School pictures are just around the corner!
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Here are a few tips from for creating a keepsake you’ll want to share.

Simple tips to prep your child for school picture day

Closed eyes, wrinkled clothes, goofy smiles, no smiles — these are all flops familiar to school picture day, a day that should be every kid’s time to shine.

However, when every child in school is getting his or her photo taken on the same day, there’s a lot that can go wrong in the short window typically allotted each child.

Photographer Heather Crowder’s advice can help parents anticipate some of those issues. Owner of Modern School Pictures, based in Annapolis, Md., Crowder travels to schools and shoots contemporary close-ups and full-body images, usually outdoors, an alternative to the traditional photographs with gray and blue backdrops that most schools offer.

Good photographers might quickly check that hair and clothing are properly in place, but Crowder has suggestions for what to do at home so children will feel relaxed and ready for their close-ups:

Comfort rules: When picking an outfit (if students aren’t required to wear uniforms), think cute and comfortable. “If (parents) put the child in something they’re not comfortable in, it’ll show through,” Crowder says. Be sure the outfit is something seasonably appropriate that your kid likes too.

Pressing concerns: “Clean and pressed (clothing) goes a long way,” she says. Also consider the style of photography and background, and pick colors that complement your child’s skin tone. She recommends clothing with tasteful embellishments over distracting logos, brand names and iconic characters.

Added interest: Layers and accessories can add interest — and don’t forget to coordinate the shoes. If the photo ends up being a full-body shot, “(the wrong) shoes can kill the whole outfit,” she says.

Hair tips: “The more self-sustaining (a hairstyle), the better,” Crowder says. “Teachers and photographers aren’t going to take nearly the time to fluff that mommy’s going to take.” A little hair product goes a long way, so ask your child’s stylist for advice. But don’t go overboard on hair spray; it can create the effect of a “shellacked helmet.”

She also advises against boys or girls getting a haircut the day before; aim for a week prior. That way, if the cut is disastrous, you have time to remedy the situation. Also, keep hair off your child’s face. “The face is what shines.”

Skip the makeup. Makeup “doesn’t necessarily enhance a young face,” Crowder says. Additionally, if your child has blemishes, scrapes or stitches, check with the photography company to see if editing and retouching are service options, because concealers can look messy. “I tell people not to cover anything up … but I can’t fix swelling, a bad haircut and a bad attitude.”

If your child wears glasses, Crowder suggests leaving them on if he or she wears them all the time. Photographers can work around reflections, but if the photos are taken outside, be mindful of transition lenses; it might be best to take them off.

Parents, stay home. You may think no one else can get a smile from your child like you can, but leave the job to the photographer. “It puts a level of unnecessary pressure on everyone,” Crowder says. “If parents are over my shoulder, I’m never going to get from the kid what I can get by myself.”

Don’t make a big deal out of picture day. Forget about coaching them to smile. “Whatever you say likely isn’t going to make a difference,” so don’t put pressure on them, she says. “A good photographer is going to be able to connect with the child.”