How to Prepare For a School Picture

It’s normal to feel a little nervous about taking your school picture. You might feel pressure to look perfect or you may have had a bad previous experience that you don’t want to repeat.
Fortunately, if you spruce up your appearance, work on being photogenic, and practice good hygiene, you’ll be prepared to take a great school picture.


EditEnhancing Your Appearance

  1. Plan out your outfit. Look through your clothes and think about which outfits look best on you. Think about what colors you get complimented while wearing and what shirts you’d wear on a date. Make sure to stay away from busy patterns, white, bright colors, and clothing with words or big logos.[1]
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    • When in doubt, wear a dark, solid color.[2]
    • Don’t wear anything too low-cut.
    • Go with opaque fabrics.[3]
  2. Keep your accessories simple. Big earrings, watches, bracelets, necklaces, scarves, or other accessories will just distract from your face and smile. If you want to wear accessories, it’s better to choose small, simple ones that don’t immediately demand attention.[4]
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    • Go with a thin gold or silver necklace chain with a small pendant instead of a chunky colorful necklace with a thicker chain.
    • Make sure to wear a watch that’s appropriate for your wrist size and isn’t too flashy.
  3. Keep your makeup natural-looking. Have your makeup look as clump-free and natural as possible. Be conservative with the amount you use or else it might appear “cakey.” Keep in mind that you want a subtle enhancement, not anything too extreme.[5]
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    • Stick to just one light coat of brown mascara to give your eyes a subtle enhancement.
    • Stay away from extremely bright or dark lipsticks.
  4. Don’t change your appearance too much. Hold off on making any major changes to your appearance, such as switching to a new acne cream or dyeing your hair an exciting new color. While you might love these changes, there’s also a chance that they won’t end up looking the way you expected or wanted.[6]
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  5. Don’t get too caught up in looking perfect. Try not to get too stressed about looking amazing. If you just lost your front tooth or you have a couple fly away hairs you can’t quite secure, it’s okay. In the future, you’ll want to look back on the picture you take and see what you really looked like at this age. A couple of endearing imperfections aren’t going to ruin that.[7]
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EditBeing Photogenic

  1. Practice your smile. Stand in front of your mirror at home and practice smiling. It might feel a little silly to do, but if you want your pictures to look a certain way, you’ll need to figure out how to create your most attractive, natural smile in advance.[8]
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    • Take a few practice selfies, too. Looking at an actual photo of yourself can really help you figure out what adjustments to make.
  2. Practice angles and choose one. School pictures are usually taken straight-on, but very subtle changes in your head positioning can make a big difference. When you practice smiling in the mirror or in selfies, test out slightly different head positions to find out which one makes your facial features look best.
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    • If possible, avoid cheesy poses such as resting your head on your fist.[9]
    • Make sure you sit or stand up straight when your picture is taken.[10]
  3. Listen to the photographer. If you’re a good listener, you’ll get a much better photo. The photographer is a professional, so do your best to do as they say. Listen and respect the photographer just like you would any other adult.[11]
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  4. Think happy thoughts. To avoid having a fake or forced smile, make sure to think about something that makes you happy while your picture is taken. Consider thinking about playing with your dog or eating your favorite food.[12]
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EditPracticing Good Hygiene

  1. Take a shower regularly. Being clean will help you look and feel your best in front of the camera. Shampoo and condition your hair and create a lather with your soap or body wash. Go over your whole body with the soap from top to bottom. It’s best if you take a shower either the night before or the morning of picture day.
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    • It’s best for your skin to keep your shower short (5-10 minutes) and the water lukewarm or cooler.
    • Pat yourself dry with a towel and moisturize your body with body lotion afterward.[13]
  2. Comb and brush your hair. At the very least, comb out any tangles so it looks neat and nice and give yourself a straight part. If you want, straighten, curl, or scrunch your hair to make it look a little more special.
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  3. Take care of your face. Clean your face every night, and if you have a foolproof method that prevents acne for you, follow it. This will improve your chances of having a clean, clear, beautiful face on picture day.
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    • Use a gel-based or foamy cleanser if you have normal to oily skin.
    • Use a creamy moisturizing cleanser if you have dry skin.[14]
  4. Take care of your teeth. Make sure to floss and brush your teeth every day in the morning and at night. Doing this will remove bacteria from your teeth which will keep them whiter, help prevent gum disease, and keep your teeth from decaying. Make sure to brush for about 2 minutes every time to make your smile look bright.[15]
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  5. Bring a comb and mirror to school. Before taking your picture, you may have some ketchup on your cheek from lunch or some stray hairs sticking up. Pack a comb and hand-held mirror in your backpack the night before so you can give your appearance one last check and touch up before getting in front of the camera.
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  6. Get a haircut a couple days to a couple weeks in advance. A fresh trim will look great in your school pictures. For a clean-cut, put-together look, get a haircut just a few days or a week before picture day. [16]
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  7. Stay healthy before picture day. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and getting enough sleep in the days leading up to picture day.[17] Keeping yourself hydrated and well-rested will give you an energized smile and healthy-looking skin.
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  • Try to be confident. Don’t say you look bad, because that will just lower your self esteem.
  • Compare school pictures from previous years to know what you can do to look your best the next time.
  • Try taking pictures of yourself before picture day. Then you can look at your picture and figure out what you can correct ahead of time to make it better.
  • Make sure your picture day outfit is clean several day in advance.


  • You might regret pouting or making a funny face in your school picture. Instead, smile!

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