The Best Outfits for Your First School Photos


When children are in their first official year of school, parents literally cannot take enough pictures of them. Every fall our social media accounts are flooded with kids standing proudly on their front porches, brightly-colored backpacks strapped to their shoulders, new gym shoes shining luminously in the late-August sun. These photos, however, are for the scrap books. The school photos that we here at ABC School Photographers snap the first weeks of school are the ones that go up on the wall. They are the ones that get sent in the mail to friends and family. They are the ones we all have paid good money to see turn out beautifully, but just how beautifully they turn out matters in part on what these children are wearing in the photo.

Knowing that, the following are a few tips for choosing outfits that your young child can wear for their first school photos, whenever those may be:

Avoid Patterns

The focus of a school portrait should be on the student’s face, but busier, patterned shirts draw the eye away from that face in a way that plain-colored shirts do not. Beyond that, patterned shirts can look rather dated years down the road, where a simple, plain-colored shirt will hold up much better to the rigors of time. Furthermore, while your child may want to wear a shirt with their favorite cartoon character, shirts with logos and characters present the same issues as patterned shirts. Paw Patrol and Doc McStuffins are great, but they don’t necessarily need to be stealing the spotlight in your kid’s school picture.

Avoid White

Among those plain colors, white is the least desirable for a school photo because it absorbs light from the flash more than other colors, meaning it could wash out the hue of the child’s skin tone in a photograph. Darker colors match better with more backdrops and can bring out the loveliness of their skin tone much more naturally than a plain white shirt would.

Be Mindful of Pastels

Pastels present some of the same problems as white, as they tend to wash out the color from a child’s face, especially if the student has a paler complexion. Of course, students with darker complexions could actually look much better in pastels, which complement those deeper tones with gentler colors that bring out the best in their adorable, smiling faces. The bottom line is that you don’t want the color to be the star of the show; you want the kid to be the star of the show. Choosing a shirt that complements a student’s face rather than overpowers it is key in this formula.

Taking just a little bit of time to consider what your child is wearing for their kindergarten or first-grade pictures can have a huge impact on how well those photos ultimately come out. Here at ABC School Photographers, we are going to do our part to make your child’s photo look professional and memorable, but parents also can help by choosing outfits that bring out the best in their young children.