This was a great job for me and involved visiting three schools around Belfast to take photos for Barnardos’ All Stars programme which takes place in these schools. The three schools were Ashfield Girls school, St.Patricks and Belfast Boys Model school.
The programme, as stated on the Barnardos website is “…a school based early intervention programme which aims to prevent young people from engaging in behaviours that will put their health and well-being at risk.”
The programme runs during normal school hours and my job was to visit each school and come away with a selection of images of the kids learning and interacting with the teacher/each other. These were actual lessons for the kids in the photos and I had permission to photograph them all. At the same time I didn’t want to get in the way of the lesson and I wanted to minimise how distracting it can be to kids having someone with a big camera and lens turn up to take photos during school!
I wanted to get as many candid shots of the kids as I could during the short amount of time I had during a normal 35 min lesson. I used mainly natural light for these shots, there were a couple of classrooms that were a bit dark and I used a couple of portable speedlights for those. I also used a mixture of telephoto and wide lenses depending on how interactive/energetic the lessons were. During the quieter lessons I used a telephoto lens to stay around the edge of the room and get photos of the teacher and kids talking to each other. There were a few times group activities took place and during these rowdier times I could get quite close to the kids with a wide angle lens such as the shot below.
This job was good fun and the kids were all quite happy to have their photos taken, in fact at one of the schools there were two ‘All Stars’ lessons taking place at the same time, we’d decided however to only photograph one lesson, however halfway through the class I was told the other class were disappointed they hadn’t been photographed! I ended up running between lessons to make sure I covered both classes. I’ve added a selection of image below taken from the three different schools.