Simple Soul Photography has been producing high-end school portraits for a variety of Hampton Roads schools since 2012 and preschoolers are some of our very favorite clientele. We LOVE their curiosity, silliness and joy - capturing their true expressions is an action-packed, sometimes challenging, but always rewarding job. The first thing you should know about our picture days is that unlike almost any other school photography studio you may be familiar with, we don’t require pre-orders or pre-payment. Instead, a few weeks after picture day, you'll view and order from a private and secure online gallery of your child's images. We playfully direct each child through a variety of fun prompts and poses designed to elicit natural expressions and YOU get to choose the ones that best capture the child you know and love. Purchase one print, or purchase 20 - with our flexible ordering options, you won't ever wind up with 20 mini-wallets of the same image just to get the one 5x7 you actually want (spoiler alert: few parents see our galleries and only want one 5x7, though).
On school picture day, you want your cutie to really shine! These are professional portraits that will last for generations and that you’ll want to display in your home and share with family and friends. Here are a few tips to make the best of your child's picture day experience:
Tip #1: Choose an outfit - with your child!
The night before picture day, choose 2-3 outfits YOU love on your kiddo, that your child tends to like (or at least, feel neutral about). On the morning of picture day, only present those preselected outfits as options, so that any choice your little one makes is one you can live with.
Picture day isn’t the best time to break out new and potentially uncomfortable clothing. Road test new outfits and let your child get used to them in advance. When kids feel comfortable and able to move around, it's easier to capture natural, genuine expressions.
Bold, vibrant colors work just as well neutrals to show off your child’s personality. Use your child’s favorite color combinations for fun, memorable photos that capture who they are right now. Solids and patterns both both photograph well, but it's a good idea to be sparing with patterns and layer them with solids. Speaking of layering, layers (and accessories!) are always a good idea: they add interest and texture and allow us create a variety of looks by adding and subtracting items. Hats, bowties, suspenders, jackets, scarves, backpacks and hair accessories are all welcome on picture day. Avoid slogans, large logos and neon colors - clothing should complement and not compete with your child's sweet face!
Tip #2: Hair - Curls, Cuts and Clips
The night before picture day is never the best time for a haircut so schedule any routine trims about 2 weeks before picture day so that the cut has a chance to soften a bit. On picture day, comb and style your child’s hair prior to drop off. If you’re concerned that your child can’t maintain the "do" until the they are photographed, mention your hair "goals" to your child's teacher so they can pass them along to us! We will do our best to put everything back in place before your child's closeup. Remember, no matter how lovely your child's hair, ultimately, the goal is to see their face so hairspray, gel, clips, headbands, etc. are all going to be your best friend on picture day.
Tip #3: Go the ____ to sleep (well-rested kids are happy kids, happy kids take great photos)
Do whatever it takes to ensure your little one gets a good night's sleep before picture day. Break out all the soothing bedtime rituals - bath, stories, snuggles, bribes... whatever it takes. Consider playing calming music or leaving on a fan to generate white noise to drown out other sounds. It may help your child to sleep through the night. A good night's sleep is nature's best beauty treatment AND the best way to ensure a smooth picture day experience for everyone.
Tip #4: A kiss and a lick
After breakfast, have your child brush his or her teeth and do a quick face wipe-down. Check for dried yogurt around the mouth, eye & nose gunk, etc. We check them over before working with them, too, but this tends to be an "all hands on deck" situation with little ones.
Tip #5: Practice and cutting the cheese
In the age of camera phones and selfies, you’ve probably taken hundreds—maybe thousands—of photos of your child. If that’s the case, you may want to scroll through your collection to find that capture great expressions to show to your child. Explaining what it is that you like so much about these images can be sometimes be helpful, and trying to make similar faces in the mirror together can be good practice. But don't go overboard; we want to keep the picture day vibe fun and stress-free. Older children tend to do better with this sort of help than younger ones so consider your child's maturity before deciding if this approach might be useful. Finally, please avoid tell your child to say cheese for photos! Children who have been drilled to "cheese" for the camera are often the hardest to work with because they are so focused on maintaining a single (not great) expression, that they never relax enough to show us their true expressions.
Tip #6: Blankies, toys and lovies
Does your child own a favorite toy or have a special attachment to a blanket? If so, you may want to send blankie or Knuffle Bunny along on picture day. These souvenirs of childhood add a poignant touch to your child's portraits. Consider items that your child may one day remember years later. It may be a hand-knitted blanket gifted to your child by an elderly family member or maybe it’s the teddy bear that you grew up with and that you saved especially for your own child to love. These items aren’t merely props used to set a stage. They’re items that your child will always cherish and will one day appreciate seeing in a photo.
Tip #7: Remember that nobody’s perfect
Picture day at school is a rare and precious opportunity to capture your child in one brief moment. But next year, you’ll have the opportunity to capture them all over again in THAT moment. Even if this year's portraits capture your child looking shyly at the camera instead of grinning, that's okay; we are capturing stages and each one has it's own unique flavor. Don’t worry about perfection. If your child has lost baby teeth, for instance, remember it’s a rite of passage that every child experiences. You’ll enjoy looking at the imperfections and quirky expressions for years to come. Years down the line, you'll enjoy remembering all the little quirks of each age and stage that are reflected in your child's school portraits.