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.
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.
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
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. 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.
I found the Group Photograph part of this portfolio the most challenging as directing a group of people can be quite hard and to get them all without blinking and lit evenly. My first idea was to photograph the Womens Institue as i thought this would be an interesting image of them all around having tea or discussing events. Unfortunately they said they were not keen on anybody taking photographs as of their busy schedule and would not be free till after the deadline.
The second idea for my group shot was of my work friends, this in my head did look well composed and it would have been a good image as it was Christmas time and we had a ‘fun dress up charity event’ so i thought it would be interesting, this did not work out as well as i’d hoped, my colleagues were quite shy infront of the camera and the warehouse did not make a great backdrop, also with little time on my hands to shoot. It was good for a practice with the flash but not for a final
The third group shot i did was of some Creative Events Management students at an event they had to create about careers and placements, it was a good opportunity to photograph people who didn’t know me and also these were more confident subjects as well. The lighting was just a flashgun so it wasn’t lit on the legs as much, so next time for group i know to take more lights and an assistant overall i just need to be more directive to the subjects and not be hesitant in saying what i want.
After not managing to get the desired image for my Observed Portrait element of the portfolio I thought I’d just try to go around town with my camera to see what I could capture, as it was Christmas time I thought it was the perfect time to capture some ‘special moments’. I looked around and got a few shots but nothing I deemed as interesting. In the end i went around near the bus stops to see if i spotted any worthwhile moments , I came across a busker who was playing the harp and it was something i had not seen before, usually guitars or saxophone but i had never seen a busking harpist before. His name was Harry Flinkton and he intrigued me, I gave him some money and asked if he minded photos, Mr Flinton was very kind and let me photograph him and then told me about how he came to be on the streets and that his done music for people but prefers busking as he feels that he has more control over his music. He also showed me a song he played for his friends baby, overall an interesting subject that was happy to tell me his story
It was quite low light at the time so the image is a little noisy, the natural light does suit the subject but I think next time i’d go out earlier or use a camera with a higher sensor.
I looked at some documentary street photographers for this aspect of the portfolio and found some that I think relate to my work and are abuout capturing the extra ordinary in the ordinary that is street.
Markus Hartel is one of the photographers I looked at, he focuses on the quirky styles of people and transfers his visual storytelling into photographs captured on the streets of NYC. Perhaps, the most distinctive quality in Hartel’s photographs is the contrast. There is much more to explore in his images than the play between light and shadow, or the juxtaposition between hard and soft. If you look hard enough, you will almost always find a sense of irony in his subject matter, as what compels him to ‘click’ is discovering the extraordinary among the ordinary.
Melanie Einzig is someone I also looked at, her work is often bright and captures otherwise unseen moments in New York.
‘I’ve photographed events in New York and elsewhere for fourteen years. With a background in art and photojournalism I bring a love of aesthetics, an interest in people and the ability to tell a story to every event I document. I work very quietly and unobtrusively in order to record the most genuine moments in a natural way. Whether for my personal work, a publication, for an institution, or at a private event, I bring my full attention (eye and heart) to making the best possible photos.’
I think colour works well in her images and paints like in a more aesthetic way, i try to use colour in my work and i think for some street photography you need it so you can see the personality of the subject through their clothing.
For my Creative Standalone aspect of the portfolio it had to be a photograph that showed some creative and technical ability, such as using flashguns to paint in light or using different camera techniques like freezing motion. I went to Amsterdam during the Summer and at night the canals looked quite ‘picturesque’ with the lights glimmering on the water. At the time of taking this there were people on boats and the lights from them and the other lights made a interesting composition. I experimented with slow shutter speeds to capture lines of light and also with fast ones to create a more static effect. In the end I chose the image that created some lines of light without being too over powering. I think if I did this again I would definitely take more time and use a tripod more as that way the image quality would be much greater and less noisy as well.
Falmouth Oyster Festival is one of Cornwall’s best attractions, happening between Thursday 10th till Sunday 13th of October and It celebrates the start of oyster dredging season. It has a variety of stalls that sell Cornish produce including ales, cheeses and chutneys all with samples to try. There are also craft stalls with local hand-made gifts such as wooden chairs, scarves, paintings amongst others. Each year there’s a cookery master-class from a celebrity chef , followed by a book signing that opens the festival. In the above image is friday morning of the festival where the live cookery demonstrations show local chef David Trewin, from Samphire restaurant cooking up seafood for the audience as they que up for their famous Scallops.
For my Still Life element of the portfolio I’ve been focusing on food photography. I chose to photograph food as It’s fun and you can experiment with angles, the actual food and lighting. I also like making the food look amazing to the audience so much that they want the product. I decided that I’d contact a cafe in Falmouth that sells local Cornish produce as I wanted to promote Cornwall’s amazing food and this little cafe is getting more and more popular. I went in and arranged it all, the staff and manager were all very helpful and happy for me to take photographs. On the day of the shoot I had just a table for the food and two speedlights, one on a stand with a soft box, I like working with this simple yet effective lighting. I only had a table to work on but their timber tables gives it the natural and rustic feel that I wanted. I used their wall as a background as it had their name on and a map of Cornwall which was perfect. At first I just photographed the produce they sell like sea salt and jam to practice with lighting and angles, I then got out some cakes and tarts to experiment with, unfortunately i couldn’t play with the food too much as customers needed to eat it afterwards. I’m hoping next time to get some cakes myself so i can cut them up and play about. I think for this shoot as it was meant to be simple I didn’t mind too much. I’m happy with the results and after editing they have the natural look I was going for.
An element for my portfolio is to capture a moment, an observed portrait. This can be unlit and informal but must capture someone’s secret moment in time. I have been trying to carry my camera on me everywhere so that if I do see that moment I can get it. I also went to a fireworks display at the Cricket Club in Falmouth as it’s the perfect night to capture people looking at fireworks and playing with sparklers. I took my tripod and played around with my 35mm, It was a very busy evening but I managed to find a spot in the crowd to set up, I wish I had now got to the front but I still managed to get some shots of people & fireworks. I think if I go again next year I will go earlier and get to the front so I can capture people’s faces more.
As I wanted to try again on my observed portrait piece, I went to the pier which is a great place for people watching anyway. This time I took a 70-200mm out so that I could capture people from afar too, I got a shot of an old couple enjoying the views of the harbour and of a girl walking her dog, I think i’ll go again this week to see If I can get more on the pier.
This is my report and research for a 10 piece portfolio that contains 10 genres of photography that I have explored and shot.