Don’t Dread School Picture Day

If you are anything like this mom, you are counting on your child’s school pictures featuring your child at his or her best. After all, school photos are usually hung on the walls, mailed to extended family members and sent electronically to friends. Wallet-sized photos will get tucked into holiday cards. Photo albums will feature these grins prominently.

No wonder you have got your fingers crossed that your child will take a great photo the first time around. After all, no one enjoys those dreaded photo retakes. What’s the secret to scoring priceless school photos on picture day? Preparation and pep talks. Here are ten easy tips that will help you cajole better photos out of even the most unenthusiastic subject.

 1. Trim hair a couple weeks prior.

Don’t save the haircut for the days before the scheduled photo shoot. Give freshly trimmed hair time to settle in, especially if your child is going for a new look or has cowlicks. 

2. Send them to school rested.

A tired child is going to look permanently exhausted in the photo hanging on the wall. Get some extra sleep leading up to school photo days by setting bedtime a little earlier for several days before.

3. Feed them a hearty breakfast. 

Don’t stuff them, but make sure they eat a well-rounded meal on picture day. Send an extra granola bar too, in case they get the late morning or late afternoon slot. It’s hard to smile when your blood sugar is crashing.

4. Pack grab-able grooming materials.

If you want hair combed and lips glossed, then be sure to gather up everything kids need for a quick touch-up into a little case they can grab for the walk down the hall.

5. Be thoughtful about what they wear.

Dark, classic colors never go out of style. Avoid tops with stripes, strong patterns, words or logos. Opt for solid colors instead. Avoid any clothes that are fussy or uncomfortable. Pay attention to collars and necklines that might gap or stick out when sitting.

6. Keep accessories understated and timeless.

How about a treasured pair of classic earrings rather than the dangling pink gummy bears? Make sure accessories will lay flat and stay put for the photo, so your child won’t have anything to adjust and readjust.

7. Practice makes print-worthy.

If you have had some photo flubs in past years, don’t dwell on them. Consider what you don’t want your child to do, then emphasize the solution. If you don’t want a toothless smile, ask your child to flash you a couple of practice smiles that “show those gorgeous teeth.”

8. Be considerate of the camera-shy.

If your child is resistant or tense about school photo day, there is likely a reason. See if you can engage them in talking about their concerns in advance of the event. Most children will feel better after simply talking about their feelings.

9. Decide on a secret smile prompt.

You have no idea what the photographer is going to say to invite your child to smile. But one way to get a great smile with teeth in plain view every year is to offer your child a personalized smile prompt. Does imagining Grandma opening the letter and finding the photo inside get the job done? How about imagining scoring the winning touchdown or a goal? Personalize your smile code in whatever way works best for your child’s temperament.

10. Relax about retakes.

Your child may not always end up sitting pretty on the first try. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. So follow all of these tips again on the second try, if it comes to that, and know that the photographer will be doing his or her best to get the shot, too

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Recipes For School Photo Disaster:

Avoid time-consuming amounts of hair curling, straightening or arranging. Opt for a natural look instead, that won’t fade over the hours or frizz in unpredictable weather.

-Don’t force your child to wear clothes a relative made or sent. Go with an outfit your child likes that is comfortable for more natural results.

-Glasses get smudges or cause glare. Remove glasses unless they have anti-glare coating. Include glasses cleaning supplies with grooming materials, if needed.

-Child surprises you with a strapless top or tank top? Avoid a naked look on retakes by wearing long sleeves rather than short or no sleeves.

-Don’t send kids with braces to school with food that will get caught in their teeth at lunch. And pack a toothbrush on picture day, even if you think they won’t need it.

-Class clown? Make sure your child understands that purposeful pranks will be rewarded with suspended allowance and gift money to afford professional shots made necessary by school photos you can’t use.

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