All posts by sophiehmsearphotography

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.

Sports Action

I found this one the most difficult in trying to actually find a subject, i have never shot any sport at all before let alone an action moment from a competitive game. I was going to try and do some surfing or football but I wanted to try a different sport that was less known. I tried to think of some sports that i could photograph, i first thought of KUng Fu or Martial Arts would be quite interesting to shoot and i knew of a FXU society Arlo Tinsen that i could get in contact with, this unfortunately did not work out as i could not find any competitions, i would like to photograph it anyway perhaps in the future
My second idea was skittles, it’s a more candid relaxed sport in a way but the players also can get quite competitive, i looked into alley skittles first but had no luck getting any competitions or even classes. I then was thinking and i remembered my dad plays pub skittles which is a different kind of sport all together, it is usually played in pubs and the players compete in teams of six taking it in turn to use a disc called a cheese and then throwing it at the pins on the table. the Christmas competition was in teams of 2 and the final match of the year (a special and tense game)
I practiced twice before the final match with my dad and his practice games on a Monday night at the conservative club, i then also practiced on Thursday with a real match between my dads team and 3 conies.
i found it helpful that i did a couple of practice shoots as otherwise i would not have realised how little space i had to work with and also using the tripod and getting the lighting right was hard at times with the movement of the players
in the end i did get some shots but i think if i went again i would take a different lens as my 55-200 and my 18-105mm did work for full shots but i really needed a wider lens or a one with a bigger range. I also tried 50mm but that was only good for close ups as i need to get the player and the table. timing was key with this shoot as well which i did manage to do with practice

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Lit Portraits

I had the most difficulty with this aspect of the portfolio, it was more technical lighting issues. I first tried the studio with my model Beth, i wanted to try hi-key lighting to get a soft light, i used a light on the background, 2 soft boxes at either side of her and a top light. This lighting with a bit of trouble at first did manage to work but it just a
couple of shadows that weren’t very flattering, i couldn’t get them right so i thought i’d try a different way for my next shoot.¬†The next shoot i decided to try on location as the studio i felt was too contrived and wasn’t working in the way i wanted my images to look.
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This time i got out a few speedlights and used the D800e for first time, i really got on with this camera and will use it for future shoots.
I set up a speedlight on my camera and a speedlight on a stand with a softbox either side, my models Emily and Joe, i chose outside as Joe is a Marine & Natural History student and i thought it fitted well. I got them to stand in front of some trees and experimented with the lighting, it worked for what i wanted but i now feel that i want to re-shoot as it feels a bit forced and the models aren’t how i want them to look.

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The third shoot i did for this lit portrait i wanted to make it more interesting and fun. I used Emily and Joe again as this time i wanted to focus on the way they dress, in mod and punk style clothing. I also used powder paint to splash on their faces to contrast with their hair and black tops. I thought this shoot went well, their personalities came across but in a subtle way and the colours worked in the way i imagined. Rankin was some inspiration for this with his quirky bold fashion portraits

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This is the shot i used for my final, Emily my model is wearing a Mod style Fred Perry shirt, I styled her hair to give her volume and also splattered pink and purple dust on her face to compliment the red in her hair and pink on the shirt. It also stood out from the black of the shirt too. I used a direct flash with a diffuser, I wanted strong shadows underneath her chin and nose, I think I would use a reflector next time to achieve a different look but i do think the shadows work and give an edge.
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This is one I took of Joe, his style is Punk and he has a blue Mohawk which was perfect for the shoot. I used yellow and green powder this time to compliment his blue hair and the black shirt again for contrast. This one we were experimenting with poses and this one worked well for the attitude and confident stance I wanted.

Rankin

For my Lit Portrait I wanted to do a beauty shot and play about with different styles like Punk and Mod. I also wanted to play about with make-up and colour so it was a bit more interesting. A photographer that I got inspiration from and that uses bold, shocking colours and compositions is Rankin, he is a British photographer who mainly does editorial fashion but also does beauty portraits and films too. I have used his work for inspiration before but it was the beauty portraits I was looking at for this. He is the founder of Dazed & Confused magazine ¬†which contains urban fashion with shocking ‘out there’ images of models in bright clothes and quirky styles.¬†

His body of work features some of the most celebrated publications, biggest brands and pioneering charities, including¬†Nike, Swatch, Dove, Pantene, Diageo, Women‚Äôs Aid, and¬†Breakthrough Breast Cancer. He has shot covers for¬†Elle, German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stoneand¬†Wonderland. His work has always questioned social norms and ideas of beauty and, in late 2000,¬†Rankin¬†published the irregular quarterly Rank, an experimental anti-fashion magazine celebrating the unconventional.¬†Rankin¬†has published over 30 books, is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own¬†London¬†gallery. His museum-scale exhibition ‚ÄėShow Off‚Äô opened at¬†NRW Dusseldorf¬†in September 2012, pulling in over 30,000 visitors in 3 months. Today,¬†Rankin¬†is back to his passion shooting magazine publishing offering his creative talents and skills back to his first love.

