Anders Hald shoots children
Anders Hald is one of the world’s leading photographers of children. His Autumn/Winter 2009 campaign for Danish children’s wear designer Sofie Schnoor was selected for the 2009 CR Photography Annual. Unfortunately, due to a production error, his images were not included in print, so we are publishing them in full here while Hald shares some of the techniques that he has learned over five years of challenging that old adage about never working with children and animals.
Petit by Sofie Schnoor, AW09. Photographer: Anders Hald. Styling: Sofie Schnoor. Make-up: Marianne Rud
CR: Can you tell us a little about the project that was selected for the Photography Annual?
AH: The label is called Petit by Sofie Schnoor. This campaign (one shown above) is from the first shoot I did for her. I have since shot both SS10 for Petit and two women¹s shoe labels also designed by Sofie. She’s a really interesting client to work with. A month or two before the shoot she will give me a list of things that have inspired the collection, images, movies, locations, bits of children’s TV and ask me to suggest locations and a treatment for the shoot. If she likes my suggestions, I have more or less a free hand on the shoot, obviously supervised by her. For the SS10 collection the inspiration for the collection came from a 1970's Swedish children’s show called The White Stone (Den Vita Stenen). Sofie tends to like images of kids that are dark and moody, and kids that are quite intense in their presence.
Also from Petit by Sofie Schnoor, AW09
CR: What is your background? when did you start to specialise in this area?
AH: I have been a freelance photographer for 13 years this November and the last five years I have specialised in shooting kids. Actually it was my agent Alan Wickes who suggested that I should put together a portfolio of images of kids. I'd done a couple of advertising shoots that involved children (Mastercard print ads, a Danish Lottery campaign, a spec shoot for BBDO that unfortunately never ran, and some personal work featuring kids) so we decided to start pushing a kids book. I have shot POS campaigns for StartRite kids’ shoes both UK and Europe, several editorial shoots for Junior Magazine and campaigns for a number of Danish children’s wear designers including Sofie Schnoor, Ida T, Laniel and PomPom shoes.
More from Petit by Sofie Schnoor, AW09.
CR: A lot of ad campaigns featuring children are very sickly sweet, how do you avoid that?
AH: I prefer kids that are allowed to express a wider range of emotions than the 'look how cute I am when I am smiling' genre of kids images. I get really annoyed when I see big budget advertising productions, where every last detail in the image is 100% perfect, and the kid carrying the whole thing wears an obviously fake and laboured smile that doesn't fool anyone, to me that ruins everything. If the kid isn't believable, the campaign falls apart.
Anders Hald with model
CR: We read a lot about the parents of child models being overly pushy and exploiting their kids, have you found that a problem? How do you guard against that?
AH: Fortunately it happens extremely rarely that I get the feeling that the modelling career is based more on the parents’ ambition than the child’s. When it happens it is usually with a kid who is doing his or her first or second job as it very quickly becomes apparent that the child does not really want to be there. If the child is reluctant, I don’t get good images and we send the child home. Obviously that isn’t a good basis for a career in child modelling and if the parents don’t pick up on that, the child modelling agencies certainly will let the parents know. I work very closely with the child modelling agencies, and always report back after a shoot on how the kids did. It is useful for them to know if a child tends to be shy at first or if a child is very confident, they can advise other photographers on the personality of the individual child, as they advice me. If I get a feeling that the parents of a child are too pushy or the child does not enjoy working as a model, I let the model agency know and they take that sort of information seriously.
Petit by Sofie Schnoor, SS10 campaign
CR: A lot of the laws and regulations regarding working with children have been tightened up recently, how has this affected your work?
AH: When the licensing laws were introduced, it changed the way shoots are produced. Because of the paperwork now involved in working with kids, production times needs to be longer. It is no longer possible to decide on which models to use a few days before a shoot, as it takes about a week to get the paper work through the individual councils where the children reside. Child welfare officers often turn up on shoots. They check the paperwork, that there is a designated first aid person and so on. I don’t know if it has improved child welfare, I can’t work with kids who are not happy and well cared for, but it has certainly complicated the production process. Thankfully my agent is completely on top of it, so it is not something I deal with, but Alan personally delivers and collects all the forms to and from the proper authorities in the days leading up to the shoot. It is essential for me to have the support of an agent who has so much experience with production, otherwise it would be really difficult to pull the shoots off. Then again, it’s another good reason to book a photographer who has experience with shooting kids.
