How to Dress Your Child for School Photos

dress your child for school photosAnyone else cringe at the thought of your kids’ school photos? At the risk of being labeled ‘psycho moms,’ we know there’s pretty much one shot of having a great school photo and all too often there’s crazy hair, rumply clothes or, the worst—goofy smiles. We still love those pics, no matter how they turn out, but gosh, we’d love it if they were awesome.

We can’t help with silly smiles or clothes or hair that’s out of control, but we can help with a few general school photo tips.

The dress code at your child’s school will largely define what is (and isn’t) suitable for school photos. Here are some tips to help guide you in selecting an outfit for school photos—and increase the likelihood that the end result will be something you love.

5 Tips to Dress Your Child for School Photos

Comfort is key. Your first impulse might be to pick a dressy outfit—resist it! Pick something that’s both cute and comfy, and something that’s not alien to your child. That way, he or she is infinitely more likely to be relaxed (and more importantly, look relaxed) and natural in photos, rather than fidgety because they’re trapped in clothes that they aren’t used to and that might well be uncomfortable.

Complement with color. It may sound silly, but you’ve likely figured out by now that not every color looks great on every kid. So, when you’re picking out an outfit, remember to pick something that complements your child’s skin tone and hair color. One color that works almost every time? Blue! Do what the pros do when it comes to photos and opt for blue. Blue is a great choice for both photos and video—and because blue comes in so many hues, it’s easy to find a shade that works for your child. And as a bonus? Blue happens to be the hot color for fall—how’s that for fashion-forward?

Easy on accessories. Just as you might be tempted to pick an overly dressy outfit for a photo, for girls, it can be easy to go overboard on accessories, too. And if your child has wardrobe input, she might just be tempted to go a little crazy with jewelry and hair adornments, too. We’re huge fans of just keeping things simple when it comes to photos. Opt for accessories that are simple and natural looking and that enhance the outfit. If you do opt for a more dramatic piece, like a flower clip or headband, keep the rest of the outfit (and accessories) simple—a pair of understated earrings or a necklace, for example.

Makeup in moderation. Parents of older kids get to arm wrestle the makeup demons—something that strikes fear in the heart of just about every parent. It’s not unusual that older girls are likely interested in experimenting with makeup—and although you certainly don’t want to start World War III, it’s a good idea to encourage your daughter to use a light hand when applying pre-photo makeup. Some tips from the pros? Avoid too-trendy looks like glittery or brightly hued eye shadows, overly vibrant blush or too-dark (or too-bright) lipstick, which could likely appear garish in the final photo.

Pattern police. Sweeping generalizations are typically not my style, but in this instance, patterns rarely work. If you’re ever having a professional photo shoot (either for business or just of the family), they’ll just about always advise against wearing patterns. It’s just too risky.

If you can’t avoid patterns altogether, stay away from overly large or busy patterns that may unintentionally take the focus off your child. Instead, incorporate patterns as you would accessories—sparingly, and with an eye on enhancing your child’s outfit. Try a patterned headband or hair accessory for a girl, for example, or top a patterned top or camisole with a basic cardigan. For boys, try a patterned tie (if they’re amenable and feeling dapper), or a T-shirt layered underneath a light jacket or sweater.

With a bit of pre-planning, you’ll have school photo outfits ready and waiting in no time. Don’t you wish everything in life could be this easy? And what about you parents who are veterans of this? Any tips that we’ve missed? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Image by David Salafia via Creative Commons

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