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School Photo Day

I was recently asked to do the school photos for the graduating class at the La Jolla Children’s School
in, where else, La Jolla. I’m their unofficial artist in residence and go to photographer. At first, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the thought doing the school photography. Visions of crappy backdrops, cheap combs and bored expressions left me inclined to pass on the opportunity.

But then I got to thinking, what if I made this an assignment for the kids in that the photo should tell something about who they are? I stuck with the idea of the backdrop, but decided to take it down to nearby La Jolla Shores beach. Instead of just cropping in on the seamless paper, I captured some of the background to give the shots a sense of place. I used a strobe to provide the soft light on their face.

And finally one with the whole class. I only wish my school photos were this cool.


16 Responses to “School Photo Day”

  1. Vitaliy Says:

    I love these photos! What a cool idea for the shoot!

  2. Tony Bisson Says:

    Only nine kids?

  3. rebecca-linh rodgers Says:

    those are the best school photos ever.
    amazing idea.

  4. Eddie Bojorquez (Studio 512) Says:

    So cool, John. I wish you’d been around during my school days. That first guy is a man after my own heart. : )

  5. erin kate Says:


  6. Ryel j Says:

    You just stepped up the cool factor for these kids. Killer session!

  7. Megan Says:

    You truly captured the essence of each child! Unbelievable pictures so far, knowing this is just a peek!
    *The Sixth Grade Teacher

  8. Nathan Sawatzky Says:

    John, I just bought the Lookbook, from your tool-kit site….yet another “why didn’t I think of that” moment! I had the notion to do this using images that I saw all the time from other photographers, but this looks SO revolutionary. You just created a product that is going to become the addition to thousands of photographer’s camera-bags world-wide. Congrats! Your lookbook will totally save me in those moments when frankly I’m tired and the couple is more “challenging” to work with. Thank-you so much…sheesh, I haven’t even got the thing yet! I’m sure it will be great! Great images BTW!

  9. Donna M Condida Says:

    Wonderful….love the photos!

  10. Araxi Says:

    These are BRILLIANT!! These are so cool and far from the brown and blue backdrops from my school pictures (which oddly enough are still used for my sons pictures over 20 years later!) You are truly an artist.

  11. Carlos Says:

    I love this idea and the kids are having a blast.

  12. Paulo Jordao Says:

    Great Idea… The photos look great.
    One day I will try that. Thanks
    Paulo Jorda

  13. jen Says:

    b r i l l i a n t ….wow!

  14. Busta Says:

    Great idea.. even better execution.. Im sure you could shot this stuff all day, huh…

  15. Jeanette K Says:

    ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!?? THESE ARE AMAZING! I absolutely ADORE this idea. This has such an old school (no pun intended) feel to them, yet the idea is so fresh! I LOVE it! Wow. I could learn a TON hanging out with you one day! Brilliant


  16. Jason Says:

    Great approach to what could have been the same old, same old. Wish I was one of the students there!

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