How To Take Amazing School Portrait Photography

Here are some pointers on how to photograph school portraits.

Get creative!

Think of ways you can use your pictures for different purposes: to be remembered forever, to be cherished as keepsakes and to help motivate your child. Some ideas include writing messages to them in a picture book, taking photographs of them in the classroom and in their family environment, creating a collage of photos of your child in their younger years and displaying them in a scrapbook.

The key is to be creative. Try using a variety of props and techniques to show the individuality of each child.

Choose the right background

A background should complement your subject. It should have a soft, natural look and reflect the time and place you are shooting. When you choose a backdrop, keep the following in mind:

Time of day:

  • When you photograph your child, think about the weather and whether they are wearing light or heavy clothing. You may need to use flash to brighten your subject’s features or use a large aperture (f2.8) to blur the background. This will reduce the amount of light reflected back to your camera.


  • Look at the colours around you. A green background might suit your subject better than a white one. Consider adding props such as flowers or balloons to make your photo stand out.


  • Think about where you are going to shoot your portraits. Is it a nice park, with trees and sunshine? Would you prefer a busy street with lots of traffic? A cityscape with lots of buildings?

Find the best spot

Choose the spot you want to photograph your child, then find a comfortable position, remove any clutter and move the child’s clothes away from their body.

When you’re photographing a group of children, ensure they are facing towards the same direction.

Ask permission

If you are photographing a group of children, ask the children’s parents first, so you can explain to them what you want to do and why.

Take care

Don’t wear a uniform to school. Choose plain or brightly coloured clothing, especially if you are photographing a group of children. Wear clothes that fit well.

Be professional

Put your camera and lenses away before entering the school. Make sure you turn it off and put it in its case, as you want it to be available to take photos when you need it.

Make it quick

Shoot quickly, as children move around a lot.

Take your time

You may want to take three to five shots of each child.

Avoiding the red-eye

Red eyes are caused by the pupil contracting and the resulting reflection of light coming from the retina. The pupil contracts when a person blinks and, for the briefest moment, the iris closes and the eyeball appears red.

Children often have red-eye. To avoid this, wait until you have the shot, then close the eye completely, hold your finger on the shutter button and, in a smooth, continuous motion, push the button down as soon as you see the subject’s eyes. The shutter will open, you will capture the image, and the pupil will contract, leaving the eyes bright. If you use a flash, it won’t work.

Don’t let them be the focus

Always make the children and the setting the main focus.

Don’t forget to have fun

School Children will enjoy seeing the photos of themselves as a child.