Skip to main content

Photographing Playgroups - So Many Portraits I Wish to Share

This year I chose to photograph my playgroups and nurseries in the new year rather than in amongst the Christmas rush. Instead we used Mother's Day as the deadline which enabled me to relax and simply enjoy the experience. With January and February being a quieter time of year I could concentrate on taking my time with these children.
I definitely noticed a difference.  I was back to really enjoying what I do and I believe it made a difference to the quality of the portraits I produced too. It didn't matter if I spent all day at these playgroups as I had no hectic schedule waiting for me on my return. I've never been one to like rushing through portraits. Sometimes it takes time to get a child to open up and allow me to capture their true self.
I met some real characters this year. I also tried to let go of the need to have children looking into the camera. I started to find that really special moments could be captured if I let the children interact with each other and just be themselves. Facial expressions can be so real and wonderful if we stop asking them to look at the camera or to smile.
This image below happened without prompting when these two cousins posed for the camera. It was so sweet seeing how much they love each other. I'm sure these two are going to have a great relationship over the years and what a great image to look back in years to come.
But of course I do still love the looking at camera portraits as well because I think there is something really special when the children can connect with me and the camera. When their images are later viewed its as if they are making a connection with each viewer of their portraits.

We had lots of sibling groups this year. I have to admit these often fill me with dread. Its hard enough getting one child at a time to sit still and perform for the camera. Now asking 2 is is a whole other level of challenge. But when it comes good its a great feeling, as it did for me on several occasions this year. 
Every year I photograph children at Menphys Nursery, which is a school for children that require special attention for either mental and/or physical difficulties. This is a challenging but highly rewarding experience. It is rare that I am unable to capture a good photograph here, but it does often involve greater time and patience. And without the help of the incredible staff much of what I do would be impossible. Their patience and love for their job regularly astounds me. 
It is always my goal with all children to have them looking as natural and content as possible. Rightly or wrongly, I'm not sure, I want to show the children at Menphys in a light that minimises any sign of their difficulties and hopefully provides the parents a portrait of their special angels looking as happy as they are able to make them themselves. 
This year I really feel like I managed this. If I didn't know better I'd say there are no differences between the children at this nursery and the children at the other playgroups I photographed. And for that reason I have mixed them all up in this blog post so you don't know which children are which either.  They are all just beautiful young children. 

There were so many more I would have liked to share too but I had to be realistic. This is already several more than I would normally include in a blog post.  I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed creating them.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Never Work With Children or Animals

Or so the saying goes. But I have to say that working with dogs has been so lovely. They have been almost entirely a dream to work with. I say almost entirely because we have had a few moments where a dog has needed to settle. And one moment where the dog had settled but one of my cats decided to have a look through the glass door which, as you can imagine, rather quickly unsettled the dog. Still, that didn't stop us from creating incredible work.

In fact it was during that shoot with the cat instance when I created two of my favourite pieces, shown below.


(It was while sitting on the couch here when he noticed the cat peering through the curtain)
I don't know if I've just been lucky or all dogs are just easy to work with. I photographed a french bull dog puppy and I thought that would be tough as he hadn't had time to be properly trained yet. But he did everything we wanted in no time at all. And this included the props we used here (below), which to me seemed somewha…

Family Portraits with Fine Art Flair

I have a love and hate relationship with family portraits. I love the finished piece and creating something that is truly special to the family. I love that in years to come something I made is going to be a cherished and valueable memento for this family. What I struggle with, is getting all members of the group to look their best at exactly the same moment in time. You would be surprised at how difficult this actually is, particularly when it comes to 6 children. But I always get there in the end, whether it is the luck of a moment or with the aid of Photoshop. I ensure that everyone in the portrait is looking their best, even the dog.


Seeing as this family is actually made up now of two families we also did portraits in their respective groups which I chose to do in different style to their main group. I love adding a bit of style for the overall main group and what you see above is something that is proving popular with my clients. I love adding props and giving a sort of Vanity F…

Its a Dog's Life

When life gets tough I always look at dogs or my cats and think how lucky they are. I know not all are treated well but those lucky enough to be in a good home, like the ones who come into my studio, have a really great life. They look so happy and its a wonderful thing to see. 

I honestly love photographing dogs. They are a joy to work with and its almost impossible to produce a bad portrait of a dog which does of course make my life a little easier. I am someone who really needs to love the work I create. I can't help but love the portraits I've created of all the dogs I've photographed over the years. And this shoot was certainly no exception.


I found it a real pleasure using a lighter background this time too. I do often gravitate towards darker looks but seeing as this dog had a light coloured coat I thought I'd produce lighter images. This gave me the chance to use a canvas I painted a couple of years ago but never really used and I absolutely love it now. I don…

A Most Wonderful Portrait Session with 3 Lovely Ladies

This was a dream session for me. Not only did I have 3 beautiful young ladies, but they also brought with them a fantastic wardrobe and their very own hair stylist too (mum owns her own salon). So all the elements for beautiful portraits were there. And I was thrilled to get this opportunity.


Its easy to think of having portraits when you have a new baby or when you get married or have a special family occasion where you get the entire family portrait done. But its less often that people think of having their growing children photographed. After all I suppose, they are photographed at school. I even do some of those school photographs. However, those portraits are made in less than a minute per child and they are assembly line style portraits while they are wearing their school uniform. They are never going to be as special as what can be created with unlimited time and outfit changes in the comfort of a private studio.


Its in this environment that I can take the time to talk to the …

Do You Have a Little Pirate in Your Family?

If so, why not capture it in a beautiful portrait so you can cherish these memories forever?


I designed and built this set for a client. She came to me with a son and daughter and during the consultation we discussed the interests of the children, as I always do. Our ideas for portraits for her daughter were going to be easy. She loved the idea of modelling pretty dresses so her shoot was sorted. Her son on the other hand was more difficult. Where ever possible I try to incorporate something about the children into each portrait. That can mean books, sports, dance, musical instruments or anything a person has an interest in. In this case he hadn't yet developed any interests, other than pirates.


Now my client didn't want me to go to too much trouble. We agreed it wouldn't be easy to make anything pirate themed look as though it fit my style and level of quality. A shop bought costume wasn't going to cut it. But I just had to try. I love dark wood in my portraits and I …