I have photographed thousands of children as a school photographer. I have seen every crazy pose, funny face,and cheesy smile that kids can make in front of the camera. You would think that standing in front of a camera and smiling would be simple, but both kids and adults make it alot harder than it should be.
Here are some basic tips that will make picture day a lot easier and may make your school photos alot better.
1.Do not stress your child out! I have seen countless children being told to smile harder but not too hard. “Make a real smile” the parents say. ” Dont stand like that!”. ” Your front teeth are missing dont smile with your mouth open!”. You can feel and see the stress on the child’s face as they try to make their parents happy, but the innocent faces can not lie, and the school photo that year will show all that anxiety. The best way to make a child smile is to make them feel beautiful and happy. They will truly shine!
2. Don’t have the kids over practice the smile! Kids come to my camera with the biggest and most bizarre smiles I have ever seen. I have seen kids hold that smile the entire time they were waiting in line to be photographed. I try to get them to smile like a normal human. I try to get them to laugh, or even say cheese, and the kids will say it through a clenched jaws, unwilling to let go of that practiced smile! Encourage your child to smile naturally when they get in front the camera and not worry too much! A natural smile is the most beautiful kind! Also remind your child that the photographer will pose them and there is no need to contort their bodies into unnatural positions.
3. Have your child wear something simple and comfortable, and please no white! I hate seeing kids come in front of the camera with stains on their clothes from their snack or lunch. Keep it simple and pretty. Nothing too complex or busy to the eyes. Remember the child is the most important part of the picture, not the clothes or hair style.
4.Keep the hair simple, clean and combed. Photographers do what they can to make the child’s hair look nice, but please keep it easy for the photographer to fix and neaten up. Braids work well and the hair stays nice. Clips tend to come undone and after recess they do not resemble the hair style what so ever.
5. Write notes to the photographer, we do read them! If you don’t want your child’s glasses on in the photo, write to us! If you don’t want the sweater on in the photo, write it on the order form. We want to make you happy! The best note I ever got was a parent telling me to tell the child to say ” lego” to make him smile. I did this and got the best grin ever!
6. Last and most importantly, there is always Re-Take day! The day that we photographers come back to the school to photograph any child who missed the original day or who did not like their photo. We will work with you, there is no need to worry. Let your child be their beautiful self, missing teeth and goofy smile and all. I promise I will capture them just as they are so that you can remember exactly who they were right at that moment. They will never be that exact person again.