Remember how we all had those awkward School Portraits? Every year my mom would buy the full package of 8×10’s, 5×7’s and wallets. Sight unseen NO MATTER WHAT. “It looks like you!”, she’d say when I complained that the photographer had failed to capture my true essence. A photography company came to school and everyone got one shot (maybe two if they thought you blinked). A couple weeks later the cringy “mug shot” arrived and reader, there were some truly cringy ones in my years. I believe this annual roll of the dice factors into multitudes of people who absolutely hate getting their picture taken. Seriously, how do you beat those terrible odds? I had maybe two half way decent School Portraits in a twelve year span. One can start to believe they simply aren’t photogenic based on the cruelness of the high volume school photography business model.
As an independent professional photographer I choose a kinder, gentler approach to school pictures. I spend a minute or two (occasionally five with a real tough cookie) to get a real smile or natural expression. This is time well spent and I feel joy seeing their personalities emerge. There are the shy kids, the class clowns, the kids that want to talk about dinosaurs or princesses, all of them just make my day!
Arvada CO Preschool Portraits
I like to keep it simple with basic (but flattering to all) lighting, a neutral grey backdrop and a few colorful kid-sized chairs. The secret sauce lies in coaxing a natural expression. I do this by asking kid friendly “conversation starter” questions. Often we end up talking about food. This probably says a lot about me and how I’m constantly thinking about what I’m going to eat next, ha ha! Rather quickly we land on the classic faves like mac & cheese or pizza but then might discuss the merits of sushi or eggplant. I am also not opposed to slap stick humor and have a few silly things that make me look ridiculous.
Modern parents utilize their phone cameras to take lots of pictures of their children but a yearly professional portrait can offer a fresh perspective and act as a milestone marker for “this is what you looked like at this age”. So cute!