Frequently Asked Questions

Does my school pay to use School Portraits by Lisa?

No way.  Parents pay only for the portraits that they want, the school pays nothing.  There is NO obligation to buy pictures--but families will definitely want them when they see the beautiful school portraits that you commissioned.  

School Portraits by Lisa will provide each of your teachers and the office with a class photo.  If you would like staff photos, I am happy to take those for your school at no charge.

And if your school has a fundraiser, please ask, Portraits by Lisa would be happy to donate a gift certificate!

What kinds of school portrait packages do you offer?

Packages are customizable.  Each package is composed of a certain number of sheets (one sheet=8x10, 2 5x7, 3 4x6, or 8 wallets), allowing parents to design the packages to meet their needs.  Additionally, there are a la carte options for those who want fewer photos.  

Digital files can also be purchased.

If your school would like specialty items such as magnets, keychains, or stickers using school photos, let me know, we can help!

How do we see our school portraits after they are taken?

School photos are proofed on line.  The proofs are loaded into a password protected gallery where parents can select the photos that they would like to purchase.  Proof slideshows go up a few days after the pictures are taken and are available for about one week.

Each school picture is individually selected and edited to create a great image.  We strive to give every family 2-3 proof options--pre-ordering is not required.

School Portraits by Lisa will provide the order forms and field parent questions. 

How long does it take to do each child's photo?

About 2 minutes.  Sometimes 30 seconds, and rarely 3 minutes.  Truthfully, it depends on the child, their age, and their mood that day, but on average, two minutes is about right.  

Generally, the older the children, the shorter the time needed to get the portraits completed.

How long does the school portrait process take from start to finish?

Generally, 4-5 weeks, depending on the size of your school.  The photos are taken in week one.  Then they are individually edited and posted for viewing by parents for a week or so. The parent order forms are collected and submitted for print by Lisa, and the final packets are delivered to the school after they are hand-inspected, collated, and packaged.

When is the best time of year to schedule school portraits?

Depends on the look you want. For outdoor portraits, spring or fall are optimal.  Winter portraits are also gorgeous, but are taken inside.  They involve just a modern seamless backdrop of black or white paper and a couple lights.  

Book early we are only able to accept a limited number of schools!  Optimal spring and fall dates go fast.  

What's the best time of day for school portraits?

You and I will base this decision on your school's rhythm and students.  Usually it's a good idea to start first thing, but we can mix it up a little.  Some students need some time to settle into their routine, others have morning naps to take into account, and we don't want anyone to miss their snacks!  I am happy to strategize with you.

A general rule of thumb is to schedule the youngest children earlier in the day so that they don't get too tired, hungry, or messy before they have their photos taken. 

Not every child is in school every day, how do we schedule our school portraits?

Portraits by Lisa will create a custom schedule to meet your school's needs.  Many preschools and child care facilities have part time enrollees.  Some schools are too large to photograph every child in one day.  No problem!

We will work with your particular school to customize a schedule to capture the maximum number of children.  In most cases this means two school picture days.  The individual needs of your school will guide us in developing an optimal schedule.

Book early for maximum flexibility!  Optimal spring and fall dates go fast.  

What school is an ideal match for School by Portraits by Lisa?

Many different types of schools work well – I've worked with private child care centers and preschools serving between 20-100+ families, photographing children of all ages.  Larger schools are no problem, we may just need some additional time.  And don't be afraid to offer school portraits to infant and toddler parents, we love kids of all ages.

I am also thrilled to work with elementary aged children for some gorgeous remembrances of these important years.

Give me a call at 617-216-8855 and we can discuss the specifics of your school or child care and see if we are a match.

Our school enrolls students with special needs, anything we should consider?

School Portraits by Lisa has experience photographing children with different needs. We can talk about the modifications or accommodations that will make picture day successful for every student at your school.  I am committed to ensuring that all children have a beautiful school portrait!  

What if a child refuses to have their photo taken?

I respect the rights of kids to refuse.  I am certainly  not above begging, cajoling, bribing with stickers, reverse psychology, trying again on another scheduled picture day, or grabbing a candid shot.  But no forcing kids, ever. 

One hint, however, is that children will often cooperate if their parents are not around. All you parents out there know that relatives, teachers, babysitters, and other adults can get your kid to do things they'd never do for you--so if you are trying to peek during the photographs, one piece of advice is just to hide.  We can't explain it, but often it works.

I've photographed hundreds of children and really only had 2 children remain absolutely unconvinced to have their photo taken.  It's generally not a problem.

Have other questions?

Please feel free to call me at 617-216-8855 or email

All of the pictures are gorgeous. Every last one.
— mom in Lexington, MA