HomeWhat to Wear for School Photos

What to Wear for School Photos

If you’re anything like me, you will wake up the morning of your child’s school photo session and realize that the only clean thing in their closet is the Halloween costume from last year, and the neon orange rec centre t-shirt. Furious laundry basket diving will ensue to find the “cleanest of the dirty”—right?

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Family and school photographer Rochelle Hepworth provides some guidelines and examples so you can get an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.

Check with the photographer whether full length photos are included so you know whether to consider pants and shoes. Most school photos are taken from the waist up, so focus on choosing a suitable shirt/dress. Don’t spend long on the lower half—although I won’t stop anyone from wearing fabulous shoes!

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Simple is best

The best thing to wear is a simple, one- or two-coloured shirt/dress. This kind of clothing will be timeless and look good even when you look back at these photos 30 years from now.

Avoid writing, characters & large logos

Sure, it can be tough when all your kid wants to wear is that one Paw Patrol shirt five days in a row, but as soon as there is text or pictures on the shirt, your eye will just naturally go to that, instead of to your child’s beautiful face.

Want to add some visual interest?

Textures like knits, lace or denim photograph well in photos, and patterns like plaid, stripes or floral can spice up a simple portrait. For more flair, consider accessories like a stylish fedora, a jacket or vest, a bowtie or a special hair accessory.

Avoid blending into the background

If you know the colour of the background screen, avoid dressing your child in the same colour.

For example, if the screen is black, a black sweater can blend into the background and create a “floating head” effect. If photos are taken against a green screen, wearing green will cause problems when the background is changed in post-processing. At the very least, add a scarf or some other colourful piece of clothing to distinguish the subject’s upper body from the background.


For siblings, stay away from exact matches, but feel free to coordinate colours and patterns that go well together. Don’t let both kids wear patterns—if one wears a pattern, choose a colour from that pattern and let the other one wear a solid in that colour.

If all fails, any clothing that isn’t crusty or too wrinkled will do just fine. And if it ever comes down to a choice between your child’s favourite Frozen dress or a meltdown…choose that favourite every time!

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