Thursday, 8 January 2009

What to do before dinner.

The great thing about the festive period is not knowing that you’re going to receive new presents but – and especially if you’re a parent or grandparent – it’s the certainty that your family are likely to make a welcome appearance.

At the turn of last year, my wife June and I had the pleasure of entertaining a host of family members for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, June (a staff nurse) was working right through the festivities – including Christmas Day – so the meal was delayed until 5pm. That did allow me to schedule some studio work with my youngest Son and two of my three Grandchildren.

There is a system to photographing children that I’ve found works almost everytime, though it’s a system that has to be carefully weighed against the characters of the kids themselves: first, it’s always best to have the studio set for the shot; if you spend too much time mucking around with lights, backdrops and props then the kids are going to get bored. Have it all set up and the kids love the new ‘game’ of getting their pics taken and the energy just flows. Secondly, they are going to get bored, so you have that time to try and capture some of the moodier – or less effervescent – portraits. And, once they get past the bored stage, they enter the frustrated stage – and the shoot is then over.

As for the adults, well, you can always blackmail them with extra helpings of the coming dinner.

Jodie & Duncan with Uncle David.

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