School Photos - Ugh!


TPF Noob!
Sep 1, 2010
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Quebec, Canada
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So I got my son's school photos in today (Hes in grade 2) and I must say - I am SOOOO not impressed at all. I think my cat could have done a better job if she was half blind with only 3 legs! Like seriously. I have 18 photos / poses. Only 1 do I like. They used a new photographer this year and she used a green screen for all the kids in the school, but her PS skills are weak and they are poorly put together and as a result the photos do not look good. The sad thing is... this photographer came from a town that is about 3 hours away from here.

I would never consider it personally (although maybe I should lol - good business in these parts) but what's it take to be a photographer for a school? Has anyone ever done this before? I'm wayyy too new to even consider this but I'm wondering if the school just chose a real amateur this year for pics because they are really not nice at all.
Maybe you can get your money back and take them again yourself? Talk to the school; maybe a good business opportunity, lol.

But then you couldn't post here any more. You'd be a pro, and nobody likes that. :lmao:
Haha I know how you feel. My daughter's school pictures came in the other day. On a side not they don't send proofs anymore. They send the whole package and then want you to send them back if you want to buy any. That's stupid. It seems like they only do that to pressure kids to feel embarrassed or something when they bring the pictures back. Anyway, I told my wife to send them back cause they were terrible. I'm going to do them.
Why not contact the school and ask them what it takes to be the school photographer?
business in these parts) but what's it take to be a photographer for a school?

Absolutely nothing.

Well, I don't know what it would take for you personally to be a photographer for a school, but to join a company that does that, it takes absolutely nothing.

Where I work there are a range of people with different experience. Some of them shoot weddings, and others don't even own their own camera (not even a point and shoot). Most of their personal work isn't very good, and I can't imagine any of them to be superb photographers all on their own, even if I've never seen the personal work. Why? Why else would they be working for a low hourly wage, rather than running their own photography business?

I suppose there are reasons to do that rather than have your own business, but I can't imagine what any of them are. Why would you choose to work for the "Walmart of Photography", if you could bank all on your own?

Ps. Yes this is my first post, but this isn't my first post. I've been around these parts once or twice, I'm just choosing not to make comments about such things under my usual persona, as I'm not sure who is on this forum that may end up being one of my colleagues!
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Last year was the last year that we bought school pictures. I don't see the point in laying down money for something that I can do better and more creatively. There was an article in one of the photography magazines that I subscribe to (the name of the mag is escaping me right now) about a photographer that started doing school photographs for his daughter's school and took a more modern approach to it by shooting full length portraits on a 15' (I think) seamless backdrop. The pictures were fun and unique and definitely more appealing than the usual Lifetouch torso shot.

I'm no expert but from dealing with my clients (which are almost all universally children/teenagers), I would say that to be a school photographer you need to be proficient with off camera lighting (strobe, or continuous), age appropriate posing, and able to connect with and get a smile or genuine reaction from a child or teenager. You need the right equipment, a good portrait lens, and good liability insurance. Most of all, confidence.

School pictures, once you get past the elementary group pictures, are so disposable. You almost always end up with more prints than you need, and a mediocre picture that doesn't show off your kids personality. Even if the picture that you produce isn't technically fantastic, at least you have the personal connection of being able to say, "*I* took that picture".

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