Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Final Evaluation

I feel that I have learned quite a lot from this project, it has enabled me to explore photography and different ideas and techniques. I have used this project to try and gain more of an understanding of the area I would like to work within the photographic industry.

Last year I focused on fashion photography and beauty portraits, I really like this kind of work however on doing some research and looking at other photographers work I have also gained an interest in constructed scene. This is an area within photography that I have tried to explore within this assignment. Through research and photo shoots I feel that I have produced some interesting work based around this genre of photography.

This year I also really wanted to improve my technical skills, in particular my use of lighting. We have had a variety of inductions about lighting in the PH2000 practical module with Adam, I have then gone on to try and experiment with them. Within this assignment I did a mini lighting project where I tried to gain more of an understanding about different lighting techniques, I also tried to used some of the techniques from the PH2000 Practical inductions within my work. This semester I have gained a much better understanding of lighting and the ways in which I can use it within my work, personally I feel that my technical skills have improved dramatically this year and I have a much clearer understanding of how to achieve desired aesthetics within my work.

For this assignment I have really realised the importance of working with a team of people to make things run smoothly, I have also realised the importance of direction more than ever. I have tended to work with a small group of assistants when doing my photographic shoots, as a team I think that we work well together. I also found it really interesting to work with third year photography student Mark Prescott and styling student Terri Dent, this shoot made me think about the preparation and time management that has to be taken into consideration. This also gave me more of an idea of what I am working towards in my final year.

I found it really beneficial to be able to explore freely the genre of photography I am interested in. This assignment allowed me to learn more about my practise as well as improving my skills as a photographer. I was able to make mistakes and learn valuable lessons from them. For example, the final shoot I had intended to do didn’t go ahead as my model was unable to make it, in future I will try and have two models just in case one is unable to make it.

I have particularly enjoyed working in the studio and developing my lighting skills, although I have worked on location using the location lighting kit I would like to do more work on location next semester to further develop my skills.

Next semester I would like to improve my direction skills, I think that I communicate well when working with assistants but I still think my communication with models could use some work. It has definitely improved since last year however I still feel that it is something I need to work on in order to produce work to the best of my ability. The communication between the photographer and the model is crucial in creating the vision the photographer intended for the image.

I would also like to continue to improve my technical skills and experiment with more complicated lighting set ups. In particular I would like to improve my photo shop skills, this is something that is important to achieve the desired look for my images. I like my images too look quite polished, particularly in my constructed scene and fashion work. I will look at tutorials on the internet to do this and then practice, this is something I can look at over the Christmas break and then practise in the second semester.

I am happy with the images I have produced for this assignment, I am particularly happy with the work I have produced based around the beauty queen theme. This is something that I am interested in continuing to explore next semester. I feel that it’s a really interesting theme that I could explore in a number of different ways. I am particularly interested in looking at beauty queen’s from a variety of perspectives; I would like to look at them in a positive light and a negative light. I think that this could create an interesting set of images and convey two different opinions about beauty queens. I could also perhaps look at them and their lifestyle from their point of view. I think that its important to explore each point of view in order to come up with my own opinion of beauty queens and produce some really interesting work based around them. At the moment I am unsure as to what direction my work will take, however I will do a lot of primary and secondary research in order to produce an effective project. Overall I feel that I have gained a lot of knowledge from this assignment by experimenting and researching. Next semester I intend to expand my knowledge further and produce an effective and creative body of work to exhibition standard. I am also looking to create a portfolio website to exhibit my work, due to time constraints I didn’t manage it this semester however this is something I will definitely be doing next semester.

Best images

Iv included these images because i think that they are a few of my strongest images from this assignment. The majority are from the beauty queen shoot, i am really happy with these images as i have achieved a near perfect white background and i feel that i have created the character i wanted within these images. The other images are from the Kat Slater character shoot, again i think that i created the character that i wanted and the aesthetics are what i was looking for. I feel that i chose two good models that suited the shoots well. I also feel that technically these images work well, i included images from these two shoots because one is shot using the location lighting kit and one is hot in the studio.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Presenting my work - Portfolio websites

I have been thinking about ways in which i will display my work, one way in particular that interests me is portfolio websites. The internet is the most common way for photographers to display their work and it is easily accessible to most people. I have been looking at a range of photographers websites in order to see what makes a good portfolio website.

