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Shot 3Shot 2-123

They say never work with children and animals, I didn’t listen. I have always loved doing photo shoots with kids. It can be challenging but mostly great fun and so rewarding. My favourite game as a child was dressing up and I suppose I’ve never wanted this fun to stop.

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So what happens on these shoots? Well in the stylist’s case so much happens before you even get to the shoot. First of all, the client briefs me by phone or email. Then I’m out in all weathers sourcing the clothes, accessories and props. Most days I’m staggering up and down Oxford Street laden with clothes like a glorified bag lady. Kids clothes vary so much in sizes so I tend to get 3 different sizes per child – so all those bags weigh a ton. Well at least I get a free daily workout!

Dress DKNY
Dress DKNY

Just before the shoot a meeting with the client and photographer happens. I always think it’s the stylist’s version of the primary school “Show and Tell.” I take everything into the offices for approval and we thoroughly go through the clothes and props. Everyone then knows what we are doing and a shot list can be compiled.

Clothes Their Nibs and Ralph Lauren
Clothes Their Nibs and Ralph Lauren

Then comes the shoot day! The crew – photographer, assistant, make-up artist and stylist arrive at least an hour before the kids. Preparation is everything. I hang up all the clothes on rails and lay out all the accessories and props. As any parent know kids get bored very easily. So as soon as the little ones breeze into the studio, they are whisked into make-up, quickly dressed and on the set before they can say er, ‘cheese’. I love styling kids because of their playful nature you can get away with dressing them up as theatrically as you wish! I usually choose one hero piece like a mad hat, vintage spectacles or eccentric prop and style the look around it.

Clothes Ralph Lauren
Clothes Ralph Lauren

To get the best shots it’s vital to have a good natured, patient team that can really engage with the kids. The photographer takes the lead, either directing the children or setting up little games for them and then capturing that magical moment when the kids are engrossed in play. The stylist is also expected to be the entertainer. I have a Mary Poppins style bag packed with balloons, party blowers and bubbles. I’m a wow with my feather tickling stick – Ken Dodd would be proud. Over the years I have learnt every dance move by The Spice Girls, The Macarena, every flipping verse of ‘The Wheels Of The Bus’ and my knowledge of One Direction is legendary!

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But what about the tantrums you ask? What tantrums? We leave those to the supermodels.



photography Richard Burns, Hair & Make-up Sally Kvalheim, Styling Becky John, Location

  • What a great article – informative, upbeat, and I can hear your voice – a joy to read!


    29th October 2014

  • Thank you!


    29th October 2014

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