About Kent School Photography

Kent School Photography is in the unique position that it is owned and run by an experienced photographer with 8 years of classroom teaching experience. This knowledge of both schools and photography means we provide an unrivalled service to your school and parents, resulting in a hassle free experience to help make photo day as easy as possible…not to mention fun!

Kent School Photography drags school photography into the 21st century using pioneering photo handling technology and online sales software which means zero admin and no stress for you and your office staff. The days of money envelopes mysteriously going missing after being “oh I definitely handed it in” is truly a thing of the past as all sales and enquiries are all online direct to us.

Normally we aim to capture 3 poses from each child but depending on the child this can be more with the average parent having 5 photos to choose from. We have invested heavily over the years and now own our own dry-lab printers producing UK standard size prints so if parents want to place prints into another frame, it’s easy.

Prices. We are very competitive for parents and being a small business, we can pass on these savings directly to your parents. Get in touch for a sample price list.

How Kent School Photography came about

Hello I’m Chris, founder and photographer of Kent School Photography. I left my classroom music-teaching job in 2018 to develop my ever-expanding photography business, which at the time I was running at evenings and weekends, and not sleeping much at all in doing so. Since then I have gone on to photograph many families, landscapes and nearly over 200 weddings. I am proud to now be an award-winning photographer becoming Kent Wedding Photographer of the Year 2022/23.

I am a proud dad of 2 very, very energetic young boys and husband to my wife Madeline, who also helps out with photo orders and bits of admin. Believe it or not there are times when I do miss my teaching days but after a couple of years being out of the classroom, heading back through those gates but with a camera in my hand was probably always going to happen, I just can’t leave it all behind!

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Watching photo day unfold…

Working in various schools, I would see photo day happen and often thought, especially in the days after the visit, there must be a better way of doing this. I always knew that the school photo company would pay a commission to the school as the office staff would have to collect orders, send them off and then pay the photographer the money minus the commission, but this often caused many a cursed word in the staff room (words probably not found in the Collins Rhyming Dictionary). It was a pain, especially when orders went missing or even worse, money!

It wasn’t just seeing the stressful and time-consuming admin side of it; it was the same background and same pose for every child, over and over. A conveyor belt of uniformed children fresh from the production line is the only way to describe it, and a boring one at that with an awkward photographer to boot.

Improving school photography…

I had always thought about doing school photos, it just seemed like a natural progression for me, especially as the last school I taught at asked me to do it, but I turned it down due to having lots of other photo work on at the time.

One of the other reasons I turned down the school’s offer to take their pupil portraits was due to producing proof/order cards. There are loads of companies that offer this but this wasn’t anything new or revolutionary, it was time consuming and that’s not what I was looking for, especailly with a then 2 year-old at home! I soon discovered an online sales platform that instead of using paper order forms used QR code tracking and ordering.

Realising school photos were still stuck in 1993…

The next day I went onto local schools’ websites to dig around in their achieved newsletters. To my shock, written in black and white it said time and time again, “Please ensure all school photograph order forms including the correct money is sent to the school office by the end of next week”. This is how my parents ordered my school photos 30 years ago!

I managed to do a little more digging and found out that more often than not, it was one of the biggest school photography companies in the UK and they were using paper order forms. To be fair, they weren't using the watercolour cloud backgrounds we had as kids but nothing more than a change of a background paper roll. Not only that, they also had a vacancy for school photographers. “No previous experience required as we give you 2-full days of training”. Now I’m sure those 2 days are packed and very informative, they’d need to be, but you can’t teach 'camera-in-hand' experience and the ability to get kids onside. As a wedding photographer, I don’t think I have felt the pressure like the pressure to ‘get that shot’ anywhere else, so working with contingencies and being flexible has just been part of my day to day.

I realised I have and can combine the skills and experience of working with young children in school as well as being a professional photographer. The knowledge of how schools run and seeing first hand what needed to be improved only further whetted my appetite to get back into school again. Amazingly, kentschoolphotography.co.uk was available and 5 minutes later it was mine and Kent School Photography was born.

Fitting into your school day and keeping PPA holy…

My mission is to make photo day at your school fun but as smooth as possible for the staff. My experience of covering weddings means that I have to be organised well before the day; you wouldn’t expect a wedding photographer to do a group photo session without a list of requirements and the same goes for your school.

I can work with you to create a timetable for the day so that both you and I know who will be coming and at what time. Teachers can’t plan lessons if they don’t know what time they are needed and just sending the sensible child from the year before to fetch the next class isn’t good enough anymore. Plus if a teacher misses their PPA time, all hell will be let loose!

A small business with a powerful punch…

I completely understand that if you are reading this, you’re probably on the lookout for a new school or nursery photographer and also nervous about choosing the right company. I would be too if I still worked in a primary school, you just want everything to be easy and hassle free – I used to hate organising coach travel for a school trip, especially after another teacher at school booked a coach that never turned up!

Experience has taught me that schools just want an easy life, there’s far too much other stuff to worry about to then add school photos on top. Here are my top 4 reasons why you should consider Kent School Photography…

  1. All photo sales are online, no cash in the office and no admin. Any parent queries can be forwarded directly to us - there's also a handy contact form within the online shop
  2. I am an ex-class music teacher, I know how to get kids onside and smiling. I single-handedly developed a new music department from quite literally nothing to over a third of pupils learning an instrument at school
  3. Prices for parents. Being a small business our overheads are much smaller meaning we are considerably cheaper than the big nationals - prints start from around £7

    Any finally, and most importantly….

  4. Kent School Photography is more than just a job, it's my passion and I love it. The service and attention to detail I put in is almost impossible to replicate by an employee of a large national company, just ask any small business owner. No problem is too big or small and I will do whatever it takes to ensure you and your parents are more than happy with what I offer

Everyone that visits your school has a DBS certificate and Kent School Photography is fully insured with £5m public liability, professional indemnity and PAT certificates, all available to see if requested. There’s also a risk assessment for the visit so you do not have to fill yet another one of those out.

Have we achieved our L/O? Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

If you’ve got this far, well done! I could talk about Kent School Photography for quite a while but you’re busy working in school. It’s probably best we have a chat either in-person or on the phone about how Kent School Photography can help make your school photo day easier. I am more than happy to come visit you with some samples if you would like to see what is available and more notably, put a voice to these words.

The main points you are probably interested in discussing are…

1.     Online sales: You’re looking to reduce the amount of work office staff are currently doing for school photos or you would like a demo of the online sales platform

2.     Money: It’s not the easiest of things to talk about but being upfront I can send a full product price list which includes prints and gifts, such as keyrings and fridge magnets.

I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to read this and I hope that soon, I can make a difference to your photo day. If you have any questions then I’d love to hear from you, so get in touch today on 01227 507859, or email info@kentschoolphotography.co.uk. Alternatively, just head over to the Contact page and fill the online form out and I will get back to you as fast as I can.

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Founder and Photographer of Kent School Photography

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Kent School Photography based in Kent, UK. School Photographer for all of the South East including Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey