First day of school photos are usually tucked away carefully, but this simple three-step photo tradition brings them back at the end of the year. See the difference nine months of school can make with this before and after photo tradition.

The first day of school photo

She chose her own dress — pink and brown plaid — and an almost-matching headband and somehow we got ready for her first day of preschool with time to take photos at home and at school. I clicked and clicked, trying to capture a moment while she was alternately too excited to stand still and too nervous to let go of her daddy's hand.

My favorite photo of her first day of school was taken on the rock path at the side of the building. Somehow we managed to capture a shot that wasn't interrupted by a passing elementary student, seasoned enough to scoff at first day of school photos or by her little brother, uncertain as to what all the fuss was about. Her little hand wandered to her hip, and her glance is off camera.

Nine months of changes

Days and months passed, and by the end of the year, she walked confidently into the building. Logic told me she'd changed and grown taller, older than she had been on that first nerve-wracking day. But those sorts of changes can be hard to see when we spend so much time with our children.

This easy photo project is the perfect way to visibly see the changes kids make during a year of school. I cherish the changes I see in my daughter from her first to last days on her very first year. Longer hair and legs are only part of the difference our photos show. She's more confident and sure of herself, smiling directly into the camera wearing a yellow tutu to mark her new favorite color.

With her fashion choices getting more zany by the day, I can't wait to see what this year's photo will look like!

School photo traditions

What you'll need:

  • A photo from the first day of school, enlarged to 8 x 10 inches
  • A camera
  • Your child

What you'll do:

  1. Take a photo on the first day of school.
  2. Enlarge and print the photo by the last day of school.
  3. Convince your excited child to pose with the enlarged photo.

Project Variations^

  • Frame the photos in a side-by-side frame.
  • Use PicMonkey or another photo editing program to add key details about your child's first year of school.


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