Thank you to our friends at ZINK Zero Ink® for sponsoring this post! This post also contains Amazon Associates links.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, school starts the day after Labor Day – which meant that this little man started his first day of first grade this week! Starting first grade is a big deal for everybody in a family – it’s a milestone, and also a big change in routine. We thought it would be nice to help smooth the transition a little by doing something special to mark the occasion, so we used a modern-day take on classic camera technology to snap an instant “First day of school” photo!
ZINK Zero Ink®: Instant Photo Printing For Gen Z
Remember taking first day of school photos when we were kids? Mom would pull out that huge Polaroid camera, the flash would blind you, and you’d wait eagerly to see the photo develop – and hope your eyes weren’t crossed! Polaroid, Kodak and Canon still make instant-print cameras, but the technology has come a long way. Thanks to ZINK Zero Ink® printing technology, you can print on demand without ink cartridges or ribbons – all the color required for printing is actually embedded within the paper itself. This means that today’s instant print cameras are a fraction of the size and weight of yesteryear’s! And if you want the fun and convenience of instant printing without needing to carry a second camera around, you can also pick up standalone instant-photo printers that hook up to your smartphone and are small enough to slip in your pocket. Technology may change, but the excitement of getting an instant photo print transcends generations, and we found it to be the perfect activity to channel those first-day-of-school nerves!
How to Stage a Great Back-To-School Photo
The easiest way to get a great back-to-school photo is to use a cute, simple prop that your kids can help with. In our Back-To-School Tech Gift Guide, we featured a number of hacks for that busy first morning of school, including a Color Changing Cinema Light Box that you can use to write special messages on. We wrote “First Day of First Grade” and let the man of the hour put the letters on the box and pick which “Emojis” he wanted to use. A simple activity like this helps to quell nerves, and makes a super cute photo prop! Once we had set the stage for the picture, we snapped two photos: One on my smartphone, and one using an instant camera. This allowed us to immediately enjoy the photos in three different ways:
#1: Instagram in Real Life
These days, most of our photos live in the cloud and get distributed on social media. I often hear older members of the family, such as our 91-year-old Grandma, say that they miss seeing all the cute grandkid photos because they’re not on Instagram. Fortunately, you can now distribute the same photos to both the cloud and paper instantaneously with the Polaroid ZIP Instant Photoprinter! This pocket-sized printer pairs wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet via the Polaroid Print App, giving you the traditional Polaroid experience right from your phone! Using the app, you can edit your smartphone snaps with Instagram-worthy filters, stickers, and frames, send to the ZIP Instant Photoprinter to print out in less than 60 seconds, and share to social straight from the app.
This is the simplest and most fun way to bring Instagram to the real world and share those special first-day-of-school photos with any relative. Since you can print on demand, you can make an instant copy of any photo on your phone whenever Grandma wants one! These 2″x3″ photos also make fun items for kids to trade with their friends on the schoolyard.
The Polaroid ZIP Instant Photoprinter is pocket-sized at 2.91″ x 4.72″ and weighs just .41 lbs, so you can take it anywhere you go. It retails for $90.79 and pairs with the free Polaroid Print App available on iOS and Android. It uses Polaroid ZINK Zero Ink 2×3″ Paper to print smudge-proof photos with a sticky back; a 30-pack retails for $14.50, perfect for capturing back-to-school moment into the holiday season!
#2: Make Your Own Photo Sticker in 60 Seconds
When it comes to taking those “First-day-of-school” photos, the most important aspect is keeping it snappy and quick. Your child already has enough on their mind, and your morning will be rushed as it is – this is not the time for a lengthy photoshoot. Fortunately, the KODAK Smile Instant Print Digital Camera is here to capture and print those back-to-school memories instantly! This cute, super-portable camera has a nostalgic design, but the technology has sure come a long way from Kodachrome. Small and lightweight, this camera has an LCD viewfinder display built right in so that you can review your images before they print. (Kids these days will never know the pain of an important photo having your head cut off!) You can edit your photos right on the camera itself to add borders, filters, or put it in photo booth mode; and when your masterpiece is ready, you can print it straight from the camera in less than a minute. And because it uses KODAK ZINK Photo Paper, the images come out on adhesive-backed paper, meaning that you’ve just created your own photo sticker.
To help get this freshly-minted first grader excited for his first day, we let him know that he would get to take a special sticker with him to school – because if there’s one thing kids love, it’s stickers! He picked the perfect spot in the kitchen where he wanted to take a photo with the lightbox, I snapped a quick pic, and we had a fabulous sticker 60 seconds later.
He carefully placed his special sticker on one of his school folders to commemorate the big day! This is such a fun activity for kids, and a great keepsake.
The KODAK Smile Instant Print Digital Camera retails for $99.99 and comes in a kid-friendly, slide-open design in a variety of fun colors. The camera comes with a micro USB charging cable and a starter package of KODAK ZINK 2″x3″ Photo Paper, so you’ll have everything you need right out of the box!
#3: Create a DIY Photo Garland
Making crafts can be fun, but also time-consuming. For most busy moms, just getting their kids to school by itself is a big enough project on the first day – never mind trying to replicate some complicated scrapbook tutorial for those first-day photos. That’s why the Canon IVY Mobile Mini Photo Printer is amazing – it puts the fun back in crafting! This purse-sized printer connects to your phone via Bluetooth using the companion app on iOS/Android. You can have all kinds of fun editing the photos in the app – the first-grader drew a big smiley face on his photo! – and then print on demand with no ink needed thanks to ZINK Photo Paper.
After the school drop-off, I thought it would be fun to print a few of the photos I had taken that morning and make a simple photo garland. It was so easy: I just took a piece of colorful twine, tied it on the mantle, and then used clothespins to attach the photos. This is a craft that even busy people have bandwidth for, and it looks super cute!
This was a fun surprise for the little guy to come home to after school – he was so happy to see the garland hanging there, and it made him feel special.
The Canon IVY Mobile Mini Photo Printer comes in three stylish colors and retails for $99.99. The Canon IVY app allows you to edit, share and print photos from your phone over Bluetooth. Canon IVY uses Canon ZINK Photo Paper to instantly print 2″X3″ photos – no ink required!
ZINK made it so easy and fun to capture and share an awesome first-day-of-school photo, and do a “Pinterest project” in a way that was actually feasible for real life, during a real busy morning!
Parents: What are YOUR tips for taking successful back-to-school photos?