Speaking of coincidence, I’ve always wanted to explore working together with The British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BSKL) when I first heard about it a mere couple of months back. So it came as a huge surprise when they contacted me out of the blue in late April to enquire about my commercial photography services. Within three weeks, I found myself at the school embarking on one of the most fulfilling and exciting projects for 2014.
Even though the Primary Wing of the school commenced operation about 2 years ago, the Secondary Wing only began operations rather recently. I was made to understand that the Secondary building was only officiated in late 2013. I was tasked to produce a fresh set of images of the Secondary school encompassing both people and facilities.
These images will be used for their online and offline marketing purposes for both web and print media. I was lucky to have been given full creative freedom to execute this project, though being readily guided with a simple roadmap and coverage list of items to capture.
One of the most notable and impressive facilities at the BSKL is the Astro Turf where most children come here to play during lunch break and have their morning exercises and after-school sport activities.
The swimming pool is no less awesome. BSKL prides itself with effectively moulding a truly all-rounder student who excels in both academic studies and being an active participant of any sports activities.
As I was working alone over a period of 4 days, mobility and speed were of utmost concern. I had a security guard followed me throughout the shooting period as a guide and “comforting” figure; the latter being essential to allay any uncertainties of the people around me. It was not really assuring to be pointing a large camera in the direction of children had I been alone.
The photographs of students in the classrooms were a good mix of with and without flashes being used. Sometimes when I was moving quickly from one classroom to another, I would chance upon an interesting scene which would cause me to stop and capture it through the window from the outside without me stepping inside.
The wall climbing facility located at the Primary Wing was always buzzing with activities.
The library is very spacious and besides the interior shots, I managed to round up some students and teachers for a staged session. Speaking of staging shots, most of the photographs from this project were candid captures without the subjects being aware of it.
The majestic theatre is just simply mind blowing and cavernous at best. The Monday morning assembly is normally held here. I also managed to capture a session of drama class being conducted here.
The basketball court in BSKL is located on the roof top, along with a secondary Astro Turf field and table tennis facility.
Music is another important activity that sees a huge involvement among BSKL students.
Here are some shots of students during Art class. I managed to capture one session of the students in casual wear while they were having a cardboard game designing activity.
Food is fuel. Nutritious great food fuels and nourishes a child’s education journey. I tried portraying the fun-filled relaxing moments of lunch break that students look forward to every day.
Taekwando is another after-school activity at BSKL among others.
In between shoots at the Secondary Wing, I also managed to capture some students lounging at the Primary Wing’s library.
Students at the Secondary Wing can also enjoy a game of life-sized chess as seen above. I also managed to round up some academic staff for a photo shoot, before finishing off with a staged session of students mingling.
Because I needed to be working really fast, I was balancing the shooting process with and without flashes from time to time. Depending on the light conditions, environment, nature of class or the scene before me, I swung back and forth between for or against the use of flash. Had flashes been used, it was always off-camera, two of them, while the third on-camera flash was used as the master trigger. I opted for this mode of operation and not Pocket Wizard to simplify the process. In fact, I only remembered using the radio triggers once when the former failed on me momentarily.
The students of The British International School of Kuala Lumpur were fun, funny, warm and an intelligent bunch of children. When I was photographing at the Astro Turf during lunch break, one small little girl about 7-years old walked up to me and asked me were the photographs for “commercial” purposes. I was speechless indeed! And those secondary students above looking at the Mac were actually looking at a live picture of themselves using the Mac’s webcam to ensure they looked good for my camera! They figured that out.
All in all, this commercial photo shoot project for a prestigious international school in Malaysia has been a huge success. The client was clearly very happy and impressed with the resulting 790 images and I’d certainly like to think that the right mood and energy of the school have been well communicated and represented visually.