The holidays are prime time for studio portraits -- photos make great gifts and greeting cards. But parents tend to go overboard when dressing children for a sitting. "Remember, you'll likely be in the studio for 20 to 25 minutes, so kids have to be really comfortable," says Lisa Berman, president and CEO of Picture People, which has 300 locations nationwide. Consider something dressy but casual; khakis, corduroys, overalls, or a jumper.
"The easiest way to help a photographer capture a child's personality is to have that child dressed in whatever she's most comfortable in," Berman says. "Ask yourself, 'What clothes represent my child's personality?' Chances are it's not a tuxedo or a crinoline."
Keep the focus on your child rather than on what he or she wears. "Avoid something like a Santa suit, which dominates the picture," Berman says. And don't try anything radically new, like putting a bunch of barrettes in your daughter's hair if she doesn't normally wear them. Need to calm baby? A prop that means something special, like a favorite teddy bear or toy, will look good -- mainly because it will get a smile.
What Do We Know?
Plenty! American Baby has dressed countless babies for their close-up. Here's a little bit of what we've learned:
- Buy soft button-down shirts that look cute untucked, since they inevitably will be.
- Elastic-waist pants allow for the quickest diaper changes and easiest trips to the potty. Button fly and zippered pants are the hardest to get kids into.
- Expect your little man to tug at a bow tie -- it won't last!
- Skirts rarely stay down -- use a diaper cover or cute tights to keep diapers from peeking out.
- To ensure that tights aren't constricting, buy a size up -- bunched tights look fine on girls.
- Look for shirts with stretchy neck openings for easy dressing.
- Shoes with Velcro fasteners are the easiest to get on.
- Stains show the least on denim.
- Once kids can pull hats off, they will.