Despite what you’ll find on Pinterest, there aren’t a lot of moms out there who’ve managed to thoughtfully chronicle their children’s lives.

Take me, for example: I have nothing close to a baby book. I have a trash bag filled with art projects and school assignments that I plan to organize, someday. The only reason I remember my kids’ first words is because I forced myself to (they were “cat” and “ball” by the way — I need to show off this knowledge whenever I get the chance).

But one ritual I’ve been able to stick to, despite my laziness, is the first day of school picture. Every year on that first day, I make my kids stand in front of our front door and take their picture. There are no fancy signs and I don’t make them get dressed up.

But if you are moderately more together than me, there are a lot of great ideas out there for how to make your child’s first day of school photo special.

Here are 10 ideas to get you started.

Chalk Drawing

Chalk backgrounds are really popular these days. I love how Rebecca from Blue Cricket Design arranged this. If you have good handwriting and drawing skills, it’s a fun idea.

All About Me

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Blogger Melanie from Sunshine Praises has a great idea for remembering what your child loved at each age. She lists their hobbies and interests in their photo. This is a wonderful way of capturing things about your child that you may not remember 10 years from now.

Picture in Picture

This suggestion comes from the blog East Coast Mommy. The idea is to take a photo of your child holding an old photo of him or herself. Frankly, this makes me dizzy, but whatever floats your boat.

Year-by-Year

I love photos that are done in the same place every year, like this example from The Haps blog. There is no better way to see how much your child has changed over the past 12 months. This also allows you to cry and play “Sunrise, Sunset” on repeat.

Meeting the Teacher

This is a sweet idea that gets your child’s teacher in the mix. It’s nice to get a photo of them smiling together on the first day, before homework gets assigned and math starts. That’s when the smiles usually disappear.

Just the Outfit

What I wouldn’t give for photos of what I wore to my first days of school back in the ‘80s. Blogger Kelley from 3 Cowboys and a Mommy was smart enough to capture the first day of school outfit. These will be fun to laugh over when your kids are older and you need to convince them that it was, in fact, their idea to wear a tutu and rain boots to school.

In the Classroom

Blogger Kalyn from Picasso and Tony went into the classroom to get more of an action shot. Remember, you’ll only be able to take these pictures until they’re in second grade. After that, you embarrass them by breathing in front of their friends. But until then, you can get some great shots of your child in their new habitat.

On the School Bus

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It doesn’t get more first day of school then photographing your child in front of the school bus, like blogger Chelsea did on Yours Truly. But parents, do remember the bus has places to go. There isn’t time for multiple angles or different expressions. Cross your fingers, get a quick pic, and move on. And mind the traffic.

Propped Up

If you’re feeling creative, bring out the props like they did on the blog 100 Layer Cake. It would be especially fun to do a school-themed photo shoot. I can’t see children willing to be part of this for too long, but maybe two of your props can be an iPad and bribery. That might keep it going into high school.

When I Grow Up

I love this idea from Simply Kelly Designs. Not only do you get to capture what they look like, but you get to see a little bit of who they are and what they wanted to be at that time.