Last week Mac made the trek to UOW (Dad’s University) for his participation in a session on ‘exposure to people with disabilities’.
You can read about the where/what/why here on Shawn’s most recent blog post over at Disability + Media Matters.
At the end of the session we gave an extra bit of ‘secret Mac business’ to these future journos by sharing a couple of our ‘tried and tested’ tips on how to photograph a group shot when “someone in the shot”, courtesy of some ‘not so great head control’, is often looking in the opposite direction to the rest of the group.
Seems like such a minor thing (and some might say superficial)… but could a poorly considered shot be enough for that person to be devalued in the eyes of another, could it send the message that they “aren’t even aware of their surroundings” and therefore “really disabled” rather than someone simply having poor head control?
EXAMPLE ONE: point & shoot…
Traditional shot where you expect to have the whole group ‘looking down the barrel’
As you can see, Mac is NOT looking at the camera, in this instance it actually looks like he is looking at me so isn’t too bad, but what other techniques can we use?
EXAMPLE TWO: every which way but front…
Potentially a more social and natural looking shot than the one above. The person with the disability isn’t the ‘stand out’ as the only person not looking at the camera. Certainly works much better when the shot is actually in focus. ;-)
EXAMPLE THREE: follow Mac’s eyes…
This is my favourite, particularly when you get a run of three or so pics in succession. Basically, the photographer (or a buddy beside them) will tell everyone where to look based on where Mac is looking. We have plenty of birthday cake shots with everyone looking to the same spot Mac is – which is rarely at the cake – it’s much more fun imagining what may have had everyone’s attention when you look back years later. Once again, the person with the disability isn’t the only one looking away, it’s much more “look, is it a bird, is it a plane…” by the entire group.
So, there it is, “Secret Mac Business” and, in the words of my husband, “consider yourselves exposed”.
Do you have any tips and tricks to share?