Photograph Day

Friday 13 September 2019
photo day

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Guest Blog by Hayley Smith

So, it’s that time of year when social media is inundated with those ‘1st day at school’ photographs. The token photo of a child (with or without their siblings) stood outside the front door or in front of the fireplace dressed in their smartest uniform.

But how hard is it really to get a good photograph of a child? Especially if that child is nursery aged…

Any practitioner who has worked in early years and has experienced ‘photo day’ is unlikely to forget it in a hurry! It was probably an entire day (or maybe more) of “Yoo hoo, looking this way!”, “Where’s the camera? Look at the camera!” and “Hidey boo!” in a vain attempt to get even a flicker of a smile.

Add that to the outfit changes, brushing of hair and ticking of names off lists then that’s photo day pretty much summed up. We know that the parents love photographs of their beautiful bundles of joy, of course, but we also know that the pressure is on the staff to help the photographer achieve the best photographs. The photographer, who is nothing more than a stranger pointing an odd object in the children’s direction and causing bright flashes around them, does their very best to get the best out of each and every child but they often look to staff for help. To be honest, it’s exhausting!

As each little one wanders into the room accompanied by a familiar adult, and possibly some of their peers, their initial reaction often says a lot about how their visit to the photographer is going to turn out. I would argue that you simply cannot anticipate how some children are going to react; those who are comfortable and confident in the room suddenly burst in to tears and the quiet ones who simply take it all in become mini-models pulling out any pose they’re asked for!

Obviously if a sibling is thrown into the mix that can create a completely different response altogether… asking some children to act like they like their siblings, even for the split second it takes to take one photograph, can truly be like you’ve asked for the impossible! There are some children who do appear to genuinely like their brother or sister and seeing them evokes a smile, which is brilliant for the photographer! But there are always those who are less than pleased to see a sibling arrive.

It can be so difficult to talk to some hopeful parents who arrive at nursery at the end of the day and immediately ask “How did photo’s go?”.

For a Mummy or Daddy who sees this as the biggest priority of the day, more important than how their child has eaten or whether they’ve slept, it’s hard to hear that their son or daughter was less than cooperative.

But I’d say that on average there are more successful visits to the photographer than unsuccessful ones and, of course, we all love looking through the end products. All the hard work put in to achieve them is merely a distant memory and it was all worth it… wasn’t it?

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Bad acoustics in your classroom?