As you know I’m a children’s portrait photographer based in Northamptonshire – but in a former life I was a qualified teacher. Usually I’m on the other side on training courses and busy learning from people whose work I admire and people who inspire me. However I sometimes get asked to do a bit of training for people who are either keen amateurs wanting to understand their cameras more and get better images or by Photographers just starting out in the portrait business who are looking to improve their skills and get some tips on photographing children. Generally these sessions are completely targeted to the needs of the individual and use some lovely little models to demonstrate how I might go about working with a child to get certain images.
Group training sessions are great fun but when you have little models – even with small numbers on a course – it can be a bit of a bunfight .. and there is always that one person that doesn’t let others get a look in ! A 1-2-1 day will allow you lots of time to get shots for your portfolio or for your personal satisfaction and means you can learn completely at your pace, ask any questions that you might be intimidated to ask amongst people more experienced than yourself, and get a targetted learning experience.
All these pictures were taken on a recent 2 day 1-2-1 session where we spent a day out shooting (3 separate sessions) and a day going through processing tips, marketing stuff etc,etc.. – all subjects chosen by my trainee. I don’t profess to know a great deal – I’m still learning all the time myself – but I have a few tips to pass on. Everyone will do things differently – I can simply show people the way I do it. All the images below were taken by me on the day to demonstrate certain techniques and shooting processes.
This one shows the trainee at work and what we were aiming for in the final image by placing the little model where we did.
When doing images outdoors you can use whatever you have around you – I’m fortunate living near the beautiful old town of Olney in Buckinghamshire that there are some fabulous spots to take images literally just along the high street and near the main roads.
The natural environment provides a ton of different options for back drops – so its worth thinking about what would provide interest in the image – in some cases this can be foreground and background texture.
Its also good to use architecture for framing in images.
Doors make excellent frames in images as in the picture below:
I chose different age ranges for the models and a mixture of boys and girls – lovely little girls that are happy to pose – like the little sweetie above are one thing – little boys with a ton of energy to burn off are a bit different. I try where possible to take them out and about where they can run around, climb trees, ride bikes or do whatever they like to enjoy themselves and capture their personalities that way. Again Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire have some beautiful parks nearby so I’m lucky to have these on my doorstep.
Trees are great for lads to climb and mess about on – but you can also use these within the composition of the image.
Lets face it though – we are at the mercy of the British Weather and we can’t always be out and about – and sadly not all homes look like something out of Grand Designs – so we also looked at the best places to find some light if you are faced just with a small house to photograph in on a day when its pouring with rain !
We had another challenge with our last model of the day – a 15 month old toddler. These are always good fun. They are so excited to be toddling about that they spend much of the time looking at the floor and won’t stay in one position for more than about 3 seconds – so you have to chase them around – try lots of tricks and find ways to keep them contained to get portraits.
So if you are interested in learning how to use your nice new camera a bit better – to get better portraits of your own children or if you are a Photographer looking to get some more experience and build your portfolio in a non-intimidating 1-2-1 environment do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org