When I was approached to shoot for Kids Division, a children’s modelling agency, I was reluctant at first - it takes a special kind of person to photograph kids, and to be honest I wasn’t sure that was me. But I thought heck, I’ll do it once, and if I don’t enjoy it, I’ll just pretend it never happened, and pass the work to another unsuspecting photographer friend.
Now I’ve shot for Kids Division three times, each time with more laughs than the last. We book a studio out for the weekend and fill it with beautiful little monsters who have been trained in the art of saying cheese (sometimes too well). This time we rented Roodebloem Studios, in Woodstock, Cape Town.
This most recent shoot went super smooth, but in the past we’ve had kids ramp up in the infinity curve in the studio, shred an entire roll of paper, and throw some massive punches that only siblings can inflict on one another.
So kids move around – a lot. You’ll see what I mean in the video. So I created soft ambient lighting that would allow them some space to move around and be kids, as opposed to being forced to stand on one spot the whole time. For this, we used the Para133 with the focusing rod in the full flood position and the front diffuser layer on.
To keep up with the rapid fire the kids demanded, I used the Scoro 3200 pack with Pulso G head from Photohire – I found I would wait longer on the buffer tethering to my laptop than waiting for the light’s ‘ready’ beep.
I shot at f11, which is far smaller than I usually shoot, but because kids move so much, I wanted a large depth of field. This would allow me to nail focus a lot faster.
To keep us chirpy, we had my friend Tyler serve a steady stream of top quality cappuccinos to the adults, but the kids soon found out that he makes a mean hot chocolate too. While the hot chocolate was supposed to be a reward after good work in front of the camera, we got the order wrong and they had the hot chocolate (and the accompanying sugar rush) first.
We live and we learn.
Many thanks to Clinton Dorr for helping me with setup and filming the behind-the-scenes footage; Xavier for the music for the video; thanks to Tyler for selling those wonderful coffees – for my next shoot, I think we should spend some time inventing an intravenous drip system.
Its turns out I may just be that special type of person who is good at shooting kids. Probably because having them around unlocks the kid in me. We had so much fun together, sometimes too much, and the production manager had to reign me in.
I’m a kid just like them; I just have the camera.
Photography is magic. Create.