The 5 Best Photo Ops on the First Day of School


As you begin to prepare for the first day of school–and all of the yearbook content that comes along with it–you want to make sure you capture all of the most important moments on film. To do so, you’ll want to identify and develop a list of these opportunities up front, to ensure that none are forgotten. This list will also help you plan for moments that are taking place at the same time, at opposite ends of your school, making sure you’ve got coverage for everything. Below, I’ve chronicled my own top five moments that I feel any advisor should strive to include in their content. Take these, and use them to jumpstart your own list of moments for your committee to capture.

Kick Off the Day

One of the first memories you want to nab for the pages of your book is when students come into school for the first time this year. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they’re ready for what the year has to bring–eager to see all of their friends again after a long summer break, and a little nervous to meet their new teachers and classmates. This translates to excitement for the first day of school–and that means super photogenic kids who are going to shine on the pages of your book. This is a moment you definitely don’t want to miss.

Pep It Up

Many schools have special events on the first day of school that are perfect for fresh yearbook content! This includes anything from an all-school pep rally to a parent breakfast after the first bell rings. Prep for these moments by getting a list of all the special first day of school events on your campus from your administration, and coordinate to have a photographer and/or writer from your committee present to capture all the fun for your publication.

Locker Stalker

The time of year when your students’ lockers are the cleanest–and look closest to those locker idea photos we all love to check out in the magazines–is on the first day of school. If you plan to incorporate a locker feature within your book, now is the time to cover it! Try to get some photos at the beginning of the day or at the very end, when students have a few more minutes than they do between classes. And make sure you have your question prompts laid out well in advance. Getting your pictures and interviews early also leaves your options open for turning this into a ‘before and after’ feature, revisiting these lockers to see just how messy they might become!

Walk the Catwalk

The first day of school also happens to be when the majority of your students look their best. They’re wearing their fresh back-to-school clothes, their hair is done, their shoes aren’t scuffed. Take advantage of this photo op with a fun first day of school fashion feature! You could even turn it into a cute pop culture piece, showing what kinds of clothes–styles of jeans, colors of tights, types of shoes, etc.–were popular at the start of the school year. It’s something fun for them to look back on (and maybe cringe at) for years to come.

Capture the “New”

Summer is generally the time when the school district can make some changes to the facilities. Maybe it’s a new basketball court, or a new jungle gym. Perhaps classrooms have been rearranged. Whatever it is, the first day of school is your best chance to capture students’ genuine reactions to the new element gracing their campus. So station a committee member there, and take photos and get quotes. While you may have so many ideas later in the year for special features that this one might not appear in your book, you’ll never have another chance to document it–so remember that old adage of “better to have it and not need it…”

Plan the First Day of School Right

The first day of school is a big one for your yearbook content. It’s important to kick off the year right, and capture all of the best moments for some cool features in your publication! So start planning out the moments you want to capture, and what you’ll need to make that happen. With a little foresight, you’re sure to get all the best snapshots for the pages of your book.