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Cheese is a dairy product, NOT an expression!

Cheese is a dairy product not an expression!

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Tips & Hints. A journey to success.

"School is a great place to photograph kids mainly because parents are somewhere else."

If you would like to be there on picture day we welcome your sense of team support, but suggest you head to the bathroom before your child comes to the camera. Most of the time your child will do better without you. (This includes peeking around trees- we are talking to you- preschool parents).

Preschoolers under the spell of their teachers and classmates may forget they are doing something new and unsettling. When their mom or dad is nearby they tend to cling, cry or refuse to participate. There are always exceptions but they are exceptions.


We always bring combs to shoots. We do not allow children to share combs, and we discourage them from keeping them afterward. All of our photography teams are trained in lice prevention.

If you have special hair concerns feel free to send them in writing with child. 90% of the time the person doing hair will be one of your fellow parents or a teacher. Be kind, they are voluntary hairstylists doing the best they can.


Schedule the hair cut at least 10 days ahead of photo day. The front of hair should not "eyelash brushing long". Neat, shiny hair always looks best.

NO BED-HEAD! We love our boys but they can have some pretty knarly snarls in the back of their heads. Promise them sugary cereal if they let you wet and comb their hair before they leave for school on photo day!!!


Bang cuts should be at least a week old. Complicated hair styles do not withstand recess and school schedules do not allow much time for hairstyling.

Ponytails are great as long as you include some barrettes or hairpins to manage flyways. We love pigtails but they can be hard to manage if the child's hair is too short for them to look neat all day.

We LOVE tied back hair on windy days. Love, love love it!

Headbands are a nice solution for growing out bangs and their color should complement eyes and clothes. We will often photograph long hair both in front of the ears and in back of the ears as we don't know how your child wears their hair daily.


If you child shows up to camera in a baseball cap we will generally photograph both with and without the cap. This is fine with us...except when there is a serious case of "hat head". Hat head can be avoided if you could ask your (usually) boy to keep his cap off until after his first photos.

Same goes for girls. Wear those sassy hats, but not at the expense of your hair!


The best choice is the simplest - dress them in a collared shirt that fits as well as complements their eyes and hair.

A sweater, a dress, neat tee or a clean soft polar fleece will work. You are looking for a top that complements your child's face not distracts.

Small patterns or solids are best. We love Gap clothes but the word GAP across a t-shirt is a bit distracting in a photo.

Superman, Spiderman, Giants, 49'ers, Cinderella, Dora the explorer or Hanna Montana will immortalize childhood passions but that should be your intention not an accident on picture day.

Clothes that are clean and stain free will save you retouch costs. You can even send a second shirt in case of snack accidents (remind them to tell the teacher they brought it).

Iron those collars!

Summer spaghetti strapped dresses that have some "growing" room are usually not the best choice for your girl. They tend to hang to low and if it is chilly in the morning the goosebumps on their arms show.


Children who bring a positive attitude to the camera are a joy to photograph. Our photographers work hard to elicit natural expressions, we are not looking for a "cheesy smile" (remember, cheese is a dairy product, not an expression..).

We spend our days unlocking real smiles from our subjects. We have lots of energy, tricks and even bribes in our arsenal to eradicate fake smiles. We have teddy bears for the muffins that are too scared to smile.

We focus on pensive eyes when that is where the camera finds the soul. You can help us by remaining positive in your message to your child.

A successful photograph is a collaboration, and we encourage our subjects to put their best face forward. We have found that if a student is respectful of our time and efforts to make a pleasing photograph they will ultimately be happy with the results.

You can reinforce a positive attitude by sharing with your children how wonderful they are and how you are looking forward to seeing their portrait this year. Let them know you trust them to work politely with the photographer in creating a portrait that they can be proud to share.

More Poses:

Children learn by observation and repetition, this is a good thing in school but not in photos.

Please do not "teach" your children poses. Let us help them position themselves for the best image.

We agree with "American's Next Top Model" on one thing- No Posey Photos!


Let them shine!!! A mouth of metal is a limited addition photo op. Lips won't hide the metal so kids might as well wear them proudly!

Missing teeth:

A gap tooth smile is beautiful. Classic.


MugsyClicks photographs mostly outside which is why are images look so natural, this also leads to problems in regards to eyeglasses.

If your child wears classes that are light sensitive we will need ask them to remove them because they will read dark in the photo. If you have a second pair that do not get dark, please send them with your child on picture day.

Non reflective lenses are great, no reflections of trees, cameras or playgrounds will show. We have a number of tricks to lessen glare but sometimes it is impossible.

That is why we always photograph kids both WITH AND WITHOUT GLASSES. Please let your child know this so they do not think it is because we don't like their glasses. We love glasses, many of us wear them, but we don't want glare to get in the way of your child's beautiful eyes!!!


You CAN please yourself your parents and your photographer on picture day!

It just takes a little bit of planning, communication and mutual respect. This time in your life is an adventure! Some of you will change more in one year than in the last three. When you leave middle school or high school and look back on that first year photo you will be AMAZED at the power of nature. We are here to celebrate and capture that transformation!

So, while all the things written above pertain to you, in regard to clothing, they are now UP TO YOU. You are in charge. You are in charge. YOUR choice of clothes will determine how you feel about the photo, we are here to share with you our years and years of experience working with people your age.


The color you choose to wear will either complement your face and eyes or it will detract. Words and designs on your clothes will share with the world what you are "into" at this moment. While we want to capture an image that reflects YOU we also want to remind you of no matter how much you loved Elmo when you were 3, you probably wouldn't want a picture with him today.

If you want to reflect your passion for sports, music, etc in this year's portrait we are with you all the way! Remember we are artists so most of us had our own "unique" styles when we were your age. But please stay away from colors, designs and words that over power your eyes and expression.

Before you commit to your photo day wardrobe take a moment to consider who you creating the photo for. If Grandma receives a photo every year, we all know she wants to see you smile. If your mom or dad are the ones who REALLY want this photo, thank them for all the food they buy by wearing something you know they like- heck bring two shirts if we work fast we can make images of BOTH.

Special note to the all the ladies in the house

Plunging necklines and tube tops do not work well in head shots, there needs to be more body in the photo otherwise the photo is just face and skin.

Notes on skin and blemishes

Isn't retouching wonderful? Just because you woke up with a gathering of neon zits on picture day doesn't mean you have to look at them forever. Just order your photos online where you can find a variety of retouch options.

Make up. A bit of lipstick, mascara and blush is all you need! You are young, beautiful and wrinkle free!

EXPRESS YOURSELF doesn't have to mean you look mean or tough.

The gangstra look is good for your CD cover but not in your yearbook or ID card. Especially not on your ID card, wouldn't you rather have your school administer think you are "no trouble"?

Smile with your eyes even if you choose not to show your teeth. We suggest allowing us to create a variety of expressions to choose from later. Why waste your valuable professional photographer time with the same expression over and over again.

Use us to explore different versions of YOU!

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Featured Photographer

Julie Horn

Studio: Julie Horn Photography
City: Santa Ana
State: California

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