Simple Photography Tricks to Elevate Your School Photos

Blog  »  Style, August 20, 2018, Jacob Stickel (Guest Author)

Sometimes, it’s the little things that count. If you find your photography getting stale, or just want to learn about some simple photography tricks to implement in your next photo shoot, look no further! 

These seven photography tricks will add interest, and help elevate your photos among the portraits that other photographers are churning out. Best of all, you don’t need to break the bank while implementing these tips; all of these techniques require minimal, if any, additional equipment!

1. Incorporate Angles

Shoot high, shoot low! Depending on the tone you are trying to achieve, experiment with taking photos at angles which go beyond the style of typical, face-on portraits. For instance, shooting at a high angle emphasises a subject’s less overbearing and more vulnerable demeanour, ideal for school photographer. Conversely, shooting at a low angle evokes a sense of power and strength from the subject. It’s all about what you, as a photographer, are trying to convey with your photos. Want your photos to appear more candid? Then take some pictures of the children from behind or beside them. Play with angles to add variety and a layer of intrigue to your photos.

2. Get Close

Say more with your photos by showing less. To create more dynamic and interesting pictures, focus on a single body part of the child you are photographing. For instance, if you are photographing a child doing a hands-on activity, let your pictures tell a story by solely capturing the subject’s hands. Focusing on unique characteristics, such as one’s eyes or mouth, also leaves much to one’s own imagination and interpretation. By isolating certain features, you not only create more intriguing pictures, but you leave the interpretation of meaning up to the viewer. This technique can lead to clients becoming more involved and attached to their photos, thus easing the hassle of selling photos.

Thinking of starting out in school photography? Get your headstart with our A-Z of preschool photography.

3. Push Comfort Zones

You want to make children feel comfortable in front of the camera. No doubt about it. That means not making them stare into the sun if you are taking photos outside, or not having them contort their neck in all manners so that you can achieve the “perfect pose.” However, you can push your subjects outside of their comfort zone by trying new photography techniques which they have never experienced during a photo shoot before. The goal is to capture pictures which go beyond the typical head and shoulder shots of a portrait shoot, giving clients a real “wow” factor. The question is, “what do these types of photos look like?” Allow us to provide a few examples:

  • Jumping Shots
  • Silly Face Shots
  • Shots with Friends or Teachers
  • Pondering Shots

By broadening the scope of picture styles you take, you not only give clients a more memorable photography experience, but you also provide further opportunities to sell more photos! Moving the kids outside of their comfort zone, when it comes to getting their photo taken, is an assured way of creating pictures which stand out from the rest. These pictures will have clients clamoring to purchase them, simply because of how unique they are compared to the typical school portraits they have had in the past.

We also highly recommend following these strategies in tandem with these excellent tips on how to capture a child’s genuine portrait. Use them together and you can guarantee fantastic results.

4. Let Objects Get in the Way

Again, following the idea that sometimes showing less says more, obscuring your subject partially with objects is a great way to create intrigue and emphasize the setting of each picture. When you are conducting a photo shoot, briefly scour your setting for trees or doorways that you can use to your advantage; shooting through them as opposed to maneuvering around them. Ensuring that the foreground is blurred, eclipsing part of your everyday objects can bring some interest–and potentially some colour–to even the blandest photo composition.

5. Incorporate Reflections

What is more interesting than one subject? Two of course! The more the merrier, as they say. However, if you can’t manage to round up another subject, or you simply want to keep the focus on one individual, then there are alternatives available. Glass, mirrors, and prisms are all viable options to add interest to your photos. 

Using a prism is the most versatile approach. Not only is it cheap and portable, but you can easily manipulate it and create a wide range of effects simply by adjusting the angle at which you hold the prism. It takes some trial and error, but is easily accomplished by bringing the prism up close to your camera lens and then rotating it until you achieve the desired effect. With a prism, you can go beyond reflections, adding flares and flashes of rainbow to photos to give them an extra “pop!”

If you’re shooting at a location with a wall of glass or some mirrors, these can also be a great way to incorporate reflections. The benefit to these, compared to using a prism, is that the subject is actually able to interact with them. Panes of glass and mirrors allow you to be more creative with how your subject will physically work with the medium. They can rest against it, gaze into their own reflection thoughtfully, or nonchalantly look away as if their reflection isn’t even there. Whatever stylistic choice you make, reflections give you a lot of flexibility to truly make your photos unique.

Keep your photography looking sharp in any scenario with these tips on shooting even the fussiest of kids.

6. Add Some Mist (Or a Lot of It)

Get familiar with the unsuspectingly powerful tool that is… a spray bottle. Though a useful device for watering houseplants, a spray bottle is an easy way for a photographer to add drama to pictures. This technique works twofold, either water can be misted on the camera’s lens, or it can be sprayed around the subject being photographed. Spraying water on the lens will add a misty haze or twinkle to photos, contingent on the setting and amount of light available, applying a stylish atmosphere to otherwise ordinary portraits. Spraying water at, or around, the child can have a similarly impactful effect. Kids may appear to be caught in a storm of dazzling lights, or can be seen enjoying some summer fun, depending on where and when the pictures are taken. The only technical skill involved with this technique is adjusting the aperture to control the size and impact of the bokeh.

7. Shoot A Series

Get pictures out fast, and capture a story through your photos. By using the continuous shooting capabilities of your camera, you can take a series of pictures which present more range and tell a greater message than a single portrait shot could. This is especially true when photographing children, as it is easy to show a sequence of a smile cracking or a giggle erupting! 

The entire point of photography is to capture a moment in time to preserve it for years to come. Utilizing the seven, simple photography tricks we have presented today, you will be able to make your photos more impactful and interesting. Elevate your photos to not only rise above the competition but to also enhance the meaning within each photo you take.

Jacob Stickel