Good photography is crucial for school websites and other communications, but having worked with several schools on website projects, a common mistake I see is for the schools to think that any kind of photographs will work, so long as they include children.
Often there’s a big difference between what the images shows, and what the image says. It might show some students having fun on a project, but if it’s a poor quality image what it might actually say is more cluttered and confusing.
People are bombarded by mediocre images all the time, but the rarer good images still make an impact. The day in the life project (the link goes to my other site) I shot at Gentle Nudge preschool shows this well.
So when Rio Grande School in Santa Fe asked me to take some photographs for a mailer advertising a 7th Grade options evening, I was pleased to help. Even something as apparently simple as a postcard can communicate quality and trustworthiness if it’s done correctly, and communicate lack of care if it’s not.
The brief was to show some of the older children at work at Rio Grande (an elementary school), as these would be the kids whose futures would be explored at the meeting. The room where I was shooting was pretty dark and a little cramped, but I was pleased to deliver some high-quality shots, including the one the school and designer selected for the card that shows a couple of the children engaged and committed in their learning.
The visual busyness in the background is downplayed by being out of focus, and the composition highlights the girl, who has attractive catchlights (the white twinkles) in her eyes. She’s placed to the right of the frame to give her eyes some room to look into, and the papers she’s holding give some balance to the framing.
The boy in the shot helps fill the middle ground, and the focus of his attention underlines the girl’s – they’re both looking in the same direction.
It would have been easy to take some bad images in this tight space (and believe me, I did), but I think this one works well, and does a good job on the finished card.
If you’re interested in photography for your organization, I’d love to talk to you.