

Simple chalkboard back-to-school photo

Use the same theme

Holding a picture of the previous picture

Want to get all meta? Check out this idea:


Favorite books

Keep the theme but include different (or not!) books each year, based on the current list of faves.

Back-to-school books

Answering a question

I love how this one not only provides a theme but also features their own handwriting.



There are a bajillion different ways you could use this idea, but a list of favorites is a quick and easy starting point.

Chalkboard interview

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  1. this is such a cool idea and i’m so jealous that i didn’t do the same thing! i did hoewver (with both my kids) take a picture of them on the couch next to the same bear every month on the same date for the first year.btw- that first picture of olivia is my absolute fave! sooooo adorable! LOVE it!

  2. Do you realize your graduation calendar calculator is incorrect? You do not use the Start of the school year plus 13. You use the END of the school year plus 13 to get the graduation year. Children starting kindergarten in Fall 2018 will graduate 13 years from Spring 2019…or 2032.

    1. The math is weirdly mind-bending, to be sure. You’re spot on, except that when they’ve finished Kindergarten (in the spring of 2019) they only have 12 more years to go… hence 2031.

      Trust me, you’re not the only one second-guessing the math. This craziness is exactly why I started this site: it took way longer than I care to admit to figure it out when my kiddo was going into Kindergarten. ?

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