Opportunities in Volume Photography 1D – Early Childhood Photography

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Often called Preschool Photography, the Early Childhood market encompasses two main types of centers – Daycares and Preschools.  Daycares start, literally at birth, whereas Preschools typically are more curriculum based and are 3–5-year-olds.  You will find that both of these terms are many times replaced with Early Childhood Center or Learning Center.  Regardless of the official title, it’s important that you know how they are structured.  The Daycare model is more fun-based occupying the child while parents are at work, whereas the Preschool model is preparing them for kindergarten and will be structured more like a miniature school.
Early Childhood Centers can range in size, but most top out around 100 to 125 children.  The sweet spot is about 75 children and up.  Most photographers avoid ‘centers’ that are in someone’s home and usually only have 10-15 children.   We also find that many photographers refer to their “schools”, but in reality, they are meaning Early Childhood Centers rather than real schools.

Photography for Early Childhood centers can be very physical and active.  You must be in control of the situation  and scheduling and be able to elicit genuine expressions from the little ones while keeping them in one location where the lighting and focus are centered.   It can be fun, but it takes some special training to pull it off successfully. 

Photoshoots at centers normally take place on two days since you will have Mon/Wed/Friday kids and Tuesday/Thursday kids.  Two half days normally suffice.

The last thought on Early Childhood Photography is to engage the current generation of younger parents, from which the youngest children typically come.  Parents of Gen Z have lived in an entirely digital age and have different expectations than Millennials, Gen Xers, or Boomers.  They will want to see proofs before they buy and quite honestly, they want to see them quickly.  Everything for them works in Web-Time (really fast) so they don’t understand why they have to wait.  Using an e-Commerce solution that is robust in customer engagement is a must. 

They also want to see authentic smiles or expressions from their children.  They are not fond of staged expressions with outdated props.  Make your set simple and simply fun so that you get comfortable great expressions, and you’ll get good results.  Capture the essence of their child’s personality.

Download the Your Turn Worksheet for Early Childhood Photography