Modern School Portraiture: Changing the face of school portraits


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Oh man; do you guys remember school photo day?! I have very vivid memories of being like, 10 years old and sitting on that little stool, while some dude told me to put my feet on the “x” and tilt my head to the left, lean my shoulder down, chin up just a bit, and SMILE! School portraits have come a long way since then (for the lucky ones!), and this episode will explore the world of school portrait photography! There’s nobody better to have on to discuss this than Natalie Chiles, who is ROCKING the school portrait niche in San Diego! She discusses how she built her business around school photography, as well as some tips & tricks for our listeners who might be interested in diving into school photography!

Key Takeaways

  1. Modern School Portraiture: In a lot of areas, San Diego included, there’s a bit of a monopoly on school photography. We still do have the big company that goes from school to school with their little stool & their 1-2 photos of each kid. However, preschools and private schools don’t have to buy into this company! Natalie aims for private meetings with school administrators, where she discusses modern school portraiture, and how it differs from typical school portraits. She brings sample photos and talks about her process, and once they see her work, it’s easy for the administrators to see how she’s different and why they should go with her instead of the other guys!
  2. Be personal & take your time!! This is the difference between modern school portraiture and regular school portraits. Natalie aims to spend 2-3 minutes with each kid. She focuses completely on them, and chit chats with them to relate to them, get them to open up, and make them comfortable. Her goal is to get 5 different expressions to present to the parents, which differs greatly from a lot of the other companies who usually just pick the “best shot” and send it to the parents.
  3. Bring an assistant. School portrait day is a LOT of work. Sometimes there are hundreds of kids, so staying organized is KEY. Otherwise, there’s a huge risk of mislabeling photos which makes for a huge mess when you’re trying to deliver the right galleries to the right parents! Assistants can help with all that, as well as help get kids to smile, relax, and be comfortable in front of the camera.

There are SO many more awesome points to hear on the episode. This is such a cool niche of photography that hasn’t really been oversaturated yet! Please be sure to download off iTunes, or you can listen below!!

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