I was recently approached by East Lancashire Children’s Hospice to work as a photographer at their Christmas Fayre. This involved taking photographs of children with terminal illnesses meeting Santa so the images would be likely to have emotional significance to the parents.
This was very useful work experience for me due to the hectic workflow and pressure to produce in a short space of time. It made me use initiative and also challenge me to react quickly, by finding the correct settings to create good imagery in a face paced and hectic environment.
The room for meeting Santa was very small and had inadequate artificial light that created lots of shadow and a very warm temperature. I proceeded to adjust my ISO to 1600 to compensate for this, I also made use of my Canon Speedlite EX-RT which added a more professional appearance to the images and also appeared to have a psychological effect on the visitor’s. I found that they were much more receptive and posing for the camera, presumably due to me looking more professional. Due to the pace of the meeting’s with Santa I had very limited time to capture my images, with some children either becoming emotionally overwhelmed at times and not wanting and photograph. Looking back I wish I had had the confidence to be a little more outgoing and position the children with Santa. I found that parents also wanted to take their own pictures of their children with Santa so I didn’t always get their full focus, with the fast pace also limiting this. However, overall it was a very productive day that enabled me to experience the life of a professional photographer which can only enhance my photographic ability.
I notice when reviewing my images that there is a line of shadow created towards the lower sections of the images. I believe this is due to standing up rather than taking the image from a lower angle as I did with some of the images. I find that standing up has resulted in the flash being at a higher level which creates this shadow, I also believe that the flash bounced a little too much due to it being such a small room.
I am especially pleased with some of the portraits of the children that I have achieved. I have caught emotion in naturalistic way, I also believe I captured the innocence of the children and the joy that they expressed even though faced with such upsetting circumstances.