Child-focused school portraits, Somerset
Natural school portraits with a sprinkling of fun
When you hear the words 'school portrait', what springs to mind? All too often it's stiff poses, ubiquitous backdrops and awkward smiles. But there's a better way. By taking children into the natural setting of the school grounds, I capture images that are relaxed, timeless and real.
My approach is nurturing and fun. I treat children with respect, and take time to put them at ease. This creates authentic portraits that are popular with parents and complement the ethos of your school.
I’m a mum to young children myself, and an experienced family photographer. This gives me the instincts and experience to engage with children effectively, and to work with patience, understanding and good humour.
Here are some of the other benefits of booking me as your school photographer:
A bespoke shoot. Before I pick up my camera, I take the time to learn about your school. I find out about its culture, ethos and timetable, and we plan the photographs in a way that works for you.
Personal service. I work with a limited number of schools. This enables me to deliver a professional and personal service, building good relationships with both staff and children.
Minimal input from school staff. I tailor my approach to make life as easy as possible for school staff.
Data protection. I take great care with the information I hold. Encrypted online photo storage and password-protected galleries mean that every child’s data is secure.
No sales admin. Once a shoot has taken place, parents and families deal with me direct. Images are purchased via my online ordering service – so there is no need for school administrators to collect order forms or payments.
Wide choice of images. I aim to capture multiple portraits of each child – providing parents with a variety of images from which to choose.
Quality. I offer high-quality prints and digital images at competitive school photography rates.
Straightforward pricing. My price list is simple and accessible, so parents can choose what is right for them. If parents wish to purchase multiple images, discounted rates apply.
Data linking. If required, I can link portraits with pupil ID numbers – enabling each child’s image to be tied to the rest of their data.
A 'thank you'. I offer schools commission on profits, or alternatively my time to carry out photography for the school. This could be used to create images for school publicity, or to photograph events such as nativity plays and sports day.
How I work
Before the shoot
The first step is to get to know each other. I'll find out about your school's values, timetable and routines, and explore the grounds to identify good spots for photos. Then we arrange the shoot in a way that works for your staff and pupils. We'll work out all of the logistics in advance - helping to ensure that photo day runs smoothly.
With the shoot arranged, I provide a letter template for you to send to parents. This confirms the arrangements for photo day, and explains the image-ordering process.
Depending on the size of your school, the shoot may take place over one or two days (usually finishing before or just after lunchtime on each day).
The exact nature of the photographs I take will depend on the requirements of your school, and the time available. As a minimum, I aim to take five different shots of each child using different angles and compositions. But if time allows, I can also shoot against different backgrounds, or include more candid shots.
At the end of photo day, each child takes home a slip containing a unique access code and a link to my ordering system. Parents can register their details, to be notified when the photos are ready.
After the shoot
Once the photo shoot is complete, I select and edit the best photographs of each child and sibling group and upload them to a private online gallery. Each parent can then access the images of their children, and choose the images and products they would like to purchase. If parents have more than one child at the same school, they can view all of their children's images together and take advantage of package discounts.
Parents place their orders online and send any enquiries straight to me - removing this task from school administrators. Digital images are downloadable upon payment, and print orders can be sent in a batch to school.
If required, I provide a spreadsheet linking a portrait of each child with their pupil ID number - enabling each child's portrait to be linked to the rest of their data on your school's management information system.
I couldn't have been happier with the service we received from Sarah Gibson Photography. Sarah took care of everything and the whole experience was positive from start to finish. The photographs were just what we were looking for as a school, and really captured the children's true characters. We were delighted to be able to use our natural surroundings and utilise the school grounds, and truly believe that this contributed to the impressive outcomes. The children were happy and relaxed, and this shone through in the photographs. We have had nothing but positive parental feedback. If you are looking for a fresh approach to school photography you won't be disappointed.
- Ali Collins, Headteacher, Neroche Primary School
Sarah is a fantastic school photographer. She is flexible, easy to work with and she takes time to provide all parents with a lasting memory of their child. Her photographs are always of a high quality and she understands how to capture the innocence of childhood with her portraits and sibling photographs. Sarah has a great rapport with both staff and pupils and helps them to relax in front of the camera so she can take a variety of natural shots. She provides our School and Pre-School with an excellent service and is totally professional in her approach. In short, I cannot recommend Sarah highly enough as a photographer. She is a pleasure to work with.
