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School Photos 2013


As many of you know, in addition to my studio work I also have a very successful schools side to my business.  And as it is my policy to provide quality in all areas of my business I ensure it continues through this side as well.  Although my school portraits have a different look and a less time intensive style, the quality of the light, the processing, and the products are still in line with what I offer my studio clients and often excels the work of most, if not all other school photographers in this country.  I see no reason why the photographer's skill should be lower just because the end client is expected to spend less. 


I wanted to share a few examples of some of my favourite pieces (the ones I have permission to share) as I am just as proud of some of these as I am my studio work.  The expressions I am able to achieve in such a short space of time gives me a sense of pride as it must be so hard for children to open up like that with someone who is often a stranger to them. 


Having said that however, we do make a good effort to get to know the children and even remember their names as the years go by.  We've been with our first schools for 8 years now and we regularly ask the children their names as we work.  Repeatedly seeing their name with their photo while processing their orders helps reinforce it and we can often call them by name (or close to it) the following year.  Its a great feeling seeing the smile on a child's face when they see that we remembered them.  We're even a little sad when we realise that its the final time we'll be photographing those about to move onto the next school. 


Our work is a little different to most school photography businesses in that, as I said earlier, we like to keep the level of quality in line with what we offer our studio clients.  In doing so that means we spend much more time throughout the entire process.  First, we take more time with the children, doing our best to bring out the best in them.  I then select the 2 best images for the proof card myself which can be surprisingly difficult.  When the orders are placed I carry out any necessary Photoshop work requested on our order forms.  Most scratches and small blemishes can be removed easily so this is a service I offer free of charge.


I also have a lovely Photoshop process I run against all the images which enhances them just the way I like it.  Images straight out of camera aren't good enough for me so I don't let anything go out just as they are.  This process adds a little punch and crispness where needed and a little softness to the skin.  As with any automatic process though, it won't be perfect in all cases.  So as a final step I quickly review each image before the order for prints is placed. 


Once these arrive back with us (which takes our lab about a week to process) they are mounted and packaged in our studio.  This is another opportunity to ensure that our quality standards are met.  But of course, please bare in mind, that we are only human and mistakes can still be made.  If you have any problems just get in touch and I am sure we can sort it out. 


For those of you who wonder why it takes so long to receive your orders, this is why.  We put in a lot of effort for all of our schools and we do have many of them now.  And everyone wants them in time for Christmas.  We've never let anyone down yet and don't ever intend to. 


I also wanted to share with you all the fact that we pay a commission to all our schools.  I'm not sure many of you realise that 20% of everything we sell goes directly to the school.  And so it should as they provide us with the space and time we need to get the work done.  Without them we wouldn't have this revenue stream which is vital to our business.  They also tolerate the disruption to their day, help organise all the children and help us by reminding parents and then collecting in the orders on our behalf.  I just thought it was time I shared this piece of information so that you are aware of some of the costs associated with the products you purchase as I know some of you have told me in the past that prices are high for what they are. 


Commission fees are pretty standard for all photographers at all schools across the country.  Its what makes it worth while for schools to provide this service.  And for those of you who are unhappy with your school photographer (which I hope isn't me), its an even greater reason for you to make this fact known to your school.  First, you are paying for this service so you should be happy with it.  And second, if you are not paying for it because you're not happy with the results, well that is money your school is missing out on.  Some of our schools receive close to £1000 a year for the individuals alone which must prove very useful for the children.


We currently have space for a couple more schools before it looks like our diary will be full.  So if you would like to see Christina Lauder Portraits at your school please get in touch and we can arrange for a sample pack for your school. 

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