Half Painted, Terry McClintock

I decided to re-shoot my music photograph as I was not happy with the results in the previous two shoots and thought i needed someone a bit more interesting. As i was going to a music event for my feature i thought i could possibly take photos of the performers for a music piece as well. There was  8 hours worth of music so again i had enough time to shoot something final. The lighting was a bit harsh due to a strong white spotlight but it did work in my favor sometimes with green and yellow beam lights that looked surreal with the performers playing,
This is the image i took of Terry McClintock who actually works in the cafe of The Performance Center, he was an intriguing and quirky performer and I am happy with the results of the image although a bit bright on his shirt.

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Feed Me Music, Feature

For my mini feature I wanted it to be about care assistants or people that help the people in need and their story. I wanted a different approach and for the subject not just to be the one with the illness or needing help but the person who is helping, their story.
My first shoot and idea was going to be about Dementia Friends, a charity where people called ‘Champions’ train up and take time out of their day to assist people with Dementia¬†and I was going to document a day in the life of a care assistant and the training that they do to get to Champion stage. Unfortunately things fell through, but I still may be doing a shoot with them in February.
My second idea was to do a feature on an event called Feed Me Music that was happening at The Performance Center in University. The Food Bank were collaborating with Little Miss Music  Management to create an 8 hour music event where people bring food to donate instead of money for tickets, i wanted to capture the whole event and how they are helping hundreds of people in need of a meal but also giving people the entertainment of music.
The shoot went well,  I managed to get some contacts and sent photos off to be used in a press release and possibly a feature, sent them off to papers also but they were not chosen.
I had some trouble with low lighting trying to capture the audience but managed to overcome that with lenses and being patient
but the lights with the music performers worked well  and got some good candid shots of people donating food and enjoying themselves .

The Food Bank in Penryn, Falmouth currently helps many parents, students and elderly in making sure they have food as they cannot afford to. It was set up by Sarah Simons and her husband, they give  out the food at Highway Church and it has many volunteers helping out as well.
The Food Bank in Penryn, Falmouth currently helps many parents, students and elderly in making sure they have food as they cannot afford to. It was set up by Sarah Simons and her husband, they give out the food at Highway Church and it has many volunteers helping out as well.
Little Miss Music Production's Louise Martin has created a collaborative 'Feed Me Music' event with The Food Bank in which there is an eight hour music performance and instead of  guests having tickets for the event they will be donating food and household items.  A child is donating some food whilst volunteers help at The Performance Center on Saturday 18th January.
Little Miss Music Production’s Louise Martin has created a collaborative ‘Feed Me Music’ event with The Food Bank in which there is an eight hour music performance and instead of guests having tickets for the event they will be donating food and household items. A child is donating some food whilst volunteers help at The Performance Center on Saturday 18th January.
This was only half the amount of food which was donated by guests, this will get weighed at the church after the event and recorded to see how far the charity has come. In the first two years of  The Food Bank they collected 13,200 kilos of food and helped 791 adults and 231 children.
This was only half the amount of food which was donated by guests, this will get weighed at the church after the event and recorded to see how far the charity has come. In the first two years of The Food Bank they collected 13,200 kilos of food and helped 791 adults and 231 children.
The Food Bank owner Sarah Simons and Little Miss Production's Louise Martin who organised the  Feed Me Music event which was held at The Performance Center, University Falmouth. Sarah had just given a speech about the event to the guests and gave Louise flowers for her efforts.
The Food Bank owner Sarah Simons and Little Miss Production’s Louise Martin who organised the Feed Me Music event which was held at The Performance Center, University Falmouth. Sarah had just given a speech about the event to the guests and gave Louise flowers for her efforts.
The event had an eight hour music performance from bands around Cornwall and students. The music ranged from Reggae bands to Country Folk. This is  violinist and singer Annie Baylis who was supporting singer Gareth Lee, they are a Blues and Folk band.
The event had an eight hour music performance from bands around Cornwall and students. The music ranged from Reggae bands to Country Folk. This is violinist and singer Annie Baylis who was supporting singer Gareth Lee, they are a Blues and Folk band.