School picture day can become easier on children and parents if some tips by those in the trenches are followed.
Teachers, parent volunteers and others typically work together in shepherding students to a school's picture-taking area for portrait day. Children should be able to find a parent or teacher who can help with last-minute grooming before the keepsake image is captured.
But some preparation is needed so children can have an enjoyable portrait day experience.
Stuart-Rodgers Photography in Evanston is among the companies serving suburban schools. The company's Scott Rodgers said solid colors or simple patterns should be selected for shirts -- preferably long sleeved.
Rodgers said parents should resist the urge to get a haircut for their child just before the photo shoot on the chance it doesn't turn out as desired. He also said parents shouldn't dwell on portrait day before it occurs.
"We actually recommend not talking about it at all, because it might make them (children) nervous," said Rodgers, whose 78-year-old company has been involved in school photography since 1979.
Eden Prairie, Minn.-based LifeTouch School Portraits, the largest such business in the country, has a footprint in schools across Illinois. The company has a variety of tips based on its nearly 70 years in the school photography business.
Clothes with writing on them should be avoided because letters could be omitted if the picture is cropped, according to LifeTouch. Small accessories such as basic earrings, necklaces and pins are said to work best for the pictures.
LifeTouch experts also suggest that a student have good posture, practice a nice smile and check the shirt collar and hair just before the photo is shot. Students wearing makeup should refresh it soon before stepping before the camera.
Similar to other photography companies, Stuart-Rodgers makes available disposable combs to students for a last-minute touch up.
Rodgers said with the volume of children usually involved with portrait day, photographers have about 10 seconds for each shoot. He said his company has an employee responsible for placing a student at ease while another works the camera.
Schools typically receive 20 percent to 30 percent from a company's phot sales, Rodgers said. He said the pictures can be compared to other school fundraisers.
"It's almost like Market Day," he said.
Retake day is an industry standard. In the case of Stuart-Rodgers, it occurs about a week after the delivery of portrait packages.
"You have a nice picture of your kid every year as they're growing up," said Rodgers.