9 Tips for getting your child camera ready for school picture day

Although school picture day can be rather exciting for some, for others it can cause nothing but a stomach full of knots and anxiety.  And that goes for parents too, who are hoping to get natural-looking, stunning photos of their kids to hand out to family members while they brag about their kids being the top of their class, or the MVP of the soccer team, or head clarinet in band class.  To relieve some of the stress, while ensuring school photo satisfaction, here are a few pointers on getting your children ready for their in-school photo op.

  1. Avoid salty foods before bedtime!  Consuming too much sodium at nighttime will make for a puffy, bloated face in the morning.  If salty foods can’t be avoided, however, couple them with lots of water!
  2. Get lots of sleep!  Otherwise children will look sleepy in the morning, with dull eyes, bags, and possible eye redness. 
  3. Don’t practice!  Practicing camera-ready smiles in the mirror with your child before picture day will only ensure that your child has a perfect fake smile.  Because fake smiles look… well, fake… it is best to encourage your kids to think of a funny, or very happy memory when getting their picture taken, so that the happiness shows in their eyes as well as their mouth, looking completely natural.
  4. Avoid last minute haircuts!  If haircuts are completely necessary, make sure they are done at least 10 days prior to picture day, and avoid doing anything drastically different with the style or color.  This will give you ample time to perfect your child’s look before they go in front of the camera.
  5. Wear solid colors or simple prints!  Because school photos are generally taken from the chest, up, it is best to wear something that won’t look goofy if it is cut in half (such as a graphic tee featuring a superhero).  Solid colors and simple prints are also less distracting, placing more of the focus on your posing child.
  6. Wear shirts that compliment!  Wearing shirts that compliment your child’s eye color is always a good move, as it will draw out this color, emphasizing the child’s attractive features.  Also, it is a good idea to wear shirts that look good from the chest, up, such as polos, collared shirts, or simple rounded-neck t-shirts.  Spaghetti straps aren’t a good idea as they generally sit low on the shoulders, and look sloppy in school photos.
  7. Avoid hats!  Even if it is raining outside, it is best to avoid wearing hats.  Instead give your child an umbrella to carry.  Because most schools won’t allow hats in school photos, once advised to remove it, your child will end up with hat hair in his/her photo.
  8. Avoid lens glare!  If possible, get non-reflective glasses for your child to wear, to ensure their eyes are visible despite camera flashes.
  9. Encourage natural smiles!  I know this is kind of a repeat of tip #3, but it is worth noting again, because you and your children will be much happier with a natural smile, than a fake one.  This also means open-mouthed smiles are best, despite gapped teeth or braces.  This is an opportunity to capture a moment in your child’s life.  Take advantage!