Skip to main content

School Photos Are Not As Easy as You'd Think

Every year I do a load of school portraits and I rarely get the chance to share them as I never share anything without permission. Gaining permission is just that bit more difficult when you don't meet face to face with many parents. So I just don't bother. But this year I thought I'd give it a go and get some permissions as they are just too lovely not to share.

(You know you got it right when you show Mum and she gets tears in her eyes - this family has been coming to me for years now and I love watching them grow) 

School portraits give me a chance to work very differently than usual. In some ways its not how I like to work at all but in others its a chance for a little freedom. You see for me, I like to be a perfectionist with my work. And being such can be draining. This usually means creating just a few really great portraits for my studio clients and having all the time in the world in which to do so. With school portraits on the other hand, there is only so much I can do. So I have to let some of the perfectionist in me go. And that can actually be quite liberating at times.

(Sometimes kids pose themselves and get it so right)

My studio sessions regularly last as long as 4 hours, depending on the type of shoot. So that is 4 hours to maybe work with 2-5 people to get possibly 10-20 fantastic images. Schools on the other hand will be about 6 hours to photograph 200 people as both individuals and sibling groups to get roughly 500 acceptable photos (which I always still try my best to make perfect). So as you can imagine, it all works a little differently. And to be honest, I take longer than many other school photographers, from what I am told. I basically get no more than 60 seconds per child which can make it difficult to get that perfect smile every time no matter how hard I try. But when it doesn't happen, I've learned over time to let it go. This is where the feeling of freedom comes from and why schools can be a break for me just by being a change from what I am used to.


With the youngest of children they are often so shy and a little scared that we can't always get the best with them. And with the older children they can be a little self conscious or in need of looking cool in front of their peers. Either way, getting that quintessential smiling portrait isn't always possible. Not to mention that as soon as first break hits, there is little chance that the flawless hair styles will remain. The girls come back with their perfect pig tails springing leaks and the boys come in with red faces and damp sweaty hair. Not really the ideal scenario for perfect portraits.


However, for me the perfect school portrait is about capturing the child at school being themselves. I have many photos of my daughter at school looking less than pristine and one time as miserable as can be but every time they were still perfect to me because it was always as I would expect my daughter to be. Her miserable portrait was when she was 2 and painfully shy and I love that memory. And her slightly tatty hair was exactly how I saw her everyday when she came running out to me at the gates at the end of the day.


This is what school portraits are. There are other times and places to get photos with everything just so. At school the photos are whatever we manage to capture. But please know that I always try my absolute hardest in that short time I have to get something each parent will love. I know they aren't always perfect but I'm always still proud of what I create under those circumstances. I think if more parents could witness the process they'd appreciate just how difficult it really is.


In 2018 I will be offering 2 different types of sessions in our studio for people wanting school photos with a bit extra. As always I will be setting a couple of dates for basic school photos in a 10 minute session where my usual school print and digital prices apply. This is for standard straightforward school photos only.  In addition to this I will be offering extended sessions at my mini session price of £125 for 3 digital files. This session will differ in terms of the amount of time spent (45 minutes instead of 10), props used and an outfit change so not all photos need to look like school photos. This will be a great opportunity to get regular updated portraits of your child and at a reduced rate from my usual studio fees.


If you would like to be added to my mailing list for such school photos please get in contact using the links below and you'll be notified as soon as the dates are set. Please note that we will not bombard you with loads of emails (or share any of your details). This list is for school photos only and will be used for just a few emails per year.  

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Zoe returns, this time with baby!!!

This was a great opportunity for me to experiment in my new studio.  Zoe let me do this with her baby bump a couple of months ago with great success so we took the time again, this time with her new baby.  Some experiments were successful and some where not.  But that comes with the territory.  You can't find new and exciting ways to shoot without finding a few bad ways too.  I'm just greatful that the only mess we needed to clean up in the end was a little wee.  It could have been a whole lot worse.
As usual, Zoe photographs so well and I am again so pleased with the results.  She is going to have some great images to show her daughter when she grows up.  Zoe looks absolutely fantastic, and without any signs of having been pregnant just a few short weeks ago.  Of course, apart from her bump she hardly showed any signs of even being pregnant.  If only all women could be this lucky. 



I had forgotten how easy it is to photograph newborns.  They can't run or crawl away.  Th…

London in Spring, Whats Not to Love?

Well I know there is still a lot not to love but I'm choosing to see the great things about London at the moment. I am having a ball this year visiting London as often as I can. Which is unusual for me since I usually prefer the comfort of my own home, in rural old Leicestershire. Staying home and avoiding people has always been the easy option. But this year, possibly due to the wonderful weather we keep having, has me longing for venturing out.


Again, just like my last trip, I headed out with my good friend Panikos Hajistilly. Living in North London he finds it easy to meet up for our shoots. This time though I had more of an idea of the sights I wanted to use as the backdrops for my portraits. With it being spring I was in search of colour, preferably flowers. Admittedly. I didn't quite get what I was looking for. The white fronted terraced houses with pink magnolia trees we did not find unfortunately. But I did make it to Peggy Porchen's which was a must see on my list…

4 Merits, 3 Finalists, 2 Awards and a Masters!

This past week at the Societies of Photographers Convention in London was just about perfect in every way. As always I look forward to this event with mixed emotions. As a judge and speaker anxiety levels can be high. And I always know that through both working and socialising it can be an exhausting experience that is often hard to get through. However the high I finish on is simply incredible and worth all the sleepless nights and hard work, in large part due to the incredible people with whom I get to spend this week.

(Photo Credit: Mike McNamee - Sitting on a panel)
(Photo Credit: Mike McNamee - The entire judging team including print handlers)
Being amongst the judging team just gets better and better each year. It is very intimidating sitting on that panel and being resposible for assigning a score and then often providing a critique to substantiate it however the rewarding feeling when doing it well is immense. I know I am still a relatively new judge but hope I can improve each…

Do You Have a Little Pirate in Your Family?

If so, why not capture it in a beautiful portrait so you can cherish these memories forever?


I designed and built this set for a client. She came to me with a son and daughter and during the consultation we discussed the interests of the children, as I always do. Our ideas for portraits for her daughter were going to be easy. She loved the idea of modelling pretty dresses so her shoot was sorted. Her son on the other hand was more difficult. Where ever possible I try to incorporate something about the children into each portrait. That can mean books, sports, dance, musical instruments or anything a person has an interest in. In this case he hadn't yet developed any interests, other than pirates.


Now my client didn't want me to go to too much trouble. We agreed it wouldn't be easy to make anything pirate themed look as though it fit my style and level of quality. A shop bought costume wasn't going to cut it. But I just had to try. I love dark wood in my portraits and I …

Portraits of a Beautiful Young Woman and Her Guitar

You may remember a while back when I did a casting call looking for teenage boys and girls. Well this is the girl I chose. I had quite a specific look in mind, one which included really long hair. I have always had a thing for long hair. The choice also became quite simple when this young lady put herself forward as she is someone I've been photographing through school for several years and she is a past member of the Hinckley Athletics Club where she has been coached by my husband for nearly as many years. He's always had a soft spot for her, being one of his first members which helped my decision. When I have projects where I want to work with a model rather than a paying client I like to use friends or past clients whenever possible as it enables me to give something to those who have been loyal to me.


Wallis has been a pleasure to work with. She is a stunning, confident young woman. In addition, she could bring props with her that I love. I've been wanting to photogra…