darkly lit image of a camera lens pointing directly at the viewer, with hands in shot as a header image for the blog post about how to plan a photography shoot

How to plan a photography shoot

Having great photography is a vital part of any schools marketing. Engaging shots are needed for use on school websites and prospectuses. Great shots give prospective parents an idea of what life is like at your school. So what is the best way to plan a photography shoot?

Well, some schools choose to take the photographs themselves. However this can be very time consuming to say the least. In addition, the end result is sometimes not ideal, with shots often ending up very dark or out of focus. If you choose to let the professionals in, then this is an overview of the process.

Booking in the Photography Shoot

We offer either a full day shoot, which is up to 7 hours. A full day is usually required if you have a full website to populate for example. Alternatively, we can book in a half day shoot which provides up to 3.5 hours shooting time. A half day shoot can be useful if you simply need to freshen up your images or if you have a very small school such as a PRU.

Finding the right day

We advise picking a date when having the photographer in school will not disrupt any other important events in school. So avoid any exams or sports day as a couple of examples.

Often, we can pencil in a number of possible shooting days, because good weather is very important if you wish to capture outdoor shots. We then keep an eye on the weather forecast and settle on the best day possible. This is usually decided the week before. Hopefully we will be rewarded with wonderful blue skies!

Example of Hive's photography with an image of blue skies above a school building

Naturally we also need to avoid any events which are very seasonal such as Christmas. As this would mean the images wouldn’t work as well for you, year round.

Parental Consent

As it is vital that as many pupils as possible have permission to be photographed. We suggest it is a good idea to seek permission for children to be photographed ahead of the shoot. Sometimes pupils simply do not have permission to be photographed due to an over-site. Sending a new request to parents and guardians will help ensure you are able to use images of as many pupils as possible.

Another handy planning tip is to give all pupils who can’t be photographed a sticker. This way, the photographer can avoid photographing them as they capture any reportage images around school. Also when we are reviewing the images after the shoot, if any of the children have snuck into shot, we can easily disregard those images. If this is not possible, then it is best to ensure that staff are aware of any pupils who can not be photographed. Staff can then make the photographer aware and also ensure they do not select them to be photographed.

How to plan a photography Shoot

Pre-shoot, it is important to get all staff on board with the requirements. The photographer is likely to need to go into their classroom and will disrupt the lesson, but only for a very short while. If staff are prepared for this and know how important the shoot is, then this will enable us to get the best out of the time with their class. Allowing us to capture some really great shots. Then we can be in and out of the class as quickly as possible with minimum fuss.

If you want to get the most out of the day, you can also plan key activities you wish to capture. This could include ensuring an interesting PE activity is taking place. Alternatively, you could plan for one class to have a music lesson and another to be working on an art project, this way you can ensure we will capture a breadth of curriculum in your images.

Example of Hive's photography with an image of a boy using a computer in a music lesson

But don’t worry if you don’t have time to plan, we will still ensure we capture the best images possible, no matter what is going on at school. After the shoot, we will also provide a contact sheet of images, so if needs be, you can review the images later. We can then delete any images containing children who should not be featured.

On the day

It is always best for us to start early to capture some of the outside spaces before the children arrive. Initially, we will capture images of breakfast club, if you have one. Then we will begin to focus on the pupils interacting with their surroundings and each other, as they arrive at school.

Example of Hive's photography with an image of pupils arriving at school

Once the school day is underway, we will then tour the school and take reportage images and posed shots of pupils in each class. The photographer can also visit any specific classes to capture certain lessons, if you have planned particular activities.

During the day we will also aim to capture shots of outdoor areas and any school facilities.

Example of Hive's photography with an image of brightly coloured wall graphics in a school corridor

We have also captured staff shots, sometimes during the lunch break, if we can set up an area with lighting. This can be the perfect time for staff to then pop in for their photograph.

After the shoot

After a full days of shooting, we will then sort through the hundreds of potential images, picking the very best. These images wil them be colour corrected if required and complied into a contact sheet. This will be sent to you to review.

We will provide a copy of each image to the school for future use. Each will be supplied in high resolution for print purposes and also low resolution for web use.

I hope our article has helped you learn how to plan a photography shoot, if you need any more information or advise on planning your next shoot, please get in touch.