PhotoBox puts dads back in the frame for Father’s Day – Photoshoot at PhotoBox Kids’ Studio
My husband is an aspiring photographer, so I am used to feeling like I am married to a camera. And, when it comes to family days out, very seldom is daddy in the actual picture. He is always hopping around, eager to not miss any magical moments that can be captured via imagery. But, as much as we are grateful for having a long lasting memory of our fun times, we want daddy to complete the picture and reminisce about the times that actually made him happy too. So, when I heard that PhotoBox are running a campaign for Father’s Day, encouraging children to take control of the cameras instead, I was delighted to accept, not just because it would be a fun day out for the boys, but so that we could actually capture some magical moments with daddy in the frame! The campaign’s aim is to urge parents to encourage their kids to take control of the camera and shoot daddy with his family. And, in the spirit of Father’s Day this Sunday, the rest of this post is going to be written by daddy himself, in order to get a fresh insight into how it feels to be in front of the lens.
Tom – The Dad
Nowadays, it is so simple to use a point and shoot camera. Kids from as young as three can easily become masters of composing fun and candid images. But, the main point from this campaign is not only to take fun images, but also to encourage the creation of fun and rare memories, with, perhaps, those parents that spend more time away from the family. I have only recently started to encourage my own kids to be creative and find an artistic vision that photography can spark in so many of us.
My boys are four and five years old now, and they both love to pick up the camera and take pictures. But, they also love to be given half the chance to boss me around, by telling me to jump up and down, make silly faces, or dress up as a Ninja Turtle. PhotoBox’s campaign aims to put the two together. We all know how wonderfully well kids can exercise imagination and creativity, so why not convert that youthful talent into teaching them how to photograph and capture their favourite moments? Playing with daddy must be at the top of most children’s daily list of crazy things to do. So, by sticking a camera into their hands, fuelled with a few simple instructions from mummy or daddy, like, “peek through here”, “hold down”, and “push the button”, you should be able to set them off on a journey to creating some truly valuable and unique images of that memorable quality time with daddy when they were growing up.
But, how can PhotoBox spread this message and really encourage families to get stuck in? The simple answer is, bring them into the studio and let the kids take control! After all, the platform of their business is perfect for such a campaign. So, upon receiving an offer for Motherhood Diaries and the family to visit PhotoBox Kids’ Studio in Central London and enjoy a father-specific/family time photoshoot, we became very excited to be part of this project. After all, the dad-behind-the-camera syndrome is quite serious in our house, with me being a professional photographer and all! The plan for the shoot was to provide us with an array of props and fancy dresses, and a director’s chair purely for the kids to be armed with some cameras and encourage them to have daddy do anything they want.
The Photoshoot at Kids Studio
We were reluctant to travel into Central London by car and preferred to take a taxi over the tube, so that we wouldn’t look stressed and frayed upon arrival. PhotoBox kindly offered to cover expenses for both taxi journeys and even made all the arrangements. On top of the free studio shoot, they also offered a considerable amount of credit to spend on, either on the images taken on the day, or on any other images of our choice to be used via their online shop.
As always, we had arrived at the studio with our hands full – baby seats, bags and the lot. As promised, the studio was populated with loads of props, lights and PhotoBox memorabilia. Refreshments were laid out on a nearby counter and there was even a beer for daddy, seeing as all this was in aid of Father’s Day. The boys went straight for their lunch goody bags, which had a few favourable snacks. I, as usual, took hold of my trustee camera and started snapping away everywhere, as if I was filming the sequel to Finding Nemo! Whilst PhotoBox’s photographers were finishing up the shoot with the family booked in just before us, we were encouraged to have some candid family shots taken at a nearby couch corner, decorated with the cushions you can buy from PhotoBox online. I was quite surprised at how easy it was to get us all sat down in one piece to take the shot. Our boys always have ants in their pants and it can often be a challenge to gather them in one spot for more than a few seconds. But the photographers were not fussy and they tried to avoid telling us how to sit or where to look. That made it very easy for me to instruct the boys professionally on where to look and smile.
Once the other family were finished with their dad’s mini shoot, it was time for me to get my five minutes of long-awaited stage fame. Both of our boys were given some simple compact, point and shoot cameras, whilst I stood in front of a white backdrop, surrounded by fancy dresses and props. The photographers encouraged our boys to give me instructions on what to wear and where to stand. They really dove straight into the role and started commanding me around like a pair of fashion photographers. I went from being Superman, to a blue Fairy, and, awesomely, to a Jedi warrior, where I performed various flicks and tricks after very specific requests from the boys.
As much as I think I enjoyed the photoshoot the most, the kids, undoubtedly, flourished when they were handed the reins to boss daddy around. They seemed to hold and capture pictures like pros too! At some point, Aron, my eldest, asked me to do a handstand on one arm and he managed to snap a fabulous image of me with my legs in the air!
