What Is a School Photographer?

What Is a School Photographer?

If you are thinking about having a career as a photographer it may have crossed your mind that you might like to become a school photographer. But just what is a school photographer? And what do they do?  It might surprise you to learn they do more than you would expect.

A school photographer is a portrait photographer that specializes in photographing school children of varying ages usually at their school. In addition, there are other types of photography that a school photographer may undertake. Below I explain my research on school photography in more detail.

At first, being a school photographer and may seem repetitive in that you are photographing lots and lots of children, on the other hand, it can be quite exciting and varied because you are not limited to one school. For the most part and you will be traveling around the country. This requires a certain type of personality and mindset as you are not be overseen by a boss.

What Is a School Photographer?

I read somewhere recently that’s school photography started as a necessity for recording images of the school children. I don’t know how true that is but it makes sense. Since that time having your photo taken at school has been become a  yearly tradition to mark the passing of time of a school child’s life.

In the old days, the photographer set up and rushed through the photos at great speed. Often these photos were less than flattering.

While that is still often the case these days there are greater expectations of the school photographer. Where is in the past school photography was something a photographer did to earn their bread and butter while undertaking more desirable work these days school photography is a passion and a career in its own right.

Employers expect more of the school photographer these days than they did in the past. Now simply rather than being a means to an end churning out bland photos the best expected.

Employers request that the photographer have the right attributes for the job. These include a certain level of fitness so that they can carry the equipment, a good positive attitude and a willingness to learn. An enjoyment and love of working with people and especially of children are essential.

At the school, the photographer will have to interact all day with different age groups of children. This means a good ability to be able to communicate with them to get the best from them.

In addition to this, of course, you will need a high-quality & high standard of portrait photography skills. And while a school photographer is not necessarily required to have a degree in photography a good thorough technical grounding is essential.

Additional Requirements of Duties of a School Photographer

Addition to the traditional school photography of creating a yearly record of all the children in the school for the parents to buy the school photographer may now have other duties.

This has been the case longer in the USA than it has in the UK. However, the school photographer may now be required to take pictures of prom night.

High school graduation day or university graduation will also need photographers present.

In addition to this, a school photographer may be required to take pictures of other events such as sports events or spelling bees, etc.

What a School Photographer Does After the Shoot

There’s much more to becoming a school photographer than simply photographing children. Although that is a large part of it. You have to have lots of different skill sets and attributes that come into play. In addition, you also need to demonstrate office and IT skills as well as your photography skills.

Specialist Areas for School Photographers

Pre Schoolers Portrait Photography

Some portrait photographers prefer preschoolers from 6 months up to 6 years old. This requires a different skill set than working with older children. As younger children are less compliant than older ones and it is harder to keep them occupied.

You require different skill sets for working with the younger age group of children.

Often rather than doing a formal photo preschool school photographers will do a more natural photograph in a more natural environment this can even be outside.

General School Photography

This is the school photography that most people know about and you probably remember from your own childhood. This is where you go and sit in and have your portrait taken on a usual yearly basis so that you have one per year as you grow through your school life.

School Sports Photography

Some schools may require you to do school sports photography this includes photographing sports events and championships, etc

This, of course, requires a different skill set than your standard general school photography as you will be taking outside action shots of the moment rather than still studio shots that are easier to control.

Where Do You Go From Here?

If this sounds like something that you might be interested in then  You need to know what skill sets and qualifications you need and what the job entails.

You also need to decide whether you would be happy to work on your own as a self-employed entrepreneur, as a freelancer, or as an employee working for a large photography company and what the disadvantages and advantages are of each option.

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