The Belfast Children’s Festival is run by Young at Art, a not for profit children’s arts organisation. Set up in 1998, its mission is to bring artistic brilliance and adventure to children today and inspire creativity and curiosity for their future. Alongside the festival, Young at Art is working with communities, artists and schools year-round to help children and young people to experience the arts, both local and international.
The launch for this years festival happened a few days ago on the 31st January right in the heart of Belfast and i was there to cover it. It would be a short job but there would be a lot packed in. The first part of the morning was to get some PR/Press shots to promote the show. Justin from the Belfast Telegraph and Hugh from the Irish News were also there as arts minister, Caral Ni Chuilin was in attendance. The Belfast Children’s Festival is now a major event well established in the arts calendar of Belfast.
The first shot would be a group photo with the arts minister and the kids from Blackmountain Primary School. After this was in the bag we moved out side to get a few shots of the minister with just two of the children. The shots would be simple but kept tight. Both Hugh and Justin used a mixture of ambient light and on camera flash. I chose to step it up a little and used two off camera speedlights fitted with flash benders.
After the we got the press shots the next part of the Belfast Children’s Festival launch would see the arts minister briefly speak along side representatives of Young At Art and The Arts Council Of Northern Ireland. I kept the flash benders on the speedlights and positioned them in the room to make sure i had an even spread of light. I would usually use Nikon’s built in infrared CLS system to trigger the speedlights but because the room was very dark and lined in black paint i did not want to risk the speedlights not firing because the signal from the camera couldn’t reach them. Thankfully i had my Phottix Stratto’s to hand which whilst not able to handle TTL signals work on radio which meant they would fire every time.
After photographing the key speakers the last task of the morning was to send them out to press. With laptop in hand i downloaded the images, picked the best shots and quickly edited them. Laura, the festival’s PR person was with me also which meant we would also be able to quickly caption the images. This means that when the pictures are sent to local press and online outlets they can open the image and get a brief description of whats going on. Check out the screen shot below, the caption is entered in the box on the right hand side. When ever newspapers open this image they can open the caption dialog to read what i have written in.
With all the images captioned like the one above i uploaded them to Box online storage which means rather than emailing out loads of photos which can jam up people’s inboxes they are sent a single link which will take them to a gallery where they can download the photo.
I was asked to cover last years festival and i feel very fortunate to be asked to cover it again this year. If you are interested in seeing what happened last year check out this link for some of the best pictures. Dont forget to check back here at the start of March as i will be uploading images from this years Belfast Children’s Festival to this blog on a daily basis. Dont forget you can check out these images and more on my facebook page as well.