- Shan Weston, Headteacher, South Petherton CofE Infants and Pre-School
Sarah has been our school photographer for over a year, taking both marketing images and school portraits. Her style is relaxed and informal which is what we were looking for. Sarah utilises our school environments to great effect, resulting in striking pupil portraits and a great bank of professional photos to promote our school.
I can recommend Sarah's services without reservation.
- Connel Boyle, Headteacher, St Mary & St Peter's Church School and Shepton Beauchamp Church School
After having the same school photography company for over 10 years here at Neroche, we were a little apprehensive about how the parents would cope with the change. However, Sarah came in like a breath of fresh air! We had no need to worry at all. Sarah is such a warm and lovely person who really took the time to listen to what our parents wanted from school photos, and she developed her packages to suit the different requests. The way that Sarah has set up the ordering system for parents is fantastic and so easy to use. She has everything under control, thus taking the admin side of it away from our staff, which really helps! The photos were a huge success and the parents loved them. We cannot recommend her service enough. Thank you, Sarah!
- School Administrator, Neroche Primary School
Family and friends have loved this year’s school photographs. The children look relaxed, happy and at ease. Along with the natural soft colours in the background, your photos are very welcome in replacing the conventional stiffly posed, uncomfortable photos we are usually offered. Thank you Sarah.
- Year 1 and Year 3 parent
For a few years now there has been one company doing the school photos, which have been fine. But this year Sarah took our school photos and they are on a different level! I loved every single picture. My son looks so relaxed and comfortable, I ordered the whole lot! Thank you Sarah, you’re amazing.
- Year 6 parent
Sarah is such a talented and creative photographer. For the first time ever, my daughter actually enjoyed having her school portrait taken! Sarah put her completely at ease, and she looks happy and relaxed in every shot. It was also wonderful to have such a variety of images to choose from. Thank you Sarah, we will will treasure our photos forever!
- Year 4 parent
When’s the best time for a newborn shoot?If it’s sleepy, snuggly newborn photos that you’d like, the best time to capture these is between 7 and 14 days old. This is also the best age to photograph the tiny details, like eyelashes, lips and toes. But, given my approach to newborn photography, I place no limit on the baby’s age.
When should I book my newborn shoot?I only schedule a maximum of two due dates per week, to ensure that I can accommodate babies around their actual delivery dates. So, I’d recommend booking your shoot after your 20-week scan. This also allows time for us to meet in advance, and for me to familiarise myself with your home.
How should I prepare for my shoot?A couple of weeks before your shoot, I’ll send you a digital guide on how to get ready for it. This will include advice on outfits, preparing your home, and readying your baby for the session.
Why will my newborn shoot take place in my home?The benefits of an at-home newborn shoot are numerous. From a practical perspective, it saves you the challenge of leaving the house. You can also ensure that your house is warm enough for any unclothed shots that you may like of your baby. Then there’s the advantage of having toys at hand for young siblings, and snacks and refreshments for anyone who wants them. And, if your baby needs changing or feeding, everything you need will be right there. At-home shoots are also much more relaxed, which helps me to capture more natural shots of your family’s interactions.
Do I need to tidy my house for the shoot?I’ll usually only use one or two rooms (often the master bedroom and living room), so you certainly won’t need to clean the house from top to bottom. Where possible, I’ll carry out a pre-shoot consultation at your house. Among other things, this will give me a chance to get a feel for the layout of your house, and where the light falls. That way, you should know in advance which rooms I’m likely to use on the day.
How long will my shoot take?Usually, newborn shoots take around two hours. This allows time to feed and settle your baby, change their outfit as required, and drink as many cups of tea as you’d like! It’s important to me that your shoot feels relaxed and unrushed. That’s why we’ll be led by your baby, without clock-watching.
What time of day will my shoot take place?In my experience, mid-morning is the ideal time to carry out a newborn shoot. Babies are often most settled at this time of day, and it allows time for everyone to have breakfast beforehand. Usually, we’ll finish in time for lunch, and you can have the rest of the day to yourselves. If, when your baby arrives, it would suit you to have the shoot at a different time of day, that’s no problem. Yours will be the only session of the day, so we can move it around as necessary - subject to the availability of natural light.
Which areas do you cover?My photo shoots usually take place in Somerset, Devon and West Dorset. I’m happy to travel further, though – I simply charge mileage at 45p a mile for shoots beyond a 30-mile radius of Ilminster.