School Pictures With a Twist

Remember school picture day? You’d get all dressed up with your hair just right, and spend all morning hoping your cowlick behaved. Your class would be shuffled down to the auditorium or gym, and one by one you’d be ushered onto a stool, then quick smile, click, and done. A few weeks later the picture packages would arrive and everyone would huddle over their prints. The lucky few would proudly display their big grins, others would sheepishly downplay the awkward results.

The school portrait industry has evolved since then. Now there are green screens, digital proofing services, and fancier lighting. Those changes are great, but the basic ‘assembly line’ setup has been left intact. Time to shake things up!

Making a great portrait requires more than a few seconds with the subject. So I’ve been working on a twist of the traditional school model: I decided to bring on location portraiture to the whole school. Traditional school pictures are like fast food: quick and efficient. Not the best, but fine in a pinch. With just a small additional investment of time and care, we can do so much better for our kids. I suppose in the fast food analogy, my approach is like the carefully packed lunch, made with love, attentive to individual preferences. And like the perfect packed lunch, it can be pretty simple but feel like a gourmet meal — because it was made just for you.

I spent a few days at a Lake Forest preschool making outdoor lifestyle portraits of over 100 children! It was truly exhausting, but so much fun! Just 10 minutes with each child allowed me to capture a range of expressions. With kids, it's never really small talk — it's more like making 100 new friends. My knowledge of Disney heroes and princesses has never served me so well.

Enjoy this short slideshow and if you'd like me visit your child's school, drop me a note!