Working with School Director and Staff

Published on July 12, 2017

Greeting Director and Staff
Remember that your business is all about relationship building.  Interact with the director and staff as much as possible!  Find common ground. Be friendly. Smile. You will want to check in with the school staff when you arrive and also check out with them when you leave for the day.  A simple greeting and ‘see you tomorrow’ with a smile is perfect.
Working with a School Helper
The school should provide you one or two helpers to bring the children to the portrait room.  Some schools that are under DHR regulations may require a teacher to stay with the children at all times.  If this is the case, see if they can provide 2 staff members to assist (This should be discussed when you are coordinating your logistics plan).  One to be with the children and one to run the children back and forth.

Remember the staff member is not your employee; however, if they are willing and kind, they can help the portrait day go very smoothly!

Some things that a school helper can do for you:

  • Comb hair (make sure to use a clean comb on each child)
  • Take shoes off (only if the parents request on report or shoes clearly do not go with their outfit)
  • Put barcode stickers on the children’s backs, or hand you barcodes when they are ready to be photographed
  • If you have them perform any of these tasks, make sure you ask in a very polite voice and say, “Thank You.”
  • Be very careful if they are being too “helpful.”  You do not ever want to offend a teacher, staff or director, but…
    • If they try to take over as the assistant, train them quickly… Hi Teacher… it’s clear to see how well little Katie is responding to you!  Could you please come right here next to me so they will look towards the camera?
    • If you have too many “helpers,” it’s ok to say “Hey everyone… would it be ok for just one of you to try to help?  Billy is looking in so many different directions, maybe if one of you could stand right beside me?”

Parents that show up!
You will have some involved parents.  This is usually a great sign!  They are so interested in their child’s school portrait they have shown up to make sure everything is perfect.  These parents sometimes tend to be overly helpful, but remember that they are your customer!   If they want to be your assistant, train them and let them do it!  If their child is a clinger… you may have a problem.  Some toddlers will do much better if their parents are not there and the teacher brings them.  This is very frustrating, because it takes more of your time…  try to be patient and if you have a clinger fail, you can human couch them… or try to have their teacher bring them back later.

Parents with cell phone cameras.

It’s not a good idea to let the parent go wild taking photos on the set.  If a parent is taking photos behind you, you can just move out of the way and let them take the photos.  Do not continue to pose and have your assistant work with them while being photographed by a parent.   I have found it best just not to say anything, but to stop taking photos until they are finished.  No matter how you ask them to stop, it can sound offensive.  I know that I have ruined several sales by asking parents to stop taking photos.