What are Some Tips for Taking a Good School Picture?

G. Melanson
G. Melanson
A relaxed, and genuine smile will go a long way in taking a good picture.
A relaxed, and genuine smile will go a long way in taking a good picture.

Thanks to the Internet, it can be difficult these days to live down a bad school picture. Between social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace that allow users to upload pictures for all their friends to see and websites devoted exclusively to bad school photos, it can be hard to hide a bad hair day caught on film. A little extra effort and preparation before school picture day can make all the difference between having a photo you’re proud of for years to come, and one that makes you want to burn all copies and hunt down the negatives.

One of the biggest factors that can make or break a school picture is the clothing you choose to wear for it. Unless you already know in advance what the backdrop of the school picture will be, it’s best to avoid wearing patterns, such as polka-dots, stripes, paisley, or other “busy” designs that can clash with the background. Solid-colored clothing is the best way to go, and won’t distract from your face and smile.

If possible, it’s best to allow yourself time to prepare for your school picture at home before you leave in the morning. You might need to make some touch-ups after you’ve arrived at school, but it’s easier to get most of the preparation out of the way at home, where you have all of your tools handy. If it’s raining outside on the day of your school picture, try to arrange transportation to school so you don’t have to dry your hair, clothes, or reapply any makeup after you arrive.

Rather than trying to look a certain way in your school picture -- serious, smart, cool, etc. -- just try to muster a relaxed and genuine smile. Try to think of something that makes you happy before the flash goes off to get the most sincere facial expression. If you’re a chronic “picture blinker” and find that the shutter makes your eyes flutter, let your photographer know beforehand, and ask him or her to count to three before they take the picture. That way, you can blink on the count of two and be wide-eyed for the camera.

Finally, scan through some of your old photos and pick out one that you’re happy with. Note what it is you like about the picture, whether it’s your hair, clothing, or facial expression, and try to recreate some of its elements for your school picture.

Discussion Comments


Cupcake15- I always remember to make sure that my kids go to school the day of the school group pictures.

There is usually no makeup for the school building picture, so I make sure that they attend school that day. I like when my kids are seated in the front of the picture, in the first row.


Oasis11- What I like to do when my kids are taking pictures in school, is practice a few nights before how I am going to style my daughter's hair.

My daughter tends to like this approach as she is more cooperative the day of the pictures as a result.

It is too stressful to just start styling without a plan on the day of the school group pictures.

The pictures service that my daughter school’s uses gave the parents this tip. They also tell us to avoid wearing the color green because the backdrop is green.


I normally prepare my children for their elementary school picture.

I usually put gel in my son's hair and style it, so that it won't move. For my daughter, I usually blow out her hair and style it straight with the flatiron.

I then spray her hair with hairspray so that it won't move. I usually take both my kids to get their hair trimmed a week before the pictures are going to be taken.

This way the hair is neat and all I have to do is style it. It is harder to style hair when they hair style is overgrown.

I usually order school pictures on the first day of receiving the envelope. The school picture prices go up every year, but you really have to buy the pictures.

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    • A relaxed, and genuine smile will go a long way in taking a good picture.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      A relaxed, and genuine smile will go a long way in taking a good picture.