JUJUNI - Behind the scenes of a commercial shoot with kids!
Never work with children or animals they say.
Many years ago I worked as a veterinary nurse for two years. And now I’m a family and commercial photographer. So clearly I don’t listen to reason!
This particular child-packed shoot started as an idea back in early-2018. I was contacted by Jujuni, a new kidswear brand and there the fun began!
Jujuni is run by brother and sister duo, Ben Russell and Alice Russell. They were planning their brand and product launch and with 10 years family photography experience as well as my 10 years marketing experience (yes I’ve packed in a lot over the years!) this felt like the perfect fit.
And - I just love dungarees on children, so this was a dream job to photograph surely?
But setting up a business is never straightforward of course.
Production delays and alternations, and getting everything just perfect just takes time. Ben and Alice are so passionate about the product, it was fantastic to work with clients with an undefeatable enthusiasm for fashion, for their brand, and clear vision for what they wanted to achieve. You would not believe how much effort went into sourcing the perfect materials, the exact right colours, improving the fit, and then improving it further - even when that meant delaying the whole brand launch, because everything just had to be the best it can possibly be.
However this does prove a little tricky for the photographer, when booking shoot locations, applying for licences for each model and co-ordinating the child models and their parents. Production delays meant the shoots had to be rescheduled twice, but thankfully I love a good spreadsheet and all my model mums were patient and super helpful, so all well that ends..fantastically!
BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE WILMSLOW SHOOT - Ben checking poppers all popped / supermodel Harrison striking his pose / me on the floor as per usual
When searching for our shoot locations we had a clear idea of what we wanted - a stylish but light and airy home. As soon as her friend Louise suggested it, Nikki Hill’s amazing Wilmslow home seemed perfect for the job.
It worked fantastically, with several fabulous spots for working with the children and very reliable light, so that the studio lighting was generally unnecessary - a great bonus if you want to capture more natural lifestyle shots such as these showing the clothes in their everyday use, and showing off the colours of the organic corduroy beautifully.
We then found a second amazing venue in Chorlton - more about that in a later blog post - and the vision was starting to come to life.
A key part of getting a natural response from the children and the type of photographs in the client’s brief was to use toys that fitted with the Jujuni ethos and brand, showing children in a natural play-based situation.
Using organic fabrics and with a strong sustainable ethos, Jujuni seemed to fit perfectly with wooden and natural toys which, by happy accident, are fantastic to photograph! After thorough testing with my various subjects over the day I can confirm the clear favourite was the Plantoys wooden robot toy, closely followed by the Grimms natural rainbow.
With special mention to the utterly genius wooden magnetic blocks by Tegu. I wish I’d had these with my kids!
ABOVE : CLOTHES- Navy & green dungarees, Fish print top, Vegetable print top & Stripe print top / MODELS - Kyzo (Instagram)
One particular feature of Nikki’s house that I love is her swing egg chair. When I visited the house at a pre-shoot prep meeting, I was convinced that the chair might be a distraction to the kids.
Would you believe very few of the younger children wanted a swing in the chair? What are the chances?
And as I never ask children do anything they don’t want to do, there aren’t many photos of it - except those minority of children who were keen as mustard..
But I know for certain that by the end of the shoot Alice, Ben and me were all wondering where we might fit a swing chair in each of our own houses!