Picture Day Preparations. And Why to Let Them Go.

Last year was my son’s first school picture day. And I. Was. Ready. I may have a lot of Mom fails – I don’t have the perfect set of first day of school traditions. I have forgotten for a solid year to prep my son’s emergency kit. Today I didn’t realize until it was too late that I had basically nothing for my kids’ lunches. But picture day? That’s one of those days that I ROCK. Shopping, practicing, pep talking to the kids – we slay picture day. But now, a year later, I realize that I had put a tad bit too much pressure onto picture day.

My guess is, you have to. We all do. But we NEED TO STOP. So here are three things to just LET GO of on picture day.

1. The Perfect Outfit.

If my Mom had it her way, I would have worn a corduroy jumper every year on picture day until I graduated college. I hated it. Because I was not a corduroy jumper girl. I’m sure that on more than one occasion I screamed at her, “I’ll NEVER make my kids wear a stupid corduroy jumper if they don’t want to!” Fast forward to Cole’s first picture day. And no, I did not make my son wear a jumper.

But damned if I did not force him into FREAKING. CORDUROY. PANTS. Like, is there some weird genetic inclination in my family?? I don’t know. All I know is that my son – who had NEVER worn corduroy before – was wearing it on picture day. And he hated it.

Looking back? I should probably have let him pick what he wanted to wear. Because it’s HIS picture day too. A snap in time of who HE is. Not who Mommy was making him be. Even if just for a day.

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2. The Perfect Hairstyle.

Okay, I’m not saying have your kid roll out of bed and head off to picture day. Run a brush through that bad boy. Maybe even bust out some product. Have a girl? Have an entire treasure chest full of clips and headbands that she refuses to wear? Bad news – she ain’t gonna suddenly love headbands and hair clips just because it really means a lot to you today. Maybe you can bribe her. Maybe he’ll agree. But keep your expectations LOW.

I killed myself and got into the biggest fight my son and I have ever had over his hair that morning. In the end, it was perfect. He was so. Freaking. Handsome.

And then I got the proofs of the picture. And wondered what the hell happened. Because his head looked like it had been through a blender. So unless your kid is going to sit in a chair with their hands strapped down until the picture is taken? It’s probably not worth the grief.

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3. The Perfect Smile.

Fun fact: There is NOTHING your kid will love more than you yelling at them to “smile!,” and then telling them they’re doing it wrong.

Follow up: Your kid’s smile will actually NOT get more natural if you tell them repeatedly, “That isn’t your real smile! It doesn’t look natural!”

Photographers generally know what they’re doing. They can make your kid laugh. And if they can’t, none of your coaching is going to change that. Trust me. I coached Cole all day and he had his smile down. It was amazing. And let me tell you – I ended up with not a single one of those well-rehearsed smiles.

Truth be told? Some of my favorite pictures – of my kids and my friends – are the one’s where they’re not smiling! Especially if they’re not smiley kids! Evie was a GRUMPY CAT when she was a baby. She was born with a pouty bottom lip. So when we went and got professional pictures taken and I chose to keep one with her resting B face, the photographer couldn’t understand it. But that’s what she looks like! That’s the face I’m going to want to remember forever, way more than a fake plastered smile.

I know what you’re thinking, uh, Christine – outfit, hair and smile are basically ALL the elements of picture day. What am I supposed to stress out about then?


Just let it be.

Easy for me to say? Maybe. Or maybe I say it because I tried. I tried so hard. I had the perfect outfit. We got his hair to be on point. And he left the house with a picture perfect smile that would make you swoon. And then, even then, we got…..the picture.

And now, I present to you, the best, most epic, you WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED EVEN WITH ALL THE HYPE school picture, you may have ever seen. Just let it all soak in. You’re welcome. And happy picture day.

The Most EPIC School Pic EVER!
Trying to get the “perfect” school picture? We were too – and got this!

19 thoughts on “Picture Day Preparations. And Why to Let Them Go.”

  1. Whaaaaat??? Oh my gosh, that is surely not really YOUR picture…surely you found that on Mr. Google somewhere! I’m dying over here!!!! What a cute kid though…messy hair, hand down the corduroy pants and all!

  2. You have the best blackmail photo EVER!!!! Thank your lucky stars. 😀
    P.S. I 100% agree about letting it go. Good advice! Because … in the end your kid will look like your kid, and really no one cares about your kid’s photo but you and grandparents. And we all have thousands of photos from everyday life, anyway.

  3. OMG i am dead. That is hands down the BEST picture day picture ever. And I was already cry-laughing imagining me yelling ‘be more natural!’ and my poor kids smiler twisting weirder and weirder. LOL.

  4. OMG, the hand down the pants is the killer! I pray to God I get a school pic like this of my sons. (Mine were Oshkosh courderoy jumpers in elementary school… what is it with our moms and overall jumpers?… and lovely 90s permed hair through middle and high school, oh lordy.)

  5. Thiiiiis!! We are gearing up for picture day in a few weeks, and I’ve been going back and forth on what to do. I’m like 80% leaning towards starting the tradition of letting my kids express themselves in each of their school photos…but knowing my 4 year old that would be a Moana dress with like 80 additional accessories. 😉 Definitely agree that it’s not worth stressing over! And that pick of your little one is EPIC.

  6. Oh what a fantastic picture!!!! I know no matter how my mom sent me out of the house, I never looked that good when it came picture time

  7. OMG! That is priceless! When I graduated university, I walked across the stage to get my degree. I turned to face the camera man and the tassle from my cap flew right in my face. My parents laughed because 5 years of University and that’s they picture they buy. Our kids’ picture day is today and tomorrow. My wife was going to pick out the 10 year old’s clothes. We were both shocked when he picked out his own and they were acceptable! You’re so right though. It’s their picture day, too. It should be a snap shot of who they are. Even if they do put a hand down their pants…

  8. OMG! He is so cute! I was literally laughing out loud when you said his head looked like it had gone through a blender! LOL! I’m not a mom, except to a 4-legged fur baby, but I got a kick out of your post. Thanks for keepin’ it real!

  9. I know how difficult this is, for three years my daughter sabotaged her picture day! Year 1 cut a chunk out of her fringe, year 2 had a permanent pen line on her forehead that would not cover with foundation, year 3 shaved half of one eyebrow off. She was determined to ruin the pictures and to this day we still don’t know the reasons why ?

  10. At first I was like, NO!!! After all that work I get this?!?

    Then I realized this is the best picture I will EVER get, haha!

    Funny for your graduation though! I’d want to demand a do-over ?

  11. Oh, my gosh! I absolutely love this post! I never actually remember when it is picture day for my kid, but I am a freak about other things. Thanks for the reminder to take a step back!

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