Let the kids sell your school

How “acting natural” can suck the life out of your school prospectus photography.

MyTime Lifestyle Photography Shoot

Even before they hit the age for selfies, kids are naturals on camera – especially when you’re not asking them to stand still and pose.

This week was a perfect example of that. Mytime Active is a national social enterprise with a mission to make people feel amazing. Across the UK the company offers a huge variety of ways to get active. Their lifestyle photography has appeared on these pages before, and this week the focus was children.

I was in a school and children’s centre to shoot kids being, well, kids. Initially there was the usual showing off for the camera, but within minutes other things grabbed their attention, which left me free to capture busy, bustling and brilliantly uninhibited shots of them playing together or exercising with mum. The shots will be used in posters, brochures and online over the coming months.

MyTime Lifestyle Photography Shoot

It’s the sort of commercial lifestyle photography that really doesn’t have to work too hard to get its message across. And that’s the point of this post. Because all too often business manages to do something with its use of children in photography that schools don’t. Business chooses photography that is natural. All too often school prospectuses feature photography that tries to look natural.

There’s nothing more likely to make smiles feel forced than being told to “act natural and look like you’re having fun”. But you know what does look natural? Actually having fun. Or actually playing an instrument, carrying out an experiment, scoring a try or creating art.

MyTime Lifestyle Photography Shoot

So when the time comes for your next school prospectus, take a tip from business. Whether the message you’re trying to convey is fun, camaraderie, growth, inspiration or the school’s ethos, don’t stage it, show it.

If you’d like photography to help create a better school prospectus or website you’ll find me here.

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View some of my corporate photography portfolio
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