There are so many different facets to photography and despite each involving a camera and a subject being photographed that is about where the similarities end (for the most part). My background and experience is with travel photography and photojournalism, I have shot a few weddings, done some High School Senior pics, and some all around just for fun stuff, but I have never done much with child photography.
This week I was asked to shoot for a local Pre-K graduation ceremony. I was really wanting to do some shooting and the opportunity to branch out to something new was intriguing. I tried to prepare myself in advance for what I would be shooting, then the morning of I met with the director and we talked through the service. Unfortunately in my head I had this idea of the children being great subjects for photographs and I was going to get these great shots of them walking across the stage to receive the diploma and shake hands with the director, but in reality they had no clue what was going on around them, they couldn’t sit or stand still for more than a second before becoming distracted, and the stage was set up completely different than what I had imagined (go figure).
So I addressed the situation, took an inventory for what was actually going to happen and started to re-think things for the morning. Then it all began. I began by visiting the class rooms to snap some shots of the kids getting ready. Putting on robes and hats was a bit chaotic as the kids were running around playing games and just well being kids.
Once in the auditorium, each child was to walk across the stage as they had practiced, stopping on a big “X” on the floor to get their picture taken. Unfortunately, with all the distractions of people in the audience the last thing they were thinking about was stopping to get their picture taken. It helped when the teachers would remind them to stop so we could get a picture, which turned out with some interesting shots, as many stopped but didn’t know where to look. Finally it was over and they wanted a group shot, again getting the kids to stand still and look forward is a near impossible task if you ask me. So I snap off a few shots and run with it.
I must say that this shoot was one of the hardest that I have ever done. There was a lot of uncontrollable light issues to work around, the auditorium in which the graduation took place has a really high ceiling eliminating the possibility of a bounce flash, and I was also competing with the parents using their camera’s flashes every other second to photograph their child’s big moment, but in the end it was fun and I hope that I am able to provide some great moments for these children and their parents.
It’s always fun to learn new aspects of photography and to branch out of what you are used to.