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Capturing Educational Spaces

Working with students from Pre-K to Higher Education (real and stand-ins).

From the playful design of preschools to the sophistication of university campuses with their science labs, photographing educational spaces requires extensive planning, especially when school is in session.

Capturing in a school environment offers a glimpse into the diverse landscapes of learning. Each stage of education presents unique architectural challenges and opportunities. Therefore, capturing the essence of these spaces has been the most rewarding.

Working with students of all ages share the same joy and challenges. This is where I find communication and a bit of imagination are the keys to helping illustrate the design aspect of the space.

For instance, the auditorium for Children’s Village serves multiple purposes. When not in use as a “town hall,” children would utilize this space as recess or playtime. Their playfulness instantly activates the room, and with some pre-planning on the time of day, the space comes to life.

Inside a sunlit auditorium. Small toddlers are running in front of the stage playing.
Auditorium in Children's Village by DRG Architects

Sometimes, photography can only commence when school is not in session. That’s when recruitment in the architect’s office happens. Working with “stand-in students” is super fun, as there are many stories about “when we were in school.” Coaching the “students” requires a fair amount of discussion and testing. For instance, illustrating the elevated track at the Chapin School required lots of running back and forth but looked natural.

Two young woman running on an elevated running tracks inside a gym. The gym is filled with sunlight from the massive 3-story high windows.
Elevated Running Track in Chapin School by NK Architects

I find the best method to photograph in a school environment is to let the students demonstrate how they use the space. Photos like this exemplify the main intention of the design, where the students are utilizing the space as it should be. A moment like this can escape if I don’t pay attention, and it is always rewarding to catch these gems.

Two students writing a mathematic formula on the glass of a classroom.
Classroom inside Kent Place School by KSQ Design

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