Picture Days have come along way over the years and nowadays preschool pictures are a lot more like professional mini-sessions rather than traditional school pictures. For parents, this can be amazing yet intimidating and stressful to prep for at the same time. I've created this guide to help you plan for your preschooler's picture day from clothing to getting your little one mentally ready for the photoshoot!
Preparing What Your Child Should Wear
Selecting what your child will wear is often the first step to preparing for Picture Day. You'll want to make sure you take the backdrop or background to be used into consideration when planning their clothing. Most professional school portrait photographers will inform you prior to picture day what the backdrop will be if doing studio portraits or whether they will be doing the portraits outdoors. If they don't tell you, you can ask the preschool or contact the photographer to find out.
You want to make sure you don't choose the same color or primary color that the backdrop will be. For example, if the backdrop is a brick red, wearing red or brown will blend into the backdrop instead of having that nice pop from the backdrop to make the focus on your child. It is always a good rule of thumb to not select clothing that has logos or patterns/prints that are too busy since they take away the attention from your child's face and could make them look like they're an ad model for a brand logo (while that would be great if they're getting paid for it, it's not typically something anyone wants to notice first when looking at pictures). Also, when choosing colors to wear, choosing colors that are not too dark or too bright are usually great selections. If your child is going to wear jeans, almost any top will match well with it, but otherwise the easiest thing to remember is contrast...if they wear darker colored bottoms, contrast with a lighter colored top and if they wear lighter colored bottoms, contrast with a darker colored top.
Don't forget about their shoes and any accessories! If the professional school portrait photographer is going to capture poses that will include your child's feet, you'll want to make sure their shoes are good to go. Often times preschoolers shoes can be a bit tattered or dirty because they're busy having fun (as they should be!), but when preparing for Picture Day, cleaning those shoes before or even getting a fresh pair of shoes will look great! Most preschoolers are not yet into any kind of accessories, but some may really like hats, scarfs, or other accessories and you'll want to remember plan those little details.
Having your child play a role in selecting their outfit can also help boost their confidence that they will feel comfortable and look great on Picture Day! For preschoolers, choosing a 2 or 3 outfits that you think would look great and letting them choose one is a great way to involve them without overwhelming them or stressing yourself out.
Getting Your Child Mentally Prepared for Picture Day
Some children absolutely LOVE the camera and have no problem on Picture Days, but some children can get very nervous or anxious, mostly because it's new and/or out of their normal routine. Either way, talking with your child for several days before Picture Day about taking pictures at school can help ease their nerves as well as get them excited and ready to take pictures that will reflect their genuine personality.
Walking them through what they can expect, such as following their teacher or school staff to the area where their picture will be taken and following instructions of the photographer and having fun, will help them feel more comfortable when Picture Day arrives. You can even mention who will get to see their pictures, like Grandpa and Grandma for example, and this could help them want to be cooperative and take great pictures knowing their family members will love it.
Preparing the Night Before and Morning of Picture Day
Setting out their clothing and shoes the night before will also help prepare them mentally, as well as having them get dressed in the selected outfit in the morning easier, because they know what they are wearing in advance. If their shoes need a little spot clean, doing it the night before will ensure they are fresh and ready to go.
Getting plenty of sleep and eating a full breakfast is always a good idea, but it's especially good the morning of Picture Day so that they're alert and their tummy is fully satisfied while getting their pictures taken. You know how it is when you're tired or hungry, it's hard to want to do anything, right?
Don't forget about any Picture Day forms that need to be turned in! You'll want to make sure they are completely filled out before Picture Day and make it to school with your child on or before Picture Day. (This is more for your sanity and reassurance!) Depending on how your school and photographer does things, you may need to turn in your forms and money by Picture Day or there may be a post-pay option, but knowing how and when to order is key to ensuring you don't miss out on getting to order your child's pictures. It would be awful to go through all this preparing and not end up getting pictures!
Relax and Enjoy!
Ultimately, don't let Picture Day stress you out. Sometimes making a list of what you want and need to do can help you compartmentalize and not forget anything. However you plan and prepare, I wish you all the best and hope your preschooler's pictures are something you will cherish forever!