Lennon, Bobby and their Incredible bench

I was asked a month or so back if I’d take some photographs of two young boys, Lennon and Bobby. Their Mum, Caroline had seen the results of a shoot I did with two other children Freddie and Dolly and she liked what I had done.

Caroline wanted a similar style to what I had done with Freddie and Dolly and this immediately got me excited, I love doing location shoots that are a familiar place to be for my clients, it helps them relax which then helps me get more natural looking photographs for them. This is a style I’m currently really enjoying it pushes my photographic buttons more than say a white or black background it’s just so much more real.

I asked where they fancied having the photo session, Kev (Caroline’s husband) said they would love to have them done in Silsden Park on and around Caroline’s brother Chris’s memorial bench. Chris Brown tragically passed away after being involved in an accident during a rugby match and in memory of him a bench has been placed at the edge of the half way line of the rugby field.

Since then Chris’s family have started up The Chris Brown Trust where they hold fund raising events to help out other local people who are going through difficult times due to a sudden Personal loss or Injury. Its a great thing to do and well worth supporting. They have an annual event called ‘The Browny Cup’ where Teams compete in a fancy dress 5 a side tournament, This year they raised nearly £6000.

Chris’s bench is a place that means the world to Caroline’s family and because it means so much to them I felt a real importance to get some great pictures on the day, in my opinion photographs of something that mean a lot are even more special as you can pick up or view the photographs time after time to bring all those great memories flooding back to you.

Now as most of you will know in the past few weeks the leaves on the trees have turned beautifully autumnal and are now dropping far too quickly for my liking, if your a red blooded photographer during this time then you’ll be getting itchy feet to get out and shoot at this time so I was doubly happy to take on this shoot in the middle of a park filled with gloriously bright orange and fiery red leaves.

Onto the stars of the show Lennon and Bobby….

Lennon is the oldest at two and has wonderfully bright blond hair he was on the go from the moment I started shooting to the moment we said our goodbyes. Great fun to photograph with a infectiously cheeky smile. Children Lennon’s age prove ultra difficult to get clean crisp shots of, as they just don’t want to sit still. But it’s magical to see children’s enthusiasm

Bobby is 16 months old and was really great, he is at the age where he is gaining his own personality but has not too long been mobile on his feet so is that little bit more cautious getting around which made him a lot easier to capture. His personality was ace too, I found him to be a little bit like myself, quite laid back and just prepared to take in all what’s going on around him. But still really excitable at the sight of new unexplored things. He looked uber cool and snuggly in his duffle coat, I think I might have to purchase one for myself for the winter.

A couple of my basic tips I have for anyone when shooting children.

• Don’t turn up at a children’s shoot in your smartest clothes because your quite likely to get messy and the last thing you should be thinking about is your clothing. This leads me onto my next point.

• This I feel is really important! Get involved with your subjects. If they’ve brought a football or similar then have a kick around and play with them it helps them feel at ease with you as a stranger and also builds in roads for later on in the shoot if you need to coax them into getting that last shot

• Get down low to take most of your shots it transforms your pictures to a different perspective and gives the feel of how they see the world.

• Show the children what your doing. I’ve found they love to see theirselves on the little screen at the back of the camera and find they are then more than willing to go back and re-pose for you.

• Lastly, take a reward for them, you can use it as bargaining tool to help get the shots you need and there is nothing like a bit of choc choc or toy to help make a friend for life (But make sure you ask the parents if it’s alright to give them a little reward, they may have their own rules on things like that.

We started at Chris’s bench just slowly getting a feel for their personalities, Lennon was flying around on a little spacehopper while Bobby was getting his balance whilst being helped out by Mummy, For this shoot I cheated and went with Aperture priority instead of manual beacuse the boys were coming from all directions and quickly so didnt feel confident enough to keep dialling in the changes in camera and still be quick enough to capture them before they had stepped out of my composition. For the whole of the shoot I used my Canon 50mm 1.4 lens (yep I now own it Whoooo!). Gorgeous lens and I am already seeing a difference in quality of photograph over the standard kit lens.

We took some images of them playing on and near the bench, I tried to incorporate Chris’s Plaque now and then. Before long Kev had got out a cool bubble machine, This thing was the real deal, There were bubbles spanning the whole length of the Rugby pitch, Lennon was running around like crazy and Bobby was trying to pop every one he could get within his reach. I was having a real laugh by now and I felt the boys were too. I took loads of pictures of them with some crazy expressions. After about 10-15 minutes the energy level dropped a bit so we moved the shoot on to a different location.

A little bit further down the park were some trees so we headed over to get some different shots, They were playing hide and seek behind the tree trunks, Throwing dried leaves all over each other. The light here was A-MAZING so I was pleased with how the images were turning out, By now they were both getting extremely dirty as the ground was a bit soft and muddy, But did the boys care??? No way!!

We then moved down into the play area of the park to get a few shots of them on the swings and slide, then in the big red truck. Just giving them the opportunity to have fun.

I decided to head back to the bench for a few final shots of the family together and the boys on the bench looking into the distance with a slight silohuette effect. These actually turned out to be my favourite pictures of the shoot, Ok they’re not looking at the camera but the pictures tell a thousand words in my opinion.

A few days after the shoot I was driving home from work, and the sky was Sooo clear, I thought “There is gonna be a lovely sunset tonight and why not head back to the Bench and try a bit of panoramic shooting of the bench, background and sunset, and I’m so glad I did because it came out absolutely Gorgeous, This shot I’ve given to the family as a gift from Paul Joseph Photography.

I’ll also be doing a guide in a future blog on How I got the images to make the Panorama and then my post processing technique to change it to the final Photograph.

Thanks to Caroline, Kev, Lennon, Bobby and Caroline’s Mum and Dad for giving the boys free reign to play, get filthy and have a laugh in the aim of getting the Photographs

Below is a Video I have made on Animoto of all the final images from the shoot.

Paul.

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