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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Little Rascals, Aspire Photography, May 6th

Last week I had another lovely group of photographers on my Little Rascals training day. Rachel had been scouting new locations so we headed off into pastures new. She came up trumps with the most beautiful bluebell wood I've ever seen and a new waterfall that we barely had time to explore - but will do again in the future!

The morning session was with Dillon - a delightful 2 and half year old who just wanted to have fun. I began the shoot with explaining some simple but effective lighting conditions. Dillon was full of beans though and had no intention of staying still or sitting down for any length of time. His stock answer to any of my 'suggestions' was "no". It became clear that a walk or 'adventure' was very necessary to get the best from him - very typical of this age group!

Dillon was much easier to 'direct' if it was a game - playing with sticks, leaves, cones, branches, gates. As we were on our adventure I was constantly looking ahead for suitable locations and lighting conditions - you have to work fast and intuitively with such young kids! The portrait through the gate was a split second opportunity - he quickly moved on...

Here I was showing the delegates how shooting into the light and using spot metering can give a lovely effect - turning this kind of image into mono further enhances the different shapes and textures.

In the afternoon we jumped in cars and bumped across a few fields to our wood location. Rachel had borrowed the gorgeous chair and we had chosen a few outfits for Fabi and Betsy. The girls were both beautiful and had very, very different personalities - perfect for training because I needed to respond to this in order to get the best out of each of them as individuals.

The light, as it always is in woods, was complex and needed careful consideration. I talked the delegates through front, diffused, back lighting, side lighting etc. We then raced to a local waterfall to give a new backdrop and sadly ran out of time although manged to shoot a few frames to demonstrate how I would approach this kind of location.

The day was full of early summer colour - intense and vibrant. Much of my work has a desaturated feel to it but when you have locations like these I tend to leave my work full colour. This doesn't mean I won't explore other treatments and even some black and white.

We started the shoot with a few fun props to get the girls used to the cameras and gentle direction.

Some simple but lovely portraits of Fabi and Betsy:

Fabi is quieter by nature and reminded me of my daughter. She was more at ease when she could see and interact with her mum. She had chosen a very lovely dress for one of her outfits - the perfect contrast to the intense hues of the bluebells.

Betsy is totally at ease in front of the camera - it's quite extraordinary really and because of this you can move towards a slightly quirkier approach.

The last 2 frames of the shoot and my preference for a monotone approach.

Having done a family shoot the day after this training session on the beach in the Witterings I suggested to Mel that we take Little Rascals to the beach. SO - for the afternoon session of my next 2 course we will be heading to the seaside. Call Mel for more details!


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