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School Picture Day Tips for Kids to Rock That School Photo!

These school picture day tips will help you pick the perfect picture day outfit, hairstyle and pose to get a great school photo this year!
School Picture Day Tips for Kids to Rock That School Photo!
Updated: September 21, 2023
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The supplies have been bought, the first days and back-to-school celebrations have gone by and your kids are — hopefully — settled into their new routine. But there is another big moment to get ready for during the back-to-school season — school photos!

In the age of smartphones with high-quality cameras, these visual keepsakes taken by professional photographers are still part of the school year tradition.

Related: 10 First Day of School Photos That Are Parenting Goals

School picture day can be exciting or overwhelming for children. They might not know what to wear, or not want their photo taken. They may feel self-conscious about their appearance or nervous about getting in front of the camera.

Getting Ready for School Picture Day 

And unlike family photo sessions that give you plenty of poses and angles to choose from, school photos basically just give kids one chance for a great picture. School photography companies like Lifetouch are usually in charge of school photo day.

These photography companies are working with many kids, and while they may be able to do a second take, it’s best to have the right outfit and prep your kid for the experience ahead of time.

To help your kid walk into school photo day feeling ready and maybe even a little excited, do things to bring down their anxiety levels a bit on the big day. 

Give them a say in choosing an outfit they feel comfortable in, and a hairstyle that gives them an extra boost of confidence, while also giving your thoughts and suggestions in a positive and encouraging way to make sure the experience is picture-perfect.

Picture Day Hairstyles and Skincare

Well dressed teenage boy smiles for school picture day
Getty Images

You can’t go wrong sticking with your child’s natural hairstyle. A trim near the big day or a few weeks before can clean up ends. It’s not a great time to try something new or complicated.

The right hairstyle is more balanced. Lifetouch recommends half down for girls to keep long hair out of their faces. A simple headband or hair clip can also do the trick while showing off your kid’s personal style.

Skin care is also something important to consider. If your child has acne, picture day aside, it’s important to treat it. If over-the-counter products are not working, a visit to the dermatologist can be helpful in finding the right treatment.

Having a routine for your kid’s skin will help it stay healthier. But even if your child or teen has a blemish, rash, or acne that shows up the day of, tell them not to fret.

School photography companies typically offer touch-up editing you can add to your order, so let your child know that either way they’ll look great in their picture despite last-minute skin changes.

Choosing Photo-friendly Clothing for School Pictures 

Mother and daughter pick out outfit for school picture day
Getty Images

You got some great back-to-school outfits over the summer, but how do you choose what to wear for picture day?

Let your kid help choose what they’ll wear for their school photo while offering suggestions to lead to a flattering shot. Their favorite outfit could work well if it doesn’t distract from their face.

Wearing some they feel good in will bring confidence and comfort on the big day. Or maybe they want to get something new and wear it for the first time in their school photo. Either way, plan and pick out what your child will wear ahead of time rather than at the last minute, for a low-stress morning the day of.

Solid colors are the best choice for school photos to limit distractions in the portrait. It’s a good idea to help your child choose colors that complement their skin tone. They can wear any color they like, but different hues may be more flattering on your child, making them a great choice for their school photo outfit.

Warm skin tones have a golden or olive undertone and look great with warm-colored clothing as well as earth tones or bright hues work well, too.

Cool skin tones, which have a bluish undertone look best in pastels and cooler colors.

Skin tones that are neutral and fall in the middle are flattered by soft shades of pink or peach, and lighter blues and greens.

Beating Picture Day Nerves

The best way for your kid to have a good picture day is to help them lower their anxiety levels. Keep them relaxed the night before and day of, especially if they are feeling nervous.

Walk them through what will happen, acting it out if that makes them feel more comfortable. Give them a pep talk to look happy, but try not to put too much pressure on the day, because it can make kids more nervous.

Telling them to think of something silly can help bring out a more natural smile. Practicing smiling could be helpful, but will likely lead to a more forced expression that doesn’t look natural. Pack them a lunch that won’t stain clothing if pictures will be taken after lunch or snack time.

Pro tip: Try one of our 148 Funny Back-to-School Jokes to get your kid laughing in the morning!  

The school experience will be different from elementary up to high school, but in all cases, helping your child be ready ahead of time with these picture day tips can lead to a stress-free photo day. For some kids, it might feel like a big deal.

Having them talk through what they’re feeling is good, and then distractions like books or board games before bed could help your child feel more at ease to get a good night's sleep the night before so they look wide awake and ready to give a big smile for the camera!



Sources +

Sutton, S. (2023, July 6). What Color Looks Best on Me? The Trick to Finding Your Signature Fashion Hue. InStyle.

Easy and awesome hairstyles for Picture Day - Lifetouch Inc. (2020, August 25). Lifetouch Inc.,of%20everything%20in%20the%20photograph

Tips for the perfect Picture Day - Lifetouch Inc. (2023, May 8). Lifetouch Inc.

Stephanie Sokol

About Stephanie

Stephanie is a mom living in the Chicago area with over 10 years’ experience in… Read more

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