Every week during the school year I visit childcare centres and kindergartens across Adelaide to photograph hundreds of children enjoying their preschool years. I often get asked, what should I dress my child in for their photo day? The whole idea of creating preschool photos is to show your child in those formative years prior to school and with a little bit of wardrobe planning for your photo day, you will end up with fantastic photos you want to put on your walls!
With well over a decade as a professional portrait photographer, I’ve put together a list of suggestions, to help you select your child’s wardrobe. If you read no further, remember these two points: Stay true to your child’s personality and consider comfortable clothing for the day.
During your child’s photo shoot it’s important they are comfortable in their clothing. Ensure buttons don’t pucker if selecting a shirt for photo day. In most cases photos are generally “from the waist up”, meaning that children’s pants or skirts rarely feature in the photographs. Don’t worry about sending your children to childcare in their newest shoes, they won’t be in the photos. Choose a hairstyle that will be comfortable for your child and will keep their hair out of their eyes. Whilst we don’t groom children on photo day, if we feel a child hairstyle needs attention, we will always check with an educator prior to taking photographs to ensure they are looking their best.
Before pulling out every dress your daughter owns (or getting online and finding that dream outfit you always wanted an excuse to purchase) consider your home decor. It may sound like a strange place to start, but you may want to display your child’s portraits around your home. If you want a classic look to remember their preschool years – consider clothing with texture – knits and single colour patterns work wonderfully for boys and girls, block colours and collars draw your attention to your child’s face.
For a timeless look, it’s best to choose clothing without branding or logos, it’s just not going to stand the test of time on your lounge room wall. Having said that, many of us have children who would spend their life in “dress ups” (my youngest included!) and if this is the personality of your child and you want to reminisce on how care free they were before heading to school, then their favourite superhero costume can bring out their spirited personality and make you smile every time you look back at their photos over the years..
When guiding families regarding colours for group portrait sessions, my advice includes avoiding bright and bold colours when there are a group of people being photographed together. These bold colours can be overpowering and the portrait session is about the people, not the clothes. Childcare portraits are a little different, it’s a portrait of your child and for many children bold colours look fantastic! On photo day, I’m always considering what a child is wearing and what backgrounds will compliment the child’s attire to make the child the star of the portrait, it’s something I do instinctively after many years of photographing in kindergartens. If you are a family with more than one child at childcare and you are choosing to have a sibling photo taken, lay the kids clothes out together on the bed in the days leading up to photo day. Are they cohesive? Does any one item of clothing jump out at you? If so, change it for another item that blends with the mix. Classic colours that work for both genders are cream & beige, both light and dark grey tones, blues, greys and dusty pinks.
Above all, don’t let choosing your child’s photo day outfit become overwhelming. If you (or your child) have a particular outfit already chosen for their childcare photos, go with it – your child’s smile will win everyone’s heart – Every. Single. Time.