As you can gather from the images above the kids had a lot of fun, their parents loved the images and we had a ball taking them! They were all taken on typical nursery shoot for us in one day at one of our favourite nurseries in West London. It’s a favourite, because they work with us from the organisational point of view to get the images. It’s in West London and not attached to a primary school, but we get a fair age range to work through (3 months to 3 years on the day).
What I love about these shoots is the personality each child brings (even the youngest!) and the way they all react differently to the camera. Some were complete naturals and even the parents were surprised at how their children reacted. For others it can be quite scary, particularly with the strange photographic environment. The younger they are the harder it is. From a photographer’s point of view you do need to have an affinity with children. However, we always have a few tricks up our sleeve and also very attuned to the way each child was reacting.
One of the aims of this blog is provide a few pointers for photographing young children. We’re not going to detail everything we’ve discovered that we find goes into the organisation and practical aspects of doing a nursery photoshoot, but hopefully enough to pique interest and of course if you’re a school or nursery looking for a photographer and wanting this style of image some of the things that have helped. It is NOT all down to the photographer. The attitude and willingness of the nursery staff to help is very important.
With nursery photoshoots the first thing we negotiate is the amount of time we have available and the more time we can be given the better. Unlike schools a photographer is not usually impinging on any precious teaching time. So you may have the potential to spend more time and we like to spend the whole day, right up until closing. This gives you more time to work with each child and as a small aside, both as a favour to parents and as a way of selling more images we also welcome parents to join in with their children on the day as well. From this you also might gather we don’t offer just one image, we usually have quite a few different images from the photoshoot available for parents to choose from.
Our studio set-up at the moment, is a lastolite hilight background with acrylic floor cloth and four strobes. There are quite a few reasons for using a plain white background for instance the set up provides us with flexibility, allows us to be consistent and not worried about ambient lighting or the weather and also ability to take action shots if we want.
One of the things we also do is allow children to say “no” to having their photo taken and it happens. For some children they are always like this, others it’s the way they feel on the day. If they don’t want their photograph taken we’re not there to force them and if we did its unlikely we’re going to get good images the parents will want. This applies even if their parent had brought in a nice change of clothes for them.
We have tried a number of set ups/themes over the years and often try something a little different, such as having huge maple leaves. We might try the leaves formulae again, but they take time to clear up and restrict your options.
We’ll leave the business aspect for another blog or perhaps another more relevant forum. However, it’s not big money for the number of hours you put into it.
It’s hard work but the images you get out of it definitely make it worthwhile.
If you want to us to do a photoshoot at your nursery or school with images that are not the typical school poses please contact us to find out more. Kit is CRB checked and has over 25 years experience of working with youth and children.