Schools, Colleges and University Photography


Schools, Colleges and University Photography

Choosing the right school for your child is such an important moment, and since most parents are busy people, many of them research schools online or send for a prospectus to help them draw up a shortlist of places to view.


In my 25 years' experience of marketing, PR, industrial and commercial photography across the North of England, I'm comfortable photographing a range of subjects in any environment, and working in schools, colleges and universities are particularly rewarding.

I aim to create pictures that give people a feel for a place and what life is like for its students, and hopefully encourage them to visit and see for themselves.


I'm a parent myself so I know that people want to check whether the school is a safe and supportive place where their child can enjoy school life as well as do well academically. It's important for the pictures to give people an insight not just the facilities, but the whole ethos and approach.


I might do a little bit of staging, for instance if a school needs some white background portrait shots of staff, but in the main I aim to capture fresh, spontaneous pictures using natural light. My school photography kit usually includes a couple of camera bodies (I always carry a spare for emergencies), two or three of the best lenses for the job, a light deflector and a remote flash.

The best pictures are created when people are relaxed and have forgotten all about me and my camera, so whether I'm doing photography for a primary school with small children or a college full of teenagers, I build in some time to every shoot to take a look round and assess the picture opportunities while everyone gets used to me being around.

I also use that time to see where there might be any sensitive issues, such as consent, children with special needs, or any information that needs to be out of shot, for instance if it's written on whiteboards. Sensitivity to the situation is key, particularly when I'm working for clients such as fostering organisations.

Marketing teams have to make sure that every shot earns its keep, so I usually create a mix of landscape and portrait images, with plenty of space for text to be laid over the images if necessary. I also provide all the pictures in large format, so they can be used on everything from a prospectus or a poster through to a website or social media page.


The pictures you see here are taken from a few of the schools I've recently worked with, including Northwood Primary School in Darlington, Stretford High School in Manchester, Bishop Monkton Church of England Primary School, Thornhill Park in Sunderland, and Southbank Primary School in Middlesbrough.

The pictures are all typical of a Dave Charnley Photography specialist schools photography session, and I hope they really show the education environment off to its best, reflecting its facilities and its atmosphere, and give people a glimpse of life there.