National School Picture Day falls on the second Thursday of September and this year, that’s on September 12. Everyone has memories of school picture day — picking out the perfect outfit, working hard to achieve a hairstyle, and practicing your best smile. These are the moments that this national holiday seeks to celebrate. Picture Day documents milestones and captures memories that parents and kids will hold for many years. These photos become a collection that shows a child’s growth from a wide-eyed preschooler to a proud senior. Grandparents and parents remember this tradition from childhood, and when it’s time for their little ones to go in front of the camera, it brings a deep sense of pride and joy.
History of National School Picture Day
National School Picture Day has been recognized as an official holiday starting in 2019. National school photography provider Lifetouch declared the first-ever National School Picture Day happening on the second Thursday of September in 2019. Danielle Jonas, the official ambassador for National School Picture Day, partnered with Lifetouch to launch the new campaign. The campaign that celebrates the iconic tradition of school photography at the start of the school year launched with a sweepstakes announcement for Lifetouch customers.
National School Picture Day occurs in the second week of September because it is at the beginning of the school year. Also, this is the time that most schools schedule their Picture Day events. That translates to millions of kids grinning ear to ear in front of the camera to mark the milestone of starting another school year.
On Picture Day, students in the United States and Canada have their photographs taken by a professional photographer. Parents can buy packages of these portraits to distribute, accompanied by other items featuring the portrait. There is also generally a second day called retake day to take pictures if some students are absent. These portraits are compiled into the school yearbook, which is usually distributed at the end of the school year. The photos may also be used on student I.D. cards.
With the rise of digital photography, the size of yearbooks has been shrinking over the years. Page counts decreased about 10% between 2009 and 2014. Many people prefer to store their photos on their devices or in the cloud. However, students are still interested in hard copies of their photos. There’s something deeply sentimental about having a physical copy of your portrait.
National School Picture Day timeline
Proto-yearbooks in the form of scrapbooks first appear in the U.S. East Coast schools.
The first formal yearbook launches for part of the class that graduated at Yale College.
Lifetouch begins taking school pictures for children annually in the U.S. and Canada.
The inaugural National School Picture Day launches.
National School Picture Day FAQs
Is there a dress code for Picture Day?
Dress codes for Picture Day vary depending on the school.
Who is responsible for compiling yearbooks?
Yearbooks are usually compiled by a yearbook class or a student club.
Which other countries do yearbooks apart from the U.S.?
Australia, Canada, Nigeria, and South Africa are some of the other countries that have yearbooks.
National School Picture Day Activities
Go back in time
National School Picture Day is the perfect time to enjoy the awkward moments in your old school photos. Make it extra fun by involving the whole family for some good laughs.
Help the kids prepare
Offer tips to your grade-schoolers on how to look their best for Picture Day. It will boost their confidence and help them give their best smiles.
Take some pictures
Apart from the official Picture Day photos, you can take the celebration further. Have a fun, casual photoshoot from home for the whole family.
5 Interesting Facts About Yearbooks
The Navy has a yearbook
Warships of the U.S. Navy produce a yearbook-style publication upon months of deployment.
A popular yearbook
The Glomerata is one of the most circulated yearbooks in the U.S.
Yearbooks as journalism
High school yearbooks are considered a form of journalism by scholastic journalism bodies.
Making money from yearbooks
Many yearbooks gain revenue by including a section of ads from local businesses.
A yearbook for the Navy Trainees
The Navy’s Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois produces “The Keel” for graduates.
Why We Love National School Picture Day
It’s great for families
Picture Day is always a significant occasion for families. Now that National School Picture Day is an official holiday, this makes it an even more memorable time.
It preserves memories
Photos are one of the best ways to preserve memories. National School Picture Day records a child’s progression all through school, enabling them and their families to look back in time.
It’s a day of fun
Kids get to dress up and get unique hairdos for that special picture. It’s one of the most anticipated days of the school year.
National School Picture Day dates