Reflective Report…

The portfolio I have been creating for four months has been part of a module to create a 10 piece portfolio that entitles a range of ten different genres of photography.  It consists of a  broad array of styles including from sports action to a group photograph. This variety of genres challenged my skills and my potential to create an image of any style. I came across techniques that I had not used before or very little of and therefore was able to progress those techniques so that by the end of the four months I would be more confident using them. There were some parts of the portfolio I was familiar with and therefore they were easier to shoot but I then tried experimenting with different lighting and ideas to try and develop my work.
When I first received the brief to this module I was hesitant of what  I may have to overcome with my technical abilities but I knew if I practiced and organised my shoots then the final result would be worth it. I also was intrigued about trying new genres of photography like sport and food although I had never shot these before It would be good development for my skills in the industry.

One of the  main problems that I endured during this portfolio was some of the technical aspects such as the lighting and using flashguns. Within a couple of the genres they had to be shot with at least one flashgun. I had not had much practice or use with flashguns before so I decided after an induction on using them to practice at home. I did this so that when it came to the actual shoot I would be more confident in using them. For the Still Life aspect of my portfolio I wanted to photograph food so I got out two flashguns, a soft box and stand, I practiced this lighting set up and food photography at home. I was happy with the final results and then was able to use that lighting set up in the actual photo shoot at a cafe called Picnic. I have since used this lighting set up for other shoots and it has worked well. I have learnt that if I research and practice the technical aspect beforehand than It will have a better outcome of final results.

I have also learnt this with researching which types of different equipment to use for photo shoots. I generally search on forums to see what other people use for their shoots, this way I get other practitioners opinions which has been beneficial so far.  This has been particularly helpful in subjects I have not photographed before, such as The Group shot and Sports Action, I used a 24-70mm for the group which I heard was better for full length shots of people and as it is a zoom you have more of a choice of frames. For the sport I wanted to use that lens as well but ended up using an 18-105mm which was substantial for what I needed but next time I will be getting out a more variety of lenses.  I also had trouble with the low light aspect of the music photograph genre of the portfolio, this was also something that I researched as I wanted to know what lens would be best for low light and best for capturing performers up close. I used a wide angle 14-24mm which worked to my advantage although I definitely needed a tripod still as the problem with music photography is the venue always has poor lighting or if it does have any it is tungsten or blue and red strobes. I am glad that I went to this music event as although the shots were not the  best for a final product it was practice for a future event where I could capture my image.

I have learnt and developed my organisational and professional skills in this module especially in negotiation with clients and generally learning to become more efficient with business. I learnt this when I had to organize my food photo shoot as I needed to ask the cafe owners whether I could photograph in store and I needed to be professional on the actual day as I was around customers. I progressed with my business skills for my fashion photo shoot as I wanted the experience and practice of asking a clothing brand whether I could borrow their clothes. The store I collaborated with was  Wild Pony which is an independent vintage outlet in Falmouth and the owner Georgia Stanley and I negotiated some conditions.  I had to put a deposit down for the clothing I borrowed and then deliver the clothes back to her after I was finished. I learnt that when working with a client you need to be careful when negotiating money and you are then responsible for the items borrowed, therefore I had to hang up the clothes and make sure they were not damaged.

I also used my professional skills when photographing my
Mini Feature which was a charity event called ‘Feed Me Music’ in which I photographed guests donating food for The Food Bank which was their tickets for an eight hour music event. I was photographing this event for The Cartel which is Falmouth University’s  picture agency, I was to send off the photos in a chance they may get used in The Falmouth Packet. I also when on this shoot spoke to a woman called Helen Moore from Tribe magazine and as she was doing an article on the event she therefore needed photographs. I offered to send my photographs to her also, she said no payment was on offer but I would be credited and it meant also I am hopefully getting this feature published. I have learnt to take advantage of these situations and to network with people at events as this will help me gain contacts.

I have had a few inspirations from various practitioners and have researched images and read magazines before the particular genre before the photo shoot. I feel this has helped me think of creative ways in which to capture subjects and also made me think of different ways to shoot in technical aspects. One of my main inspirations that related most to one of my photo shoots is Rankin , he’s a british photographer that often photographs fashion , portraits and
beauty head shots. I was mainly focusing on his beauty shots for my photo shoot and I am intrigued in his colourful and bold use of makeup on the models and the attitude he gets them to portray. I used this inspiration for the Lit Portrait element of the portfolio, I wanted to use my models styles and coloured powder to create a bold portrait in relation to their personalities.  My model Emily’s style was ‘Mod’and I used a black Fred Perry top to contrast with the bright makeup and hair.

I also found Rankin’s magazine Dazed & Confused  an inspiration for my Fashion shoot. I wanted an 80s Vintage street style and when I researched, I found  a couple in Dazed that were relevant. I looked into  Sebastian Cviq whose photographs in an article called Urban Groove, these images related to mine in the way he uses bright colours and vintage clothing against a contrasting street backdrop.  I also used Alexander Neumann’s work as inspiration for my fashion shoot, he too had an article in the Korean edition of Dazed, although a bit less colourful and more grunge style than 80s, the attitude of his models and the compositions drew creative ideas for my shoot.  I will for future fashion shoots use practitioners for inspiration as I feel their creativity drives my work to be more free and different.

Throughout this portfolio I have overcome my weaknesses and learnt my strengths but have also been made aware of what I need to develop and improve on. I found the lighting the most difficult as some aspects of the portfolio required flash which I have practiced with and improved with since the start when I did not know how to use it. I also need to practice with the studio lights and to  try experimenting with the quad kits. I also struggled with low light photography but I have now learnt that if i use a camera with a more advanced sensor and also research which equipment I will need then my shoot will be more organised and therefore the final outcome will be better.  My strengths have been communicating with clients as I am improving on not being hesitant with people and being more confident and professional in my approach. I will carry on networking at events and take part in more photography projects so that I can gain contacts and business skills.  Overall I think that I have learnt a great deal from both the negative and positive  outcomes from this portfolio, It has challenged me with genres of photography I would not have otherwise chosen to capture. It has made me realise what genres I am most skilled with which I will pursue further.  However most of all it has forced me out of my comfort zone but has opened my eyes to new styles.

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