For kindergartens that do not have compulsory school uniforms, parents often asked me is: What should my child wear for their photo day?
Here are some tips that might help:
Tip #1 Don't make them wear anything they don't like.
When a child is wearing clothes that they're uncomfortable in, their discomfort will show in their photos. If the fabric is stiff and scratchy, or there is a tag itching at the collar, they will pull and tug at their clothes all day, instead of being relaxed and involved in their kinder learning.
Tip #2 Dress for the weather.
Once again, comfort is key. If it's cold outside, make sure they have a warm jacket they can put on when playing outside. If it's a hot day, make sure they're not dressed in overly warm clothing. As we all know, Melbourne weather is often unpredictable, so layers are best.
Kids have fun no matter the weather condition, they might get messy muddy or wet during play. Don’t forget to pack them a spare set of clothes that are ok for photos just in case.
Tip #3 Soft fabrics are best.
Clothes made from soft fabrics tend to be (and look) more comfortable. When choosing your children's outfits, ask them to sit on the floor with their legs crossed (kinder-legs) and check to see if the clothes bunch up in an unflattering way, whether the collars ride up to make their neck disappear, or whether any part of the clothing restricts their movements.
Tip #4 Wear their favourites.
If you have ever done a professional family portrait session, you might remember the photographer saying: don't wear clothes with big writing or cartoon pictures. That is great advice for family photos because the big graphics will probably be dominating in a photo.
But for kinder photos, what we want to preserve is your children's memory of their kindergarten days. If your child is obsessed with a favourite paw patrol t-shirt and would wear it every chance he/she gets, then perhaps that’s what he/she should wear. When you look back at their kinder album in 10 years’ time, wouldn't it be great if they say: I remember that t-shirt! That was my favourite!
Tip #5 Not too precious, please.
Some parents pack special 'photo clothes' for kids to change into while taking photos, then packed away straight afterwards to avoid it getting dirty. Or instruct their children to avoid messy play to keep their clothes clean.
PLEASE DON'T DO THAT.
Kindergarten photography is about capturing children enjoying their kinder-day: participating in group time, interacting with teachers, playing with friends, painting, laughing, dancing, climbing, jumping in muddy puddles, digging in sandpits, having the most marvellous time just being children.
It is not a fashion shoot! (we can do that in my studio.)
Please dress them in clothes that allow them to get dirty, please embrace the messy fun that is the joy of kindergarten days!
Tip #6 Hat Policy.
Between September and April, as well as on high UV days outside these months, the SunSmart rules sate No-Hat-No-Play. It is against policy to ask children to take their hats off while playing outdoors.
Hats can look good in photos if they are well fitted (make sure they're not too big and cover your child's face). Stiffer rims work better in photos because the rim doesn't flop down and cover your child's eyes.
Hats with lighter more neutral colours are better than hats with strong colours (strong blues or reds) which might reflect colours onto your child's face.
Tip #7 Hair.
Don't get a new haircut right before photo day... just in case you (or your child) doesn't like the new style. If you do it two weeks before photo day, it'll at least get a chance to grow back a little.
Hair preferences are personal. I don't mind messy hair, I love the naturalness of my daughter's windswept wild curls. My mother HATES untied hair, she's always trying to clip and tie my daughter's hair to keep it off her face.
If you like neat hair, these are some tips I've learnt over the many years of photographing at kindergartens:
- Hairstyles using braids and hair-rubber-bands tend to stay neat for longer even with all the dancing and jumping.
- Headbands (the semi-circle wire type) often fall out of place when your child is jumping, unless they're a tight fit.
- Good quality firm bobby-pins tend to do a better job keeping fine hair in place than hair-clips.
- Make sure hairstyle still work with hats on. Top knots look cute but might not work when your child wears a hat outdoors.
I hope these tips are helpful in preparing your children's clothing for their kinder photos?