Posts tagged with "school"

Retirement album for Headmistress

I was approached this Summer by a lovely school who wanted to dedicate an album to a wonderful head teacher who as retiring at the end of the year.

It was an amazing album to work on – collated into years, it contained artwork and letters  from every child at the school, memories on post cards from parents, teachers and staff and diary entries from the previous Headmasters describing the career of the now retiring Head.

The opening page

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

The school provided graphics and photos from around the school, art cards found in the Head’s office and key words that represented the ethos of the school. All were incorporated in to the album.

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

There was so much material, I simply couldn’t fit it all on the pages so I crafted white folded inserts to slip into the album, these folded out and housed every piece of artwork.

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

The school were very keen to make the album as personal as possible so I crafted two bespoke albums to house the pages and the additional material. The theme was one of the sea and relaxation. I crafted a bespoke box to the back and printed both the cover and the lining of the albums.

Bespoke personalised scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker Bespoke personalised scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker Bespoke personalised scrapbook album by The Scrapbooker

The Headmistress was delighted with the album

Retirement scrapbook album at the Scrapbooker

and the school sent me a lovely testimonial


You can find further samples of my work in the gallery.

If you are interested in commissioning a scrapbook album for someone’s retirement, wedding, birthday or special occasion, Email Me , I would love to hear from you.

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The highs and lows of school photography

Some of you may or may not be aware that I have a little photography business going on as well as my Scrapbooker site. I don’t do any major advertising for it and rely mostly on referrals and word of mouth. This works great for me as I get to pretty much pick and choose the projects I want to get involved in.

My youngest daughter attends a fantastic school in Birmingham and my involvement with them on a professional basis has increased over the last 3 years, culminating in a request for me to take their school photos this year. Of course I said yes, but I have to admit, the whole project filled me with fear – their school children range from 6 months to 16 years!

Never work with children or animals, my father used to tell me – bit late for that. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos of children – there is something so captivating about capturing their innocence, naivety and fun; but taking school photos is a completely different animal. You don’t get an hour to play with lighting or angles, you don’t get a arming up session where the children get to know you and be comfortable with you and  you don’t get to make the slight adjustments to their posture, pose or facial expression. You get 1/2 hour set-up and about 15 seconds per child, most of that is taken up with seating them correctly, straightening their clothes and attempting to make them smile (of sorts) – they hardly have time to warm the seat!

All things said though, it was enormous fun, albeit exhausting, and has given me a new-found respect for school photographers. We did get some fantastic shots, especially the friendship shots we offered some of the seniors, and the shots of some of the babies and toddlers, although tasking, rewarded us (and the Mums) with some rare photographs of their children actually smiling and not crying. Clearly a result.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! The rewards, both financially and professionally, are well worth it, especially if you are prepared to work long, hard hours and have your patience tested to the max! But I would definitely do some things differently, and that for me is what photography is all about – learning from your experiences and fine tuning them for next time – that is, of course, should there ever be a next time!

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Producing the goods

I have many nephews (5 to be exact) and 1 niece – all of which are Superstars in their own rights AND in their own ways. They are all great characters (it must be the Shill genes…) but every now and again one or even two of them leave me in a state of shock or wonderment at something they have achieved, gained or experienced.

Take Tyla for example. Tyla is NOT your average 14 year old. His appearance strikes you immediately – a skinny kid with a massive afro (frequently seen embedded with an afro comb) and a huge cheeky grin. Yes, he possesses all the usual teenager issues and attitudes BUT this is a kid, for example, that will put himself up to play netball  ‘coz the girls dig it’  and not only play, but play well! His speech can drive you to distraction so laden is it with hip-hop slang, Chav speak and lazy english you could mistake this lad for an ignorant, vacuous yob until you spend more than 5 minutes talking to him and realise he’s doing it deliberately to wind you up, get your attention and amuse himself; attention, I may add, you gladly give because he is so amusing.

TylaNow, last year was a bad year for Tyla. Sometimes this cheeky chappy just doesn’t know when to say no or when to put the brakes on his jovial ‘bad-self’. His friendship with several other notorious pupils keen to exploit his need for attention and acceptance coupled with his somewhat challenging attitude towards authority saw him get several suspensions and a near expulsion from school – one more offense and he was out and he had only just started the New Year! Now, this isn’t a bad kid, just an intelligent, bored kid with a real need for attention and recognition – he was just looking for it in the wrong place. His poor mother, along with the rest of us, held her breath ’til the end of the year when the slate would be wiped clean and he could start afresh.

And start afresh he did!

New teachers and a fresh start have seen him adjust his attitude, knuckle down and produce the goods… and oh has he produced the goods. Last Thursday his Mom popped in for her morning cuppa armed with a thick bright orange, dog-eared school book, a big grin and a request from Tyla to ‘show Aunty Andrea’ something special. The book it turns out was his Maths book from this year (September 08 – March 09). At first I was a little bemused but as I slowly turned the pages I realised that I couldn’t see a single cross anywhere in the book.

Not a single WRONG ANSWER in the entire book!

In fact, it was completely full of right answers, merits and ‘good skills marks’. Tons of them!IMG_9846b

I have never seen anything like it! Neither has anyone else I have shown. I was so proud of him and so pleased for his poor Mom whose relief was evident.

A couple of years ago I rewarded his brother financially for producing a straight A’s school report so when I finally got to see the big man himself and commented on his maths book, his answer was simple, cheeky and to the point …

‘More birthday presents for me then Aunty Andrea!”

Yes, Tyla, most definitely more birthday presents for you!

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