Tips + Techniques

Fine Art School Portraits: Get Started Today!

April 18, 2024

By Elena S Blair

In my fourteen years of growing my custom portraiture business, one venture stands out as exceptionally beneficial: the launch of my Fine Art School Portrait service. Providing Fine Art School Portraits for select Seattle area schools not only brings in significant profits, but it also keeps my portrait bookings steady and eliminates slow seasons.

Having photographed thousands of children ranging from daycare/preschools to high school age, I’ve refined a model that works seamlessly for all age groups and school sizes. To share my expertise, I’ve educated hundreds of photographers in the industry through my in-person and online workshop, Schooled, aiming to see fellow photographers thrive in this niche.

My goal with Fine Art School Portraits is to provide a superior experience for families while capturing the true essence of each child’s personality. I achieve genuine expressions by allowing children to be themselves and using techniques like engaging questions and light-hearted interactions to bring out natural expressions.

© Elena S Blair

Tips for Working with Children on School Photo Day


1. Engage with Curiosity

For younger children, spark their curiosity by asking questions or inviting them to explore the camera lens. Phrases like “Can you see the rainbow in my lens?” often elicit genuine, inquisitive expressions.

2. Embrace Playfulness

With little ones, don’t hesitate to get silly! Play peek-a-boo behind the camera or make funny noises to help them relax and show their true selves.

3. Foster Connection

When working with teens, aim to establish a rapport by treating them as equals. Engage in casual conversation, share a joke, or ask about their interests to create a comfortable environment for authentic expressions to shine through.

4. Empower Expression

Allow children the freedom to express themselves naturally. Rather than insisting on smiles, encourage them to showcase their genuine emotions, whether it’s a thoughtful gaze or a radiant grin.

© Elena S Blair

How to Approach Schools about Fine Art School Portraits


Approaching schools to pitch your services requires careful planning and preparation. Here’s a breakdown of key considerations.

1. Portfolio Presentation

Curate a diverse portfolio showcasing your ability to capture children of all ages and personalities. Highlight your unique style and creative vision to stand out in a competitive market.

2. Transparent Pricing

Present your packages and pricing in a clear and concise manner. Ensure that schools have a comprehensive understanding of your offerings and services. 

3. Detailed Process Outline

Provide schools with a thorough overview of your photography process, including scheduling, session logistics, and delivery timelines. Clear communication instills confidence and fosters trust in your professionalism.

Offering Fine Art School Portraits presents an exciting opportunity to expand your photography business while creating lasting memories for families and children. By implementing these tips and strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your school photography journey with confidence and success.

[Read: Tips for Taking Great Candid Photos of Kids by Elena S Blair]

Elena S Blair is an award-winning Lifestyle Family and Newborn photographer and a photography educator who frequently teaches at WPPI. Her new course, Schooled, teaches how to create Fine Art School Portraits in a way that will change your mind about what a school portrait can be. Follow her on Instagram.

Family Lifestyle Photography by Elena Blair

Newborn and Maternity Lifestyle Photography by Elena Blair

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