Grow Your Portrait Business By Becoming A School Photographer

Aug 01, 2023

If you’re a portrait photographer looking to diversify your offerings and boost revenue, adding school pictures alongside the other genres you photograph can change your business. While school photography may conjure up thoughts of cheesy smiles and dated backdrops, it CAN be far from that, and creates an incredible opportunity for growth!

So if you’ve ever wondered if ‘school pictures are for you’ on!


🍎 Reach Your ‘Ideal’ Client

This WAS my ‘why’ when I first started school photography - the opportunity to reach so many families via their little people in the school setting is how it all began.  As a child & family portrait photographer, my goal was to market to families in any way possible…and what better way than with photos of THEIR OWN children?

Targeting schools where my ideal demographic was parents, was my goal, little did I know it would be an incredibly profitable genre of its own!

Not only did I reach the parents of the children I was photographing, but those Moms and Dads were so eager to show their children’s photos to their friends with an enthusiastic “Can you believe these are school pictures?” that there was additional word-of-mouth marketing I didn’t expect!


🍎 Build Long-term Relationships

Watching the children grow and change at school is a joy in and of itself.  From year to year they get taller, (think my jokes are less funny), and are often eager to share with me exciting things about Halloween costumes, soccer goals, birthday parties, and more. (It’s amazing what a kid can tell you in a couple of minutes while being photographed!)

MANY of their families (described above) have become long-time clients - all stemming from photographing their child at school!  I photograph these families for seasonal holiday mini sessions for family signature sessions, special studio events (like Santa, or Mother’s Day), corporate headshots, or all of these.  Over the past few years, these clients have booked senior portrait sessions for a number of the children I first saw at preschool!  (Yeah, that’ll get ya 🥹)


🍎 Showcase Your Creativity

School photography doesn't have to be BORING!  You can bring your creative style and vision to all that you photograph - including children in the school setting!  I actually encourage this, because as a boutique photographer, showcasing your style in mini-mini-mini sessions at school (which is the way I think of them), you’re set up for success as you market to and transition the children’s families to portrait clients!

You can absolutely use the same style, posing, backgrounds, lighting, and other techniques that set your work apart - AT SCHOOL!


🍎 Host Mini-Sessions & Events

Organize themed mini-sessions or events that cater to the age group(s) of the schools that you photograph!  With grade school and Pre-K kids, the sky’s the limit here: Halloween & costumes, Valentine’s Day, Santa & holiday sessions, Kindergarten graduation and so much more - you have an audience ready to market these unique sessions to.

For older children (& kids of all ages), occasions like “Back-to-School, Prom, Mother’s & Father’s Day, Prom, and more, are all great opportunities to cater to your school pictures clients, beyond ‘picture day.’

Don’t forget Mom & Dad! Do you offer headshots and corporate photography?  Be sure to market to parents for these services - you may book headshots for them AND the teams they work with!  (I don’t love this wording)


🍎 Offering On-line Ordering & Packages That Sell

Putting the right systems in place when you’re photographing children at school is essential! “Volume” photography does rely on a unique workflow, and the most important part of this process is SELLING!  Create great variety in imagery, and showcase your photos on a platform designed to make it easy for parents to view and order.  No more paper proofs, lost checks, or managing orders with envelopes - an online ordering system ensures efficiency, profitability, and most importantly a GREAT experience for your clients! 

School Pictures Can Be A Game Changer

As a portrait photographer, expanding your services to include school pictures can be a strategic move in your business. By tapping into this niche market, you can easily reach your ideal clients, showcase your creativity, and establish long-lasting relationships with families and the community. School photography can be the business-building piece your photography portfolio has been missing.