Choosing the Best Backdrops for School Pictures

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Green Screens, Photography Backdrops, Photography Tips, Portrait Photography

Best Backdrops for School Pictures | Backdrop Express Blog The school pictures business is an area that’s full of misconceptions. Visions of herds of children, boring school photo backdrops and trying to hand out little free combs to each child can dominate the stereotype. However, school portrait photography can be a solid cornerstone of your photography business. It is virtually recession-proof, as schools always need new school pictures taken every year. In large cities, there can be literally hundreds of public grade and high schools in need of your services, as well as many private schools, daycare centers and preschools. It not only is a great way to reach many families, but it can be an amazing way to generate a substantial income.

Setting the Scene with a Green Screen

School portrait backdrops have come a long way since that blue, cloud-like number that was overused for decades. Photography backdrops are becoming more and more unique these days; dark muslins and plain “old master” styles have been decreasing in popularity. The focus has now shifted to the green screen. A green screen makes it easy for the photographer to offer a variety of backdrops to each family and let them choose their favorite, without the extra work of changing out multiple physical backdrops. With a green screen, just about anything is possible (although the photographer might want to narrow down choices so that kids and parents aren’t overwhelmed by too many options.)

Best Backdrops for School Pictures | Backdrop Express Blog

A Break From the Norm

Break from tradition and place kids in front of fun scenic, abstract or sport-themed backdrops, like a Blue Lockers Printed Backdrop. There’s no need to stay in the box when it comes to school photography; both kids and parents will appreciate a backdrop that is unexpected, although you can certainly have a classic muslin or two on hand just in case someone is still attached to that look.

Best Backdrops for School Pictures | Backdrop Express BlogSage/Moss Reversible Muslin Backdrop | Photo by Eldeen Annette Portraiture

Computer printed backdrops are another refreshing, new option. Printed backdrops open the door to just about any scene and make a unique, memorable school backdrop. Themes like patriotic, cityscape, natural wonders, gradient, bookcase, floral and brick wall are popular and contemporary choices.If you’re considering becoming a school portrait photographer, remember these tips:

1. Backdrop Innovation

Try breaking out of the box when it comes to your photo backdrops. You can ease schools into the transition by bringing both a traditional muslin or canvas and a green screen; that way there will be literally something for everybody, and every student (and parent) can be satisfied with the results.

2. Organize, Plan and Don’t Overbook

Decide ahead of time how many schools you can realistically photograph and stick with your plan. Don’t over-book. Create an effective workflow solution for your school photography business.

Best Backdrops for School Pictures | Backdrop Express BlogRed Grunge Printed Backdrop | Photo by Tanya Lee Hervey Photography

3. Pricing

Decide what this work is worth to you and price accordingly. It will be far less than a traditional portrait session per student, but consider it a volume discount and work on being efficient.

4. Individual Attention

You’ll be seeing a lot of kids, but try and treat each child to some focused attention. Get them to laugh and loosen up. Parents tend to buy more when they see their children having a genuinely fun time. If the kids like you, they’ll spread the word.

5. Be Friendly and Pleasant

Treat the staff and teachers as well as you do the students. School photography is as much about customer service as it is your skills as a photographer.

6. Be Unique!

Again, try and break from the mold and stereotype of the school portrait photographer and set yourself apart from your competitors. Use cool backdrops, try different angles and be open to input from the kids.

Best Backdrops for School Pictures | Backdrop Express BlogRed Brick Printed Backdrop | Photo by Ryan Walsh

7. Keep Quality High, But be Efficient

Find the perfect balance between doing great work but moving through each child efficiently; you’ll have hundreds and in some cases thousands of kids to see in a single session.

8. Spread the Word

Use each shoot as a marketing opportunity. Add parents to your mailing list. Include coupons within their school picture order such as a special on a family portrait. Stay in touch with your new clients are make them aware of what you do outside of school portraits.

School photography need not be scary, daunting or boring. It will be what you make it, and using these tips can help you to create an enjoyable, money-making cornerstone of your business for years to come.

Have you taken student portraits for a school? How did you land the job?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in learning more about school pictures ? Check out How to Capture Creative Athlete Portraits!

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