David LaChapelle

These screen shots are taken from David LaChapelles website, like his work the opening page of his website is quite extravagant, however it does get a bit simpler as you navigate through the website. His menu is along the top and when you click on a section the images from that section appear. when the images from a particular campaign or project come up there is a group of the thumb nails to the right, when you click on one of those images they appear larger. I think that this is an effective website but the menu could perhaps be simpler.

Tim Walker

These screen shots are from Tim Walkers website, on opening the website you click on his name and you enter the site. The layout is very simple and easy to navigate, the menu is displayed clearly on the left and the white background allows the images to be seen clearly, and the small tiles below the images allow you to select other images. I think that this is a really effective website.

Mario Testino

These screen shots are taken from Mario Testino's website, his site open with a video of one of his most recent projects. There is a menu at the top of the page and you can navigate easily using this. His website includes projects, books, films and advertisements, when you click on a section all of the images/films from that section are clearly displayed and you can click on them to see them larger and see more images/films from that section. This website is effective and relatively easy to navigate, again the images are clearly displayed on a white background.


These are screen shot of Rankin's website, he has a huge range of work on his website and its quite interesting to look at. The opening page has a kind of collage of images each representing a category when you hold the cursor over the picture it tells you which category it is, if you click on to that picture it then takes you to that category directly.
One in that category the first picture is displayed, it looks like it s piled on top of other images and of you click on one of those it takes you to that image, there is also a scroll bar along the bottom, or you can just click the right arrow to go to the next photograph.
There is also a standard menu that you can use to navigate the website.

After looking at a variety of portfolio websites i have got more of an idea of what makes an effective website.

  • Simple background is essential so that images can be seen clearly.
  • Simple/easy to use menu located either at the top or to one side.
  • The website shouldn't be cluttered, viewers might get bored or confused by the site.
  • The website should be updated on a regular basis to keep people interested in the website and your work, they should want to see what new work you are going to come up with next.
  • Your name should be clearly stated on the site along with your correct contact details.
Overall out of the websites i looked at i thought that Tim Walker's was the most effective, because it was simple but displayed his work clearly.

I will be looking at creating a portfolio website over christmas ready to start displaying some of my work.

Beauty queen shoot 2

Unfortunately the model i intended to use for tis photo shoot had trouble getting here due to the weather conditions and public transport delays. Due to time constraints i will therefore be unable to do this photo shoot before the deadline. However this is something that i intend to continue with into the second semester.

Beauty queen shoot 2

After doing more research i would like to go on to produce another shoot for this brief based on the beauty queen theme.

Where as i did the previous shoot in the studio creating simple studio portraits i would like to do this photo shoot on location, i would also like to use a different model for this second shoot to show a bit of variety. This idea came predominantly from my research on Melodie McDaniel, i liked the way she photographed the girls at there homes and how she photographed their personal belongings relating to the competitions, even in their homes they still performed to the camera in a similar way to the way they did on stage during a competition.

For this second shoot i would like to photograph my model in a similar way to the way McDaniel did, i will photograph the model in a relaxed home setting. I will also photograph some 'personal belongings' relating to beauty competitions. I think that this will make an interesting collection os images.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Ring flash

We did an induction with adam in another module with the ring flash, i really like the effect it had and when using it with the digital back i really liked the way our photograph looked. I had a look on google images for some images taken using a ring flash.
I particularly liked this portrait, i love the way the lighting looks as well as the way the photograph has been taken.
I am really interested in using the ring flash in my future work i think that its an aesthetic would work well within my images.

The clothes show live - Teen queen scouting stand

These photographs were just two snapshots that i took at the Clothes show live at the NEC in Birmingham on the 4th december. This is the stand for the Teen Queen competition i mentioned previously. Girls are scouted or can give their details if they want to enter, the girls are then later narrowed down to the final few who will take part. I wanted to take pictures here to try and see which kinds of girls were interested in entering, i also wanted to look at what kind of set up they had and how they were promoting it. I struggled to get close to the stand as it was very busy, and only managed to take a few pictures as you wernt supposed to photographs. The stand uses pastel colours such as pink and yellow and features the word princess, this i should imagine would entice girls to look at the stand.
The top image features a young girl looking straight on towards the camera, she looks quite young not much older than about 13 years old, she is quite fresh faced. She is filling out one of the forms to take part in the Teen Queen competition.

Teen queen

These images are taken from the Teen Queen website.

