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How to Get a Great School Photo

How to Get a Great School Photo

School has been in session for quite a while now but with Fall officially here there is one more beginning of the school ritual to get through – SCHOOL PICTURE DAY. It is time again to face the possibility that the school photographer may not capture the amazing brilliance that is your child. We all know that professional level portrait work is not expected for these photos, but you’d rather not end up with something like this.

This Girl Was NOT Prepared for Picture Day

Granted, it will make for a great story (and blackmail material) in 20 years but that is not the GOAL of picture day. All you ask for is a nice photo to send to grandparents and long-distance friends at the holidays. The photo above and its counterparts will not do.

Want to avoid the “Evil Stare” and other such photos? Here are a few basic steps you can take to guarantee a great school photo:

I'm guessing the parents didn't think this through.
I’m guessing the parents didn’t think this through.

Choose Simple Clothes

When picking out your child’s wardrobe (or guiding the process for older children) choose solid colors preferably medium to dark shades, long sleeves, and try to avoid any type of writing on the attire.

Keep Hair Natural

Make sure haircuts occur at least two weeks before picture day. Don’t use this as an opportunity to do something fancy with your child’s hair. No new fangled braid styles or anything that requires hot rollers (trust me). NO GIANT HAIR BOWS. Seriously, that isn’t cute, it’s ridiculous.


If your little one is anything like mine, the command “smile” is interpreted as “look as unnatural as possible and scrunch your face.” Have them practice in front of the mirror by making them laugh so they can see what they look like naturally. If you have the energy, also try and practice sitting still and straight up by posing them and taking their photo yourself.

Clean Up and Get to Bed

It seems like a given but make sure your child is bathed, hair washed and nails clean and trimmed. That last one is sometimes overlooked and dirty nails do not look good. Help ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep so they don’t look tired and everyone has time in the morning to get ready without being rushed.

What are your tips for a good school picture?

Photo source: Awkward School Pictures


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