As a team, we have completed over 450 promotional photo and video shoots for schools and multi academy trusts. We know that it is important that the day goes well and that we capture your school perfectly. The photos and footage that we capture on that day will be the assets that you use to promote your schools in the months and years ahead. So, in this blog we provide advice on how to structure your photography day.
Before the photo shoot
Permissions for childrens photos to be used for your marketing purposes is vital for the success of your photography. Before your photo shoot you need to ensure that you have up to date permissions from parents, most schools collate this information at the beginning of the school year. However if you need to refresh this or gather permissions for the first time, here is a sample permission form that you could adapt and GDPR information.
Identify your key lessons/areas
You already know your key areas that are specific to your school. These areas are the strengths of your school and what makes parents want to send their children to your school.
You will also have your normal lessons running on the day so it’s important to take this into account. However if the lesson plans for the day are not in the key areas list then you’ll need to allow time for us to gather some children and stage a lesson to capture.
Inform the parents
Communicating with parents would be good practice as this is a good opportunity to check permissions and also remind parents of the uniform standards. As your photos are going to be showcasing your school, you need to ensure that children are wearing the correct uniform that is clean and presentable.
Inform teachers that a photographer is coming in and to have good lesson content planned
Internal communication with your staff is very important to ensure the teachers are informed about the day. This also enables the teachers to plan great and interesting lessons and set interactive activities to get the children really engaged.
Prepare the school class rooms
Once your teachers are informed, they can prepare their classroom or learning space ready for the day. This may include bright displays, tidy tables, activity sheets and learning resources.
A typical photoshoot schedule
Capturing your school runs smoothly when we follow a rough schedule which you can find here. As we have captured many schools, we have gathered some helpful hints and tips to help maximise your school photography day.
- Give more time for active lessons such as PE and forest school. These lessons are interactive and involve many activities that we can capture.
- Ensure session time is showing the most engaging part of the lesson. The activity is what the children interact with the most and create the best photos. For example, if we are shooting a science lesson, let’s make sure we are scheduled in that lesson for when the experiment is ready to happen rather than the set up being explained to the students.
- Plan for the unexpected. When working with children, or even in the weather, nothing ever goes as planned. An example of this is having a PE lesson planned for outside but on the day it is raining. This doesn’t mean that the lesson can’t get captured, we just need to approach the photography differently for the indoor lesson.
- Provide a chaperone, this is always advised. Photographers do not know your school and can’t be expected to know the childrens names and permissions. This also helps communication between the photographer and class teachers. The class teachers are focusing on their class, and although we aim to keep in the background as much as possible, sometimes we have to request changes to capture the needs of the school.
- Identify children who have had permissions removed for photography. This can be particularly difficult because photographers cannot memorise this information. We have also been asked to capture images throughout the day and then remove any images that include children without the correct permission, however this could lead to us delivering less usable images. This is also another reason that a chaperone is highly advised.
A top tip – We suggest using a white address label with a hand drawn smiley face on. Place this on the pupils jumper and it will clearly stand out in photos, and just in case it sneaks through, it will be picked up in post production on the big screen. By having this white sticker it allows our team to walk into classrooms and capture more natural scenarios, if that’s what you are after.
- Schedule time for the photographer to have a 30 min lunch break if having a full photo day. We have been to many photoshoots for an entire day with no time for a break or time to get lunch.
- Plan for travel time. If a lesson is off site, plan for the realistic time it takes to get there and back. This might be to the local church, woods, swimming pool or beach.
- Make time at the end to have a debrief with the photographer. This is an opportunity to ensure the brief has been met and that you’re happy with the photos before we leave.
After your shoot
- Check that all children in the images have permission. Although steps are taken on the day to prevent this, anything can be missed.
- Ensure that you are happy with photo quality and that the brief has been met.
- Download all images, we would also suggest making a copy on a USB plus back up to the cloud. We will delete all images 30 days after sign off however, we can provide a backup storage service which is offered for 12 months for a small fee.
- When using images, use the correct edited size. We provide a full size and a social media size. If you use the full size for social media, your images will be compressed. And if you use the social media size for printing, the image will pixelate.
Now you know what to expect from a typical school photoshoot day and how to plan for it, you just need to find the right photographer for your budget. At BFI Media, we have different options for your budget. You can find out more about our promotional photography for schools.