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How to Capture Compelling Classroom Photos

Check out these tips for creating a dynamite photo for your DonorsChoose project.


It may sound cliché, but a photo really is worth a thousand words—especially when it comes to your classroom. A distinct photo for your DonorsChoose teacher page and projects helps donors connect with your classroom and are a powerful tool for creating long-term connections. Check out these tips for creating a dynamite photo and some examples of classroom photos that we love:

Six students gather around a heaping pile of legos that cover the entire classroom floor

Ten students in adorable bright rain coats with hoods like ducks gather around a teacher who's holding a bright umbrella and pointing to flowing water

Tip 1: Take a photo!

A classroom photo should ideally be just that—a photo! Although it can be tempting to use stock images, clipart, memes, bitmojis, emoticons, etc. taking and sharing an actual photo gives donors the best snapshot of what makes your classroom unique. Here are a few ideas of what you can include in your classroom photo:

  • your students in action at their desks or playing games
  • a collage of student artwork
  • your classroom bulletin board
  • your students having fun as a group

Photos tell your students’ story best!

A group of smiling students hold up their new pencils and erasers in front of a bulletin board that says "Reading Word Wall"
A group of around 75 students wearing masks

Tip 2: Safety first!

Good photos are, first and foremost, safe photos. To take safe photos of your students:

Go for the group shot.

Group shots of students, or photos that feature the sides or backs of students’ heads, help protect student privacy.

Break out your safest background.

If your classroom number school name, or student names are visible, try selecting a new background that features student artwork instead.

Emoticons are great—but not on your students!

We’ve seen some pretty creative methods of editing photos for student privacy, including frequent use of smiley-faces covering up student faces. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you need to edit a photo, it most likely wasn’t a safe photo to begin with. If you’re worried about posting images of students, or are waiting on permission slips, stick to photos that feature the back of students’ heads or photos of your donated supplies without students.

Bright bulletin board "March Book Madness" displays a bracket of popular student books
A teacher's bulletin board displays a collage of student photos each of whom hold up a letter altogether they spell out "Happy Valentine's Day"

Tip 3: No students? No problem!

No access to students or your classroom during the summer? If you’re struggling to get a photo for your project, try these tips:

Ask around

Another teacher or a parent at your school may already have some compelling, safe photos of your classroom or students’ work. Have them email you the photos to make uploading one to your project a breeze.

Old photos are better than no photos.

New teacher? Trying to get a photo during the summer? Using an image of previous students or classrooms is a good option—but plan to update it to feature your new classroom once school is in session! If you don’t have students yet, a photo of your bulletin board or vibrantly decorated classroom is another great option; show donors your creativity!

Reach out to our customer service team through the Help Center.

If the upload feature is giving you trouble, or if unique circumstances have you stumped about how to get a photo, there’s a team of people eager to help.

Learn how to upload or change your classroom photo.

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