A Tail of Two Photocalls
The old showbiz saying goes “never work with children or animals” so when my colleagues joked about the plans to work with both in some upcoming photocalls, I laughed.
The first project was the announcement of the re-opening of the much loved Airfield Estate in Dundrum. Given that the estate is a long-time favourite of Dublin parents looking to entertain and educate their children, photos with children enjoying the great new facilities were a no-brainer. Having rounded up four ‘little helpers’ including a good friend’s four year old twins and my eight year old nephew, we recreated a Victorian feel by sourcing period clothes for the children.
As we started shooting, we hit the first bump – one of the children slipped off the original Victorian rocking horse and accidentally bumped her head off the floor. Thankfully, plenty of sympathy and tissues sorted that problem out. A much bigger challenge was getting our ‘models’ to smile at the camera at the same time – it was at this point I started to appreciate the virtues of professional PR models!
Having said that, working with Airfield’s great props like their vintage car collection, our child models came up trumps for several great shots, including the front cover of the Irish Times.
As the next project focussed on man’s best friend – a joint initiative by Dublin’s four local authorities to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pet – it provided the perfect opportunity to line up a photocall with animals. Thanks to Selene Alford and the Irish Kennel Club, I was able to source some Irish Wolfhounds and some particularly tiny ‘teacup’ terriers. Coupled with the dogs owned by the Mayor of the Dublin Regional Authority, Cllr. Lettie McCarthy, and Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Cllr. Carrie Smyth, we had more than enough doggies to help give our launch legs. Not forgetting the campaign’s celebrity ambassador, comedian Tara Flynn and her gorgeous cocker spaniel Oscar. The main prop in this case was a giant sized dog bone with the ‘Dog Fouling Hotline’ number on it.
As each of our dogs was accompanied by its owner, all of the photos worked perfectly, from the shot of each of the five Dublin Mayors walking their dog down South King Street to the individual shots of the mayor.
Again, the photos were used widely with the story of the launch by both online and print media.
So, while certainly a lot more challenging than working with professional models who smile on cue, if relevant to the story and combined with the right props, children and animals can produce some really great PR results.