Thought capturing your kids on camera is hard; the amazing photographer duo Lionel and Claire Cherruault at Nousha – a cool photography studio that takes kiddie snaps that’ll truly make you happy – make it look easy. Here we talk to them about working with kids and the art of photography
So tell us about Nousha. How did it start?
Nousha began in our home, a rather beautiful Georgian Villa in the heart of Peckham (before Peckham became the quartier of choice…) We had our doubts that people would come, but they did and our satisfied clients told their friends and soon we found we were so busy that we had to employ people; very quickly every room in the house was devoted to Nousha (apart from our bedroom of course) with retouchers, the studio, a viewing room (our living room).
Who is Nousha made up of?
Nousha was founded by Lionel and Claire Cherruault. Lionel was trained by his father as a portrait photographer at his father’s Press Agency Camera Press from a very young age, he then went on to specialise in photographing the British Royal Family for 20 years and was accredited by Buckingham Palace to cover Royal tours internationally and UK Royal visits – his photographs have been published globally in Hello, Life magazine, Time, Newsweek, Observer magazine, Vogue London, Paris Match, Oggi, Bunte to name but a few. Claire trained as a photographer and now manages all the production for Nousha Photography which is no mean task.
What’s the key to photographing kids?
Patience, liking children, understanding them and how they see the world, encouragement and of course you have to make them laugh; that includes using a rather Python-esque sense of humour and a repertoire of silly noises honed during my own offspring’s childhood.
Tell us about a particularly memorable shoot you did.
We always engage children in conversation during the shoot and on one occasion I asked a two year old little girl what food she liked. Her response was that she liked to eat “blue” then asked me what I liked, I replied I liked to eat “blue” as well, she seemed pleased with that reply. On another occasion I asked a little boy what he would like to do when he was a grown up and he said, “I would like to be a pizza”. He pronounced with great panache and when I asked what he would do if someone were to eat him, a moment of consternation washed over his face…” I will become a chef instead”. There are so many delightful and charming moments like these.
What’s the one thing most parents seek from your images?
People come to us for ‘the extraordinary’; as a rule we show them that. But parents hardly ever get the opportunity to just sit and really LOOK at their children (without the accompanying noise and demands) and when they return for the viewing appointment to see the results from the photo session they do have that chance. We show them images that really show those little people’s spirit.
How is your photography separate to other children photographers?
What we do here is very different from what our competitors do. We apply a very strict code of professionalism to the way we do things. Anyone who works here has expertise in their particular field, a rare thing in this day and age. The mastery of photography has been lost in the fog of iPhones and auto everything and the belief that the more you spend on equipment equates to a better picture is not true. The real difference is in us and how we relate to you and your children, without that all the other stuff is meaningless.
Any tips on capturing a good photo of your child on an iPhone?
I can give you two tips:
- Understand the difference between landscape and portrait and use it to your advantage when taking pictures, if the picture you are taking fits the landscape format better then use landscape and that applies to the portrait format as well.
- When taking a picture, don’t just snap one frame, especially with children, hang around a bit, keep taking pictures, pictures are like stories there is always a beginning a middle and an end, you need to capture it all, But and this is a big but, once finished taking your pictures sit down and edit them down to only the very best, delete the rest otherwise you’ll fill your precious device up with pictures in a week!
Best moment working at Nousha?
We were exhibiting at the Spirit of Christmas one year at Olympia in London and we had meticulously prepared our stand and it looked pretty darned good. An older couple stood before the stand enjoying the pictures for quite a while. Claire approached them and they said their children were now grown-up and how they regretted not having pictures taken of their children when they were little, Claire admonished them (in a jovial way you understand) they replied that they were now going home to make new children just so they could be photographed by us.
Most difficult moment?
When Nousha Photography was still in Peckham, we had just begun renovations on the house, our delightful builder had taken it upon himself to do work on the ceiling in the hallway by the front door, 150 year old black dust was everywhere, a knock at the door, I opened it to be faced with an extremely well known political face (and I mean really well known…) He and his family tiptoed through the dirt and made it into the studio unscathed, though probably a little shocked at what they had let themselves in for. What transpired was a warm, friendly and loving set of pictures of him but more particularly his two little boys. I wish I could show them to you.
Children’s photography is…
Great fun, extremely hard work and exhausting physically. That aside I really enjoy it and I am forever surprised by these little people. They are far cleverer than us you know.
For more information on Nousha and to book an appointment, go here.