Petit by Sofie Schnoor, SS10 campaign
CR: Most people would imagine that working with children, as the old adage goes, is very difficult: how do you ensure that the shoot goes smoothly and, more importantly, how do you safeguard the welfare of the children themselves and make sure that they are happy?
AH: When shooting kids it is essential to plan the shoot well and with consideration to the age groups you are shooting. First off, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, and make sure that all technical aspects of the shoot are sorted, before the kids even arrive (good assistants are essential). Once the kids arrive it is up to me to establish a rapport with them, to make sure that I have them on my side. Then you need to be flexible in managing the shoot, as kids will bump their heads, get hungry, tired, bored and silly, so that at the end of the day you can deliver exactly what the client wanted, in spite of tears and tantrums. A nice calm atmosphere at the shoot is important. Panic will spread like a wildfire to the kids, so must be avoided at all cost. Food is important too. Healthy snacks and fruit early in the day, and sugar rich treats at the end of the day to entice the last bit of effort out of the kids. I always recommend double-booking kids models, no matter how good a kid is at the casting, it is no guarantee they will perform on the day...kids are kids, we need to plan according to that.
Petit by Sofie Schnoor, SS10 campaign
When directing kids it’s important to be patient, quite often I can’t just ask for what I want, but rather I need to spend a little time trying different things out with the kid first. That way I get a sense of how the child responds to direction and a chance to figure out what to do to get the right look from the child, whether it is surprise, a genuine smile or a more serious look. Once you get it, you often only get one chance to capture it. With regards to the childrens welfare and happiness, it is really quite simple, if the kids aren’t enjoying themselves, I don’t get good images. As soon as a child gets fed up, you’ve pretty much had it. So it is very important that the child wants to be there. It often happens that a child gets tired or isn’t having a good day, children can’t ingore that the way adults can, and for that reason I always recommend to the client that we double book the kids models. That gives us the freedom to change between the models, give them breaks when they need it, or send a child home if we need to. If both kids work on the day, great! It’s more choice for the client.
Editorial for Junior magazine. This shot was included in last year's CR Photography Annual and has also won first place in the Prix De La Photographie Fashion category
Our apologies go to Anders Hald for the error regarding his work in the Photography Annual
i've worked with anders for many years, and he is a gentleman and a scholar... amazing shots my friend! now when are you going to shoot my kids? :)
This photo shoot with kids is an interesting article. You see one of the fun things with shooting with kids is that they love the camera and they love to pose. It is just that you have to direct them and you must make them understand what you want the shoot to be. You have to make them see the idea and the story behind the pictorial.
"Anders Hald shoots children!"
Now there's a title that could be mis-interpreted!
Anders shots are absolutely beautiful and have caught my eye on several occasions as a photographer we would love to use on shoots. He captures what we most adore, the innocence of children. The frowns, natural day dreaming looks, it's not all sweetness and smiles, that just wouldn't be real. As a designer of a Childrens brand I know the importance of great photography, to capture the collection as a whole feeling rather than just an items details. For me personally, I think Anders achieves this beautifully with all of his shots. Credit, where credit is due. Well done Anders.
Beautiful photos, and a very interesting article. I must say the title 'Anders Hald shoots children' is what caught my attention first! Some very insightful comments in the article, things I wouldn't have thought of when dealing with children, but seem obvious when pointed out!
I love those pictures...
Some fantastic photographs and a real insight into how Anders works. Really interesting article. As a photographer I've worked with a lot of chirldren, mainly at events and festivals, but I've never used any via modelling agencies - might have to try some of Anders' techniques and give it a go !
Wonderful to see reality in fashion
I really connect with the different moods Anders is able to create with his images, and his style is quite unique. Well done and congratulations for getting the recognition you deserve Anders!
A master photographer of children - ah! I thought - this will be good, must see if i can pick up some great tips.
Boy was I dissappointed.
