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Capturing The First Day of School


posted: 08/22/12

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
A way to capture the first day of school in a photo

My baby is going to start school next week! I can’t believe it. And after Quinn rebelled against me and turned one, August is shaping up to be a rough month!

In order to freeze my child in time preserve memories, I decided to start a first and last day of school tradition.

There are all sorts of wonderful versions of this idea floating around Pinterest. I really like this one.


But I also love the idea of incorporating some facts that give you a glimmer into their personality at the moment.

So, my plan is to interview Gavin the night before the first day and last day of school with the same questions and then edit the answers into a photo taken the following day. By the time he is abandoning me moving away to college, I will have a cute photo album that has captured his picture and his personality.

{Disclaimer for those who know me personally, no, you didn’t miss it. Gavin hasn’t had his first day of school yet. But he was kind enough to do a trial run of the photo op for the sake of the blog . . . even if he doesn’t know what the blog is.}

I actually get a lot of enjoyment out of the idea of asking 17 year old Gavin what his favorite color is and who his best friend is. I also love the idea of when he is about 30, looking at these pictures and remembering how he nearly murdered me by singing “We Are Young” over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

I made this picture using Gimp, though if that feels intimidating or you don’t feel like downloading software, you could easily make this on PicMonkey for free. (I actually am imaginging one friend in particular – you know who you are – rolling her eyes at me at the idea of downloading Gimp. Just use PicMonkey. It’s SO easy.)

The thing I like about Gimp is that you have access to all your own fonts. The annoying thing about it, is that every time you want to move something (like the words “favorite toy”) you have to select that layer. And this photo ended up having a lot of layers. On the other hand, when I go to take his last day of school picture, I can easily edit this by adding the new picture and new answers, but keeping the format.

If you do end up using Gimp, start by opening your photo in Gimp, and then add two layers: one for the title and one for the facts. Then add all the facts, each as their own layer. Then add all the answers. Then you can edit the question layers and add periods to line things up to the answers. (That’s the jist, anyway.)  Remember when you are finished to both export it and save it. When the last day of school rolls around, open the saved copy and edit by adding the new photo as a layer that covers the old photo.

As I mentioned above, the other good option is PicMonkey. You can’t use your own fonts, but they just added a bunch new very cute ones. When you open up your photo with them, start by adding the blue and white (or whatever colors you pick) layers as geometric shapes. You can then alter the color of them and fade them so that you can see the picture through and they aren’t just a giant block of color.

The upside to PicMonkey? No new software and very simple to use. Unlike Gimp, it’s really simple to move things around. The downside? Once it’s saved, it’s saved. So, at the end of the year you start over. But given how easy it is to begin with, I’m not sure that’s even much of a downside.

There you have it! I’m pretty sure none of that made sense, so email me if you have questions.

Happy First Day of School!!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Jessi Wohlwend says

    That’s such a great idea to have a little “interview” with him the night before. My dad always took a first day of school picture each year and we all love looking back at how cute we used to be, but it would be fun to remember some stuff about who our best friends were or whatever. :-) Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  2. Amy - while wearing heels says

    What a sweet first day of school memory saver. I love that he wants to be a train driver when he grows up!

  3. Carole says

    What a lovely idea. They will treasure the memory when they are older. Hope you are having a good week.

    PS I know you have probably been busy. Just a wee reminder that it would be great if you followed Carole’s Chatter back. Cheers

  4. Michelles Tasty Creations says

    What a great idea! I always took pictures but I love the idea of the interview to remember what they liked and who their friends were. Thanks so much for sharing at Creative Thursday last week. I can’t wait to see what you link up this week. Have a great day :)

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners