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How To Take School Photos

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How To Take School Photos
As the new school year approaches many parents begin asking how to take school photos. School photos are a yearly (and sometimes multiple times a year) ritual of forced smiles, plain backgrounds, rumpled clothes (that were neat and clean when they left the house), and large bills for a few photos. Part of the problem is the assembly line method of taking photos. Photographers are trying to capture too many kids in too little time so what you wind up with is a snapshot taken with expensive equipment. As budgets continue to get tighter, it is harder and harder for parents to convince themselves to continue to pay for bad school photos.

This year try taking your own school photos. You don't need expensive equipment or a lot of experience to take great school photos.

First remember that since you'll be taking the photos, you don't have to copy the school photos you've seen before. A plain background with a torso-up shot is fine but there is nothing in life that says school photos must be this basic. When you are planning how to take school photos the creativity is all in your hands, make the photos what you want them to be.

How To Take School Photos

    The Setup
    The first step in learning how to take school photos is the setup. The setup means all the things you do before the photo. For school photos you'll want to select clothing, props, and background/location.
  • Clothing - Select clothing you child actually likes. You might consider a compromise as well. They wear the clothes you want first and then you let them wear the orange plaid shirt with the green camo pants that have holes in the knees.
  • Props - Props can be anything from a backpack to something that represents their favorite subject. Try using beakers filled with colored water for your science fan or a blackboard filled with equations for your math whiz.
  • Background/Location - Select an uncluttered location for your photos. This way the surroundings aren't "taking over" the photo. A plain wall (no glossy painted walls please) or curtains work well. For a more professional look you can purchase a background or make your own. You can also take your child to a local botanical garden to get nice outdoor shots.
    Getting the Shot
    Getting the shot is the other main part of taking school photos. Once you have the setup completed you'll need to pose your child, plan your lighting, and setup your camera.
  • Posing - Don't worry too much over finding a "perfect pose" for your child. As long as you have them face the camera at a slight angle things will turn out pretty well. Also remember our tips for capturing a natural smile.
  • Plan Your Lighting - Watch harsh shadows. Consider a diffuser to soften flashes.
  • Setup Your Camera - Make sure you photograph your child from their eye level. This helps avoid distortion and creates good visual interest.
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