I really really hate these boring pictures with grumpy pissed off cross-eyed children with no depth of field, no colour, no excitement, no JOY. As a parent I certainly wouldn't buy the clothes shown. I would class them as snaps - no craft, no added value. Quite honestly If I had shot them I would reject the lot. This shows what I have suspected for some time- the standard of what is acceptable in commercial photography is slipping.
Steve, i'm afraid to say I don't agree, and neither do the experienced, knowledgable people who presented him all the awards he has won.
He is a brilliant photographer and these photographs are pleasing and inspirational for me and many others.
You wouldn't reject these photographs if you'd taken them, you'd accept the awards and publicity and jump around like an excited child, then I'd photograph that and see if you accept the joy in these photographs. Unfortunately you won't recieve such recognition.
What a great article and a great set of photographs. I particularly like the fact that this is not a typical set of happy, smiley kids photo's. Use of directional light and limited depth of field, really takes these shots to another level !!
As a professional portrait photographer working mostly with kids over many years, I can heartily agree with Anders about kids getting fed up and tired very quickly. All my work has been studio based and is mostly for the parents of the child. I know that if the above photos were for the parents then most of them would be rejected. I do agree again with Anders that you have to get that natural look, no forced smiles etc. Looking serious will always attract a lot of parents and when doing a close up "Pencil Portrait" my name for my High Key type pictures, a gentle smile or serious look will always work. Obviously the images are for "commercial" use, and are there to convey a different message but if the above images are to sell clothes, I'm afraid the expressions would not attract me to the brand. Having said all that, as photographs of kids they are very natural and well controlled.
Very creative photos.I love them.
What masterpieces! Im a great fan of Anders Hald's. I'm not able to take my eyes off these photos. The kids are intense, their eyes speak volumes. He seems to understand kids and how their minds work very well. No wonder he's good at photographing them.
Its looking very nice, how real it is, each photos are looking great . there nothing beautiful in this world more than children and when we are talking about photographer of children who don't about Anders Hald is one of the world’s leading photographers of children. Thanks for sharing this post.
The pictures look very impressive! The children also are really lovely. They have own beauty more than others.
I must admit that Anders Hald indeed a great photographer I have ever known before. Thanks for excellent support there.
Looking serious will always attract a lot of parents and when doing a close up "Pencil Portrait" my name for my High Key type pictures, a gentle smile or serious look will always work. Obviously the images are for "commercial" use, and are there to convey a different message but if the above images are to sell clothes, I'm afraid the expressions would not attract me to the brand. Having said all that, as photographs of kids they are very natural and well controlled.
I like to take a couple of approaches when it comes to lenses. The main approach I take is to make use of a lens with some actual zoom capability. I am liking to get my 70-200mm lens out which lets me shoot from a distance and yet still fill the frame with the kid I’m photographing (this lens also has the advantage of being speedy (f2.8) and having picture stabilization) - even my 24-105mm lens gives lovely range at the 105mm finish. The other approach that can be fun is to shoot at the other finish of the spectrum and shoot with a wide angle point of view. Getting in lovely and close with a wide lens can give all kinds of fun distortion (which when used creatively can lead to some amazing shots). If shooting inside or in poor lighting you might also need to go with the quickest lens in your bag
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beutiful, professional pictures. Anders Hald is really talented photographer.
I must say the title 'Anders Hald shoots children' is what caught my attention first! Some very insightful comments in the article, things thongs I wouldn't have thought of when dealing with children, but seem obvious when pointed ou
This shows what I have suspected for some time- the standard of what is acceptable in commercial photography is slipping,thanks for sharing...........................
mah jong free
kozaÄky also is very beautiful.
The photos are wonderful !!!
Where do you take kids like these from the theatre?
I have to agree with an earlier post in that seeing pictures of children looking too serious would probably put me off the brand. But Anders is an extremely talented photographer and his work is superb but better suited to gallery work.
The composition of these photos are absolutely gorgeous. I like the idea of children being stylish but I agree with everyone else in that they are a little too serious. Next time consider showcasing youth and excitement instead of stoicism.
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I like all these pictures
Wow.. Excellent photos.. It looks too pretty..
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