Teen queen is similar to Miss England, but is a competition for much younger girls to enter, the age range is for 13-19 years old. These photographs feature some of the girls involved in the competition, alot of them look very young. I have previously looked at the kind of women who are likely to take part in beauty competitions but after looking at some of pictures of much younger girls and even children taking part in competitions i was eager to look at what kinds of younger girls take part and what encourages them to do so.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Evaluation of mini lighting project

We worked together to create these different lighting set ups and just try them out to see how well they worked. Obviously some are alot stronger than other but i think that we all learnt something from doing this mini project in the studio.
There are a few of the techniques that we could perhaps use for future projects, and know we will be able to set them up and know what effect they create much easier than before.
Overall i feel that i have learnt a bit more about lighting, how it works and what different set ups can create in terms of different effects. I think that this was a very useful exercise for me do.

Set up 6

For this set up we used a diffuser to create a softer light on the model and to avoid some of the harsh shadows created in previous set ups. The light is even but i think its a bit under exposed.

Set up 5

For this set up we had a lamp shining on one side of her face, i don really like this set up, the lighting is a bit too harsh on one side of the face, we could perhaps of used a diffuser instead of a standard lamp. Im also not keen on the background shadows.

Set up 4

For this fourth set up we used two normal lamps either side of the model and a beauty dish in front of the model, the lamps were quite a distance away from the model so they created quite a soft light on the model with much less unwanted shadows as some of the previous set ups.

Set up 3

This is the third light set up we created, this is a similar set up to the previous one. we still used the beauty dish and the polyboards but we used the white side rather than the black. I quite like this effect and this it could work well for simple portraits or beauty shots.

Set up 2

This is the second light set up we created and the image i produced with it, here i used a beauty dish and two black polyboards in a V shape. The lighting is quite harsh on her face and there are some bad shadows cast, i dont think that this test was that successful but could be tailored to work better.

Example of silhouette skills

This image is an image i took for PH2000 liverpool Biennial assignment, i included it in this blog to show how i have used this skill in further work.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Mini Lighting project - set up one

For this photograph i wanted to create a silhouette. I set up the lights behind the model along with 4 polyboards (the set up is shown in this other image). The first one that i took wasnt completely blacked out and wasnt as effective as the second where the model was completely silhouetted. I really like this effect and is something i could use in the future. The pose isnt very adventurous as its only a test shoot to try out a variety of lighting.

Interview - Niki Mullin

As part of my research I wanted to speak to somebody that has taken part in a few of these competitions so that I could find out what it is really like and what is involved. I chose to interview Niki Mullin, she Models and previously won Miss Shrewsbury and also took part in Miss England.

Interview questions

1. What competitions have you taken part in?

"I have taken part in Miss Shrewsbury which I won and Miss England"

2. What is involved in these competitions?

"It involves modeling, talking and dancing"

3. When did you first get interested in modeling/competitions?

"Back in school round year 10-11 I think"

4. Why did you decide to take part in these competitions?

"I decided to take part when I got scouted at The Clothes Show, so I just thought I would go along"

5. What preparation is involved for these competitions?

"Finding outfits (main one being a ball gown), finding a sponsor to pay for you, diet is a big thing, hair, nails, tan...sooo much is involved"

6. Why do you think so many girls choose to take part in these competitions?

"Girls want to take part because they want to model i think really, its a step into the industry. To been seen and to make contacts for further careers"

7. What did you enjoy most about participating?

" Probably the Miss England final which we had rehearsed for, for ages. In front of a massive crowd, loads of adrenaline. So Glamorous, loved it!"

8. Would you say there is a certain 'type' of person who takes part?

"Erm the type of people to take part are hot hot hot haha! No obviously they are usually very pretty girls erm alot of the girls are very competitive, they really wanted to win. But generally a good mix of divas haha"

From speaking to Niki i feel i learnt alot more about what is involved in the competition and the preparation, its not as easy as most people probably think it is. The girls put alot of work, time and effort in.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Melodie McDaniel

These images by Melodie McDaniel are something i found really interesting when looking at images of beauty queens and pageants. McDaniel documents the contestants in different situation and also different aspects of their lives, overall she gives us an insight into what it takes to be involved in these competitions. In the series she not only takes photographs during a competition she also takes portraits of them at home, and snapshots of their rooms and things to do with the competitions.