This is the time of year for school photos. You’ll likely dress your kids up to the nines, spend an obscenely long time doing their hair, and find out in four months when they send the pictures home that they refused to smile.
While practicing smiles at home isn’t necessarily a great idea, there are a lot of ways to make school photos the best they can be. Enjoyably, a lot of it centers on not stressing so your child feels comfortable and looks natural. Here are eight tips for a great school photo day:
1. Get a haircut 7-10 days ahead of time. Getting the cut in this time frame means your kid’s hair will look well-kempt without the artificial look a trim from 18 hours ago gives you.
2. Ponytails are great. Just be sure to send in barrettes or bobby pins to manage any last-minute flyaways.
3. Wear solids. Or shirts with small patterns. Printed tees and bold prints don’t translate as well in front of a camera for this type of portrait session.
4. Pack a lunch. This gives you power over what your kid will be eating in case their pictures are after lunch. You can pick foods that won’t easily stain or spill, and select options that won’t get stuck in teeth or braces.
5. Don’t assume shoes won’t be shown. This is especially true in schools where there is a Fall Picture Day and a Spring Picture Day. Usually, the one in the Fall will be your traditional school headshot, while the one in the Spring will be comparatively artsy with your child posing on some type of set. The latter shots will show shoes and all. Be prepared for this by always sending your child in dressed as if their whole body will be in the photograph.
6. Place your order online before picture day. Nothing is worse than the stressed feeling of misplacing your photo order envelope, but it happens all the time at picture days across the country. Placing your order online gives you the peace of mind that your money and requests will undoubtedly make it to the photographer, and allows you to save money with promo codes. When you’re calm about the payment situation, it takes a lot of stress off your child so they can look natural and relaxed in their photo.
7. Early to bed, early to rise. This should be your mantra on picture day. Going to bed early means they will be and look well-rested, and waking up early gives everyone time to get ready so no one’s rushing out the door with a cowlick and a wrinkled, printed tee.
8. Ease nerves around imperfections. If you have a self-conscious teen, technology can bring them some peace. Where we felt like we had to cake on makeup back during our school picture day years, often bringing more attention to zits than distracting from them, many school photographers today can actually go in and digitally remove imperfections. Check with your school’s photographer to learn their procedures, and save some unnecessary stress and concealer on the big day.