When the session was over, PhotoBox invited us to the back of the studio, where we could review the images taken by the boys and have a discussion about what they captured with the kids. PhotoBox encouraged our boys to describe the idea behind the pictures and to comment on how the experience made them feel. Aidan and Aron both emphasised their favourite moment to be when they asked me to do a handstand. When asked why, Aron simply stated, ‘Because he can do handstands!’ and Aidan Just thought it was ‘cool’… I think this discussion was a crucial part of this campaign. It is always best to encourage children to talk about their experiences. It gives them great confidence and self-belief in themselves and the decisions they make in the future. This simple activity can boost their creativity and confidence to pick up artistic skills, such as photography.
Both of our boys still speak of the fun they had on that day. They loved being able to play with all the props and, of course, the chance to dress up daddy as Superman!
About a week after the shoot, we received a link to the photos taken by PhotoBox’s photographers. The kids and I were so pleased to see how much fun we so visibly had that day. The team at PhotoBox really took some wonderful images, documenting how our boys took pictures when I was performing my antics in fancy dresses. And, to top it off, I came home from work the other day to be surprised by a really wonderful Father’s Day gift, all those wonderful memories of the day and some truly forgettable memories in my own life. A cushion that I can hold on to for years to come!
You can see me and the other dads in action at the photoshoot in this lovely little video footage of the day, put together by PhotoBox on Facebook.
PhotoBox’s campaign to put Dads back in the frame
“Mums prefer Dad taking the family photos”
That’s a whopping 68% of mums who prefer that dad takes control of the camera when taking family photos and it works out well because 61% of dads believe they are better at taking photos anyway, as revealed by personalised photo gifting service, PhotoBox. They found that reasons ranging from a love for gadgets to being embarrassed to be in front of the camera, were why two/thirds of dads prefer to be the one taking the family photos. In fact, 34% admitted to avoiding family photos altogether!
Competition to win a free session at the PhotoBox Kids’ Photo Studio
“Families are forever growing, changing, and experiencing new things together. Through photography, we can capture those special and everyday family moments so that we can celebrate them again and again. When we discovered that Dads were missing from many of the family pics, we were astounded! And knew something had to be done to rectify this. Our Kids’ studio will help put Dad back in the frame and celebrate his great moments with the family too.” Robert May, Global Marketing Director at PhotoBox.
In a bid to put Dads back in the frame this Father’s Day, PhotoBox is opening a photo studio run entirely by kids for one day only, where everyone has the chance to take part and dad is the star. All you need to do is enter the #FocusOnDad competition at www.photobox.co.uk/focusondad.
Professional Photography tips from father-of three
Professional photographer and father-of-three Darren Coleshill of Photalife shares his own top tips for parents:
1. Pick the right camera from experience, picking the right camera is key – there’s really no point in getting them an expensive all singing all dancing camera, but equally a disposable camera isn’t right for them either.
A simple basic camera with a zoom and importantly a screen is perfect. Even a phone with a camera is fine. Children need to see what they have taken a photo of and this needs to be instant, not a few days later!
2. Holding the camera Before you get them to snap away show them how to hold the camera. If they are using a phone, then showing them a grip where they hold it in each corner is normally good. Show them what happens if fingers are in front of the lens. No one enjoys looking through photos where little fingers are in the way. Show them beforehand so they won’t get disappointed when you look back at the photos later.
3. Setting up the photo When getting children interested in taking photos don’t bombard them with too much information. The best way to start is to tell them to start by getting everything in the canter then they won’t go too far wrong. This is where having a screen is ideal as they can see exactly what they’re taking a photo of.
4. Experiment The beauty of digital photos and smartphones is that you can take endless amounts of photos and it doesn’t matter. If they get a disposable camera then it’s limited to 24 or 36, which is no good. My tip would be to give them a camera on a day out and just let them snap away. You can then look back over them together and pick out their favourites, or work on different ways they can improve.
5. Get Up Close On most cameras there will be some form of zoom, but also explain to them that if something looks too far away then move up to the subject so more of the point of interest is in the photo. This may be easier said then done, but let them find out what they like and what works best for them.
6. Focus on Interesting Things Why are they taking that photo? Once they’ve got the basics of actually taking a photo get them to take photos of interest. What catches their eye? If it was an animal or person get them to focus on that and fill the photo with the thing they found interesting.
You can tell PhotoBox all about the special Dad in your life who deserves a treat, by sending a #FocusOnDad on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook
*Motherhood Diaries and the family were invited to a photoshoot, hosted by PhotoBox, but all comments and opinions are 100% our own. *