How to manage a successful photo shoot for your school

Coordinating a photo shoot is a great way to capture a broad selection of images for your school’s future marketing communications. They will also refresh old media and can be implemented across a range of communications from your school’s website, to advertising, promotional materials, publications and social media. Good images support new messaging and concepts, themes or campaigns, and make them come to life.

Organising a photo shoot can be very fun and exciting; an avenue to exercise your creative flair. However, it can also be very tiring, stressful and requires a great amount of planning and organisation.

Here’s some advice on how to manage a successful photo shoot for your school.

It is vital to use a reputable and recommended photographer when planning your shoot – preferably a tried and tested creative. This is not a cost to skimp on. It is important to meet beforehand and brief your objectives and direction thoroughly so you are both on the same page. Request a collection of their work and ensure it is what you are looking for. It is also worth checking if they will have an assistant on the day and a device such as a laptop linked to their camera so you can easily view the images throughout the shoot. Ensure you update the photographer with feedback for each shoot in order to stay on track. Landscape and portrait shots should be taken for each frame.

Shot list
Creating a comprehensive and thorough shot list is paramount for your photo shoot to run as smoothly as possible. It should include time, location, vision, talent and mandatories for each shoot. Be realistic with your time, considering the location of each shoot and time it will take to travel there. Think about the complexity of the shot, does the classroom need to be set up? Are you using young children that will need more organisation? Be sure to include breaks to give everyone a much-needed breather throughout the day.

Consider who will be in each shot, what they should be doing and where they should be looking? Ensure you have agreed upon the uniform for the talent to wear for each frame and the accuracy and safety of equipment and materials. If you are using bicycles, ensure your models are wearing helmets. The images need to look authentic and realistic.

Choosing talent can be tricky. Ideally you want your talent to be photogenic and comfortable in front of the camera which is not always the case. The images should look believable and natural. Ask your talent to practice walking or smiling before the photographer begins and discuss with them how the scene should look. For nervous or shy children, get them to warm up by skipping, it is impossible not to smile when skipping!

Remember to consider diversity in your shots; age, culture, hair colour and height. If you are struggling for numbers, it is worth contacting friends and family to avoid costly modelling agencies. Pupils are usually overwhelmed with the thought of being on the School website or missing Maths for the afternoon!

On the day
There are bound to be unexpected events on the day such as unfortunate weather but meticulous planning and initiative can help overcome problems. Take plenty of water and snacks to keep the teams’ energy up. It can be really useful to pack a hairbrush, hair clips, safety pins, baby wipes or a towel. That way a shoe can be cleaned, hair can be tamed or clothing can be protected from perching on an outdoor surface. If the image will be used for newspaper advertisements or Facebook banners, ensure you capture shots with suitable space for text. Study the location and envisage how this would look and direct with this in mind.

Organisation is key for a photo shoot to guarantee the most efficient and productive use of time. Carefully plan each detail beforehand and have contingencies in place if the worst happens – talent becomes sick or it starts to rain. Review the images as the day progresses and don’t be shy to supply feedback and direction to the talent and photographer to ensure your photo shoot is successful, and the images are valuable for your school’s marketing.


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