Working with Children

1 year ago I was lucky enough to expand my portfolio and knowledge to working in a local primary school, taking pictures of the leavers school play ‘Porridge’. All of the cast were great at forgetting the camera was there and performed to there maximum, they looked and sounded brilliant. The challenge I had was to be able to get across there enthusiasm and excitement in the low light conditions, coupled with fast movements it was difficult to get a sharp image. I really wanted to be able to capture the facial expressions from all of the children. At the beginning of the show there were quite a few blurry images while i adjusted the manual settings as well as the focal length to get the best results. Once I had gotten the settings correct the fun energetic pictures came thick and fast; I quickly took 1200 photos of the brilliant cast of the show.

This year I was lucky enough to be invited back to the leavers show, this time it being Matilda the Musical. I love this show, but I know how difficult the music and lyrics are so I was really excited to be able to watch it as well as take pictures for them performing. I was so impressed with the performance and I was chuffed to pieces that I was able to get even better pictures than the previous year.

The best thing about it was knowing that everyone who was in the play had at least 1 picture that they can look back one to remember the leavers show, something that as a leaver from both primary and secondary school, I know that they will love to  have.

Most recently I took a bunch of pictures of my twin cousins, at just 8 months old it makes them the perfect subject. I was with them for a few hours so I managed to get a grip on what made them smile and kept them smiling. This is what I did to make sure that happened:

  1. Keep parents near by! They know more than anyone how to make them smile. They both stood on either side of the camera so whenever the girls got grumpy they could cheer them up.
  2. Patience is key! They’re only babies, they don’t know what to do and what’s going on, so set aside loads of time other you’re never going to get ‘the’ picture.
  3. Keep them entertained! Keeping them smiling and interested in what you’re doing is so important. Make sure they’re doing something that keeps them looking in the same direction for a while and keeping them from crying
  4. Get them to trust the camera! you don’t want them to see the camera and start crying! I always make sure they see me put the camera to my face while I’m interacting with them and then as soon as I’ve taken the picture I will carry on talking to them, pulling funny faces and/or tickling them, something that they seem to love.

Those are my top tips for working with children. I’m sure the list will grow as my experience grows and I work with a more varied age group. As the girls grow I will be able to carry on taking pictures of them so my aunt will have a full documentation of them growing up, something that I’m sure all parents want.


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