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?

Group shot with all looking at the camera except for 9 year old Mac.

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. 😉

Group photo with everyone looking in a different direction.

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.

A group shot where the group are directed to look wherever the pwd is looking, so all eyes focussed on the same 'off camera' spot.

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?



Filed under Access all Areas, Inclusion... straight up!, things that make me go "glll"

8 responses to “exposure…

  1. Jeshyr

    Wow, that really makes a huge difference and I would not have thought of either of those techniques!! Things that come to mind that I would try – not having CP or regular close contact with anybody with it – would just be wait to shoot. Most of the friends that I’ve had with CP who could not orient themselves in the usual “say cheese” two second maximum still had enough head control that they could do it if given longer to do so. Depending on who else is in the photo and how long the orientation takes, this may require a photographer who can tell a decent joke to hold everybody’s attention! I will definitely store up your techniques for future use …

  2. Gina

    You are right R time and/or plenty of shots also helps 😉

  3. Shari

    That is amazing but simple advice. I am SO going to pass it on to my friends that would be facing the same situation. LOVE IT!!!! Thank you. 🙂 Actually …. it’s so good I’m going to repost it as a comment on Facebook. I hope you don’t mind, but this is too good to keep just to ourselves. I’ll be sure to reference you great work.

  4. Gina

    Shari, share away xx

  5. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges.

    It was definitely informative. Your site is useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!


  6. vicky

    Great tips Gina ! We had a photographer here last Saturday to take some shots for Variety Club. I was dreading it as it is hard to get a good photo of Courtney. As the time for the photographer arrived Courtney got sleepy and so began her convergence issues and her tongue started sticking out – oh no what to do ? I thought this is going to take forever to get a good shot. I went to brush my hair and put some lippy on and came out to see the photographer had set up infront of our old stable and had Courtney totally engaged laughing and smiling and even waving – great shots of Courtney and Jack were already done and she was just waiting for me to do the family shots – I was so impressed ! I’m waiting for her to send me a disk with copies, So perhaps a caring, fun, engaging photographer can also make a big difference.

  7. vicky

    Hey why do I have this grumpy face next to me all the time – where are the smiley faces ???

  8. What a creative family you are. I learn from you as well as you learning from me. I love you all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s