PHOTOGRAPHY Joanna Paterson, shoot for Clarks
BUILD A STRONG TEAM
This is so important. If you have really good people around you, you could be shooting in a white box and you’ll still come up with something interesting.
PICK A STRONG CAST
Choose interesting kids to work with. Accept that kids aren’t always cute I can’t bear the kind of kids' photography that’s all big-bowed and really ‘Pinterest-y’. I think that’s really patronising to children. The children I know can be horrible—they scream, they can be really unpleasant. There are different facets to them other than just being cute. I want to see them in as many different ways as possible.
EMBRACE WIDER PARAMETERS
When I was doing adult fashion photography, I realised that the parameters you are working within are quite narrow. You have to make people look sexy, cool, edgy or glamorous. When you do kids' photography, it’s about being inventive, playful and fun. Those things just appeal to me more.
DON’T SHOUT AT THEM
In my second kids' shoot, we turned this ladder into a giant Godzilla and we had children with pots and pans and things that were supposed to be swords. There was one little boy who I wanted to attack Godzilla and he was doing it really limply. In the end, I was shouting at him, ‘ATTACK! JUST ATTACK!’ and he burst into tears and said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ That wasn’t a great feeling.
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HAVE FUN WITH DREAM COMMISSIONS
My favourite kids' fashion shoot was a submarine image I did for a hotel company. We had a really big budget, which meant I could work with whomever I wanted. Everything we did they just kept saying, ‘oh it’s great!’ It was all about things that children might do, like going to the park or the beach, and we used objects that you’d find in a hotel setting, like cups and umbrellas. We arranged them and shot from above to create a scene. You can have endless fun with something like that.
ASSIST SOME REALLY GOOD PHOTOGRAPHERS
I wish I had done this more. When you’re assisting, you don’t just learn about taking pictures. You learn how to be with clients and how to deal with issues that come up. It’s not just about the photographic side—it’s about how to deal with people.
DON’T TAKE EVERY PIECE OF ADVICE
When you’re starting out in photography, everybody gives you such different advice and it can be really confusing. For every person that likes your work, there’s going to be someone who doesn’t. Only take on board the advice that you feel you can use positively. Listen to the advice that resonates with you and that you can use to move forward as a photographer, because everyone’s going to have a different journey.
joannapaterson.com ONE PIECE OF ADVICE