Hello, all. I'm new here and, in fact, I'm not even really a photographer. I work in the Marketing Department at a small college and I've been tasked with coordinating a series of photo shoots on our campus for various purposes (our website, student handbook, course guide, and various brochures and promotional pieces). I have some professional photographers booked for this. I have very little experience with photography and photographers, so I'm sort of stumbling my way through this process. Some of my colleagues who've coordinated other photo shoots before have given me advice and explained the issues that they've run into in trying to get the specific types of photos that we need for our purposes. Our biggest need--perpetually--is good photos of professors and students interacting in the classroom. We do this by obtaining permission to sit on on actual classes and take photos. This is tricky for a number of reasons: 1. we're disrupting a class, so the professors get upset (even when they give us permission to be there) 2. the students don't have much say in whether they classes they are in are being photographed (the professor gives us permission) and some are very uncomfortable with it 3. the classrooms are very small and it's hard to get good angles of professors WITH the students--we either get shots of the professor or shots of the students, rarely both and even more rarely both looking engaged with one another. 4. the classrooms are, frankly, ugly. Bare white walls, very few windows. The professors usually have a blackboard or something in the background in the shots, but students usually have just bare white walls. The lighting is also usually terrible. Usually, we end up with 85% of these photos being unusable garbage, another 10% being decent but not ideal, and the final 5% being great and exactly what we need. So, coming in with a fresh perspective, I had an idea: instead of shooting real classes, get 6-8 volunteer students and 2-3 professors and bring them together in an empty classroom or other space and let the photographer have as much freedom as he needs to direct these subjects and light the scene. It's basically a staged shoot. This allows us to: 1. not disrupt an actual classroom 2. make sure everyone being photographed has VOLUNTEERED to be there and is comfortable with the situation. I can also try to ensure we have a good gender and ethnic balance of students, rather than whoever happens to be in the class (if it's 15 girls and no boys, that's not ideal). 3. set up the shots anyway we want to get EXACTLY what we need, rather than hoping that at some point, several people are lined up JUST RIGHT from the photographer's angle (and in a real class, he has limited movement ability because there are 15-20 kids in the class and the professor is trying to lecture) 4. We will have the ability to choose only the best and most photogenic classrooms on campus to shoot in. We can also potentially re-arrange the classrooms to suit our needs (i.e., move the desks so that there is a window or blackboard in the background behind the students). This would also allow the photographer to light the room anyway that is necessary to get good photos. This idea was shot down by the powers-that-be. I was told it will look totally staged, will not come off as genuine, and that "good photography is fleeting" and must unfold naturally. I'm going to discuss this with my photographers when I have a chance to meet with them, but I was hoping for some advice from you guys. As photographers by calling, I was hoping to get some insight from you: am I totally wrong? I'm told my several colleagues who've done more work with photography than me that I am, in fact, wrong, so it's likely that I am. But I can't help but think that if we continually spend tens of thousands of dollars per year on photography and get only a handful of photos each year that we can use and end up discarding hundreds more, maybe this is something worth trying. Am I totally wrong to think that an experienced, talented, skilled professional photographer can stage a classroom shoot and make the photos look natural and authentic? Any insight is much appreciated. Thanks!