Make-believe “king” directs his friendly subjects to pull their makeshift rickshaw, a shopping cart equipped with mattress and rope, until he leans back too far, the cart tumbles over, and they must right it to start over (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).
Passing a school playground, I saw three boys playing with a shopping cart. I stopped and watched as they took turns letting one kid climb into the cart and get pulled along by the others. As I pointed my camera, one boy started acting like a king, ordering his subjects to pull him along. The other two boys pulled him extra quickly and extra hard, to get it moving very fast and teach him a lesson. As it raced along and they yanked it again, the cart fell back and the boy playing “king” fell backwards out of the cart. This gave me a funny series of three pictures -- the boy being pulled, the cart tipping as the boy riding in it fell out, and the three boys trying hard to right it. Either the first or last photo alone would be strong by itself, but the series told the most interesting story. I briefly interrupted to tell them I took the pictures and get their names, but they immediately went back to their fun, and my shooting turned out to be a minor interruption. I didn’t stick around to see if the “king” got revenge on his friends later.
1) Spend enough time watching kids play to see if a great photo opportunity happens.
2) Try taking candid photos without the kids noticing you or interrupting their play.
3) Sometimes a series of photos tells a more compelling story than one single shot.