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Photography Directory

What Do You Need for Successful School Photography?

School Photography

If you love children and if you love photography, school photography is for you. But you have to prepare yourself for a lot of chaos and confusion, and therefore a lot of planning and organization. Here are a few bits of information to help you out if you’re hired for school photography.

What is School Photography?

School photography mainly means portraits of kids learning in a school, preschool or a daycare. Most schools need head-and-shoulder portraits. However, smaller schools and preschools may need environmental photography. Some schools may even need you to shoot class and school group photos. Individual portraits and group photos can be shot on the same day or at different times of the year.

You may even be asked to shoot other school-related activities such as dances, athletic photo shoot, graduations, award ceremonies or cap-and-gown shots. Thus, a school photography contract may involve only portraits or completing jobs for the school throughout the year.

Gear Required

Gear you require depends on your shooting style, location and the school’s expectations. Gear needed for formal portraits shot inside with studio lights will be much different than outdoor casual portraits. Some school photography jobs can be completed with a camera, lens and reflector, whereas others need a full studio setup. It’s important to clearly understand the expectations of the school before you accept a job, and make sure you have the right gear and skills to complete the job.

Brands of strobes and speedlights, and brands of modifiers are all your personal choice. Neewer, Profoto, Alienbee or Godox, no matter what brand of gear you have. As long as you’re comfortable using it and are confident it will work for a longer shoot, you can use it.

School Photography environmental

Typically, you’ll need a camera and backup, lens, strobes with extra batteries and heads, speedlights with extra batteries, radio trigger, mount brackets, L-bracket, tripod, stool, chair or apple crate for posing, signs for traffic organizations, extra memory cards, shutter hugger, main light, fill light, hair light, clipboard, cell phone and of course, a wagon to carry all this.

Even though it may seem overwhelming at first, with some practice, you can get your setup ready within just 20 minutes. You just need to know how to connect and sync your gear, where to position your subjects, where to place lights etc. But this is not to be done on the picture day. You should practice in the studio so that on the actual day, you know exactly what to do.

Regarding choosing the best camera and lens, the brand depends on your choice. Any camera which is reliable and 20 or more megapixels is enough. Some good choices of lenses are Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens and Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens.

How to Become a School Photographer?

You’ll have to develop a portfolio. If you’ve been doing a lot of portraits, those photos might fit your portfolio. If not, start working on it. Create a sample session for local kids. This will also help you in practicing your setup and system. Play with various lighting setups and looks until you create something appreciable. Work with kids of different ages and try various backgrounds to bring variety in your portfolio.

Once you have a lot of practice and are comfortable and confident, you’ll enjoy the job and can be a successful school photographer.

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