As a family photographer in Winchester, my work is understandably seasonal. Spring and Autumn are particularly busy periods for me, so before the crazy periods build up, I like to be able to do something called a personal project. Personal projects are all about keeping the creative juices flowing as well as giving yourself the chance to practise any new skills or techniques that you want to perfect. Last year I photographed eyes, active kids and then I sat babies in hollowed-out pumpkins (well why not!?)
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I realised that I had a period of two weeks which would be quiet (before the explosion of shoots I have coming up) and I didn’t want to use that quiet time sitting in my office – I wanted to use it constructively and creatively! And that is when I realised that Easter was fast approaching and how much fun it would be to dress babies up as Easter bunnies!!!
Bring on the Bunnies
As always, my personal projects start with a request on social media for models. I always ensure that my clients understand that it’ll be a free shoot but I will require their consent to use the images for advertising and marketing purposes.
I was immediately inundated with mums, as crazy as me, who thought that dressing their baby/toddler up as an Easter bunny was an excellent idea and so the project was borne!
One of the Mums who contacted me was a lovely lady called Selina who actually manages a facebook and instagram account called Outnumbered_by_five. Yes that is right – she has five children – one lovely four year old girl and 20 month old quads. Three of whom are identical! That sounds fun, I thought. I like a challenge, I thought! How hard can it be, I thought, so she was booked in!
The props and outfits I researched and purchased were as a result of conversations with Selina. We knew that we’d need to have four bunny costumes at once so we coukd capture the quads altogether, and so the mammoth task of buying props commenced. Amazingly I have a very talented friend called Jodie who has started her own crochet business called Hares and Bees, and I was able to request some goodies from her (the knitted hats were her creation as was a beautiful hat and nappy cover set which sadly never got worn thanks to snow making an appearance on the day!!!) I was so excited when the stunning bits arrived the next week and absolutely could not wait to get the babies all dressed up.
So I had my props, I had a list of babies and so it was just down to location. I knew that I would be shooting low to the ground as I have found that is the best angle when shooting little people, so just wanted to make sure that I had somewhere with some nice colour in the background, preferably daffodils given they’re so seasonal and perfect for this kind of shoot! But have you ever actually looked for large patches of daffodils that you can place babies in front of and then get a reasonable distance away from to shoot at? Most daffodils appear at the sides of roads or, even less conveniently, in the middle of roundabouts! Thankfully though I was able to find a beautiful patch in Hilliers so we were good to go!
As is always the case with being an outdoor family photographer, you are at the mercy of the weather. Sometimes it can be incredible and other times it can be less so! My first two shoots were in such bright light that it got stressful and we had to look for shade. The third day had to be cancelled sadly due to the heavy rain downpours and then the fourth day had to be cut short thanks to the snowfall that arrived 10 minutes after the beautiful sun went in! Talk about four seasons in one day!!
The shoots themselves were incredible fun. How could they not be – we dressed babies up as fluffy bunnies and gave them carrots to hold!!! I had also brought with me a laundry basket for the younger ones to sit in along with some colourful eggs to play with.
Have you ever seen a photographer and mum simultaenously try to get the attention of a baby? It’s the funniest thing in the world – we had squeaky toys, head gear, chocolates (for the older ones), stupid voices and a lot of singing and blowing raspberries! It must’ve been hilarious to watch from the sidelines but do you know what? It worked!!! Over three days I shot a range of children in age from 11 weeks to 3 1/2 years and we suceeded in getting cool/funny/scrummy photos for all of them.
So next year we are set up and good to go! Is it wrong that I am excited already?
In the meantime, if you are ever interested in subjecting your child to one of my personal projects, just keep a look out for my requests on social media.
And from me and all my Easter bunnies – Happy Easter to you all!