Back to School

27th February 2015

Two different schools, two very different jobs. Ark Atwood Primary Academy in London and West Hove Infant School in Brighton both needed new photography for their school brochures and my client Words&Pictures commissioned me to do it.

Ark Atwood Primary Academy. Westminster. London. United Kingdom.

W&P attention to detail means I get a very comprehensive brief. Two rather daunting lists of images and a tight schedule to work to. As with any big shoot in an unfamiliar location, a pragmatic and down-to-business approach is best. Creativity comes later after the logistics have been sorted. As with most of my jobs, driving there is the only option due to the equipment I choose to take. The downside is always traffic and parking but worth it for having my mobile studio in the boot.

Children playing violin. West Hove Infant School. Brighton. United Kingdom.

Arriving on site, the first thing I do meet with the staff to go through the brief. By the time I see them, W&P will have had several meetings about today so they will already be aware of what is required. The preparation they’ve put in organising children and lessons makes all the difference to how smoothly the day goes.

Of course not everything can be planned for and some planned shots simply don’t work. This is where my creativity really gets a look in. The schools have so much activity going on that it pays to have a good look around before starting to take the pictures. Though looking around without a camera is a bad idea as the best shots often happen when I’m least expecting to take them.


We gradually work our way through the lists and it is impressive how the teachers manage to control the large classes of children sitting on the floor. I feel like a giant, carefully balancing lights on stands, cameras around my neck. It’s a circus act and the children find it quite funny. I laugh with them but I’m not a natural comedian though being silly seems to work fine. Making them smile and laugh is good and it helps me snap some happy faces.

Ark Atwood Primary Academy. Westminster. London. United Kingdom.

The schools need to show their academic prowess – but still want to show it as fun and games. The trick seems to be to photograph the children animated and busy. Setting them a task always works a treat. The concentration and interaction with their friends and teachers gives me all the chances I’m looking for. Minimal interruption from me, maybe just move a few props or change the background and move a light.

Two successful shoots with very happy clients. Going back to school can be very rewarding.

If you’re interested in my school photography or in any of my other work, please get in touch. Words &Pictures who commissioned the photography would also like to hear from you if you need to publicise your school or business.