Getting a Great Performance from School Portait Subjects

Getting great performance in school photos can be challenging. Younger children are fidgety and can't sit still for long. Older kids feel they have better things to do, and are often self conscious. Even for a professional, getting great looking school portraits can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you get better photos when dealing with school age children.

What You'll Need

  • Photography set up
  • Childrens toys and movies
  • Combs and mirrors to hand out

Step 1: Prepare before the Event

Before the day when school pictures are to be taken, start working on the set up. If it's possible to scout the location first, this can be helpful. Not all schools are created the same. Knowing the conditions of the area where the shoot will take place will help you plan on the right equipment.

Step 2: Dealing with Lines

Everyone hates standing in line. Younger children become fidgety. They may end up messing up their hair and their clothing. Older children may get annoyed, and this can come through in the photograph. It's a good idea to have something for them to do while in line. Younger children will appreciate a cartoon or a movie playing on a nearby television. Older children may enjoy this as well. Having combs and small mirrors available will not only allow children to check on how they look, it will give them something to have in their hands during the wait.

Step 3: Communicate with Child

It's a good idea to ensure you have enough time to take a few photos of each child. You can put the child at ease by having them make the funniest face they can come up with for the first photo. After this first shot, you can laugh with them. This will allow you to position them and take really great photos since they will be more comfortable. It will also allow the child to have his personality shine through. While the parents will rarely order this 'throw away' photo, they will get a kick out of it.

It's also important to talk to the child throughout the process. Find out what their interests are. Allow them to talk for a minute about their favorite hobby, sport or book. This will also end up giving you a better portrait since that happiness will shine through in the photo.

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