Guidelines for taking at-home student portraits

Since early spring 2020, schools have responded creatively to the effects COVID-19 has had on life and schooling. These responses include continuing a yearbook despite performances, sports and other school activities being on hold, or not operating as normal. With everything communities nationwide have seen in 2020, having a yearbook to remember it all has become more important than ever. Because, even though distance learning may keep us apart, the yearbook keeps us together.

One large problem that schools are facing as they return this fall, is how to collect updated photos of students and staff for use on IDs, in student information systems and in the yearbook. Some schools may decide to forego the traditional, professional school photographer this year and opt for a DIY solution. To help with that choice, below are some guidelines for taking good portrait photos, whether someone at the school is tapping the shutter button or someone at home is. Use these guidelines when requesting photos from students and staff.

Take the photo with the cell phone’s camera, or any camera, following these guidelines:

1. Photo must show the head and shoulders. Think passport or driver’s license style.

2. The head must face the camera directly with the full face in view, centered in the frame. No side profile selfies.

3. The photo must be of the student or staff member and no one else. No photo-bombing or group selfies.

4. Remove sunglasses, hats and anything else that obstructs the view of the face.

5. Use a plain white, off-white or light blue background.

6. Submit a plain color image. No black-and-white or filtered photos.

7. No backlit lighting from windows or lights. Take photo in well-lit space.

8. No hand signs or gestures.

9. Make sure hair is groomed and not covering face.

10. Take the picture as a vertical image. No square or horizontal photos.

11. Do not use copyrighted photos for submission.

12. Name picture file with grade, last name and first name. Example: 09_Doe_Jane.jpg

*Paid professional model and photographer were used in the creation of the above photos.