Archive for category Professional Experience
Pro Exp Presentation
For my work experience journey I decided to do various different areas and tasks within Photography, instead of doing a placement with a Photographer. Therefore I took on many roles for this module, this meant being a mentor for the Photography years as well as a working Photographer for clients and even the University. The idea behind this is that when I start doing this as a real profession and as a full time job, I do not want to be homed in as someone only shoots certain things like only a wedding photographer or a band photographer as doing more than one will make me more diverse and adaptive.
The mentoring side is to see what it is like to be a teacher in Photography incase this is another avenue I could go down once graduated.
During this time of work experience I always knew I had a decent sense of technical ability of settings to use and how to adjust the lights to make the Photograph work well and crate right atmosphere. However I found that I had no real sense of practice to put these skills and abilities into use. Therefore when I chose the work to do for clients I first assessed how it was going to benefit me in the long run and how much it will test me. The best one to show this is the work I did for Annie Greenabelle and their catalogue as this both tested me with using lights in an inside and location based environment (non studio based) as well as testing my confidence with the skills I know and learnt throughout out photography by using my camera in Manual mode all the way throughout the shoot. As the client really liked my images produced from the shoots I did with them I redeem this as a success and my confidence in my knowledge has somewhat grown. Contact wise my path had not been altered too much since only one of the models I used had teamed up with another client and had possible mentioned my name to work with. To work with this team would help my cases since I now had created a repeat user and a repeated contact, which has brought more work my way.
Throughout the module I have been given insights to the life of a photographer by actually doing some of the work myself and not following other photographers. This gave me the benefit of seeing a project or shoot go through all stages, start to post production and being sent to the client. From this I have seen what its like as an actual career and as posed as an insight into my future life if I choose to take this career path. Having done this I feel that I can look forward to the life of a photographer, okay I have not had loads of work come direct to me, which is all part of photography, there will be some dry spells but in these dry spells I will try and do something similar to this module and produce my own trials and projects to further keep my ideas spinning in my head, test my self with newer and bigger shoots that push me to the limits in organisation as well as ability to juggle many settings and exposures. On the other hand I feel that all intention from my plans have been met, I managed to mentor and teach 6th formers new ways of working as well as new techniques such as producing negatives from digital prints, managing their sketchbooks and showing them new artists to learn about. Since this is another issue that went to plan mentoring and teaching is definitely on the cards for future reference in participating or looking at teaching course or experiences which could send me down a different career path altogether.
By doing this experience module it has made me realise that I really need to talk more towards any model that I am shooting, be in conversational of general chit chat to make the model feel at ease or to give them simple directions to improve the photographs outcome. For example during the photo shoot I did with Andrew Gordon, I was even quiet than normal and letting him get on with the poses himself and I would just stop and adjust the light with no real communication for him to pose to match the style of lighting. Therefore in my next steps I will try and gain more experience in trying to talk more to the client or to the model in how they want them to look and how I think they should pose to match the style and lighting, as well as advising the client of my decision to do so. This will benefit me in the future as it will give me a better connection between people and if I have a better knowledge, understanding and connection with models and clients then they will keep coming back to me for work increase my pay obviously and give me great support for testimonies and further business if these clients decide to spread the word about my work and I. I have also learnt so much in terms of new editing processes in both Photoshop and in Video editing.
Overall I think that my experience in working as a photographer and as a mentor has worked out well. At first I was thinking that I would be able to produce good quality images and meet the standards of any clients that I had produced. However every client I had worked with was really pleased with the images I had produced and in some cases even kept me on to work further with then and decide to pay me for my services. On the other hand getting paid the right amount for my services is another area that I need to improve on since I only got paid twice during my time and from talking to lecturers about this, proved even those amounts were not enough to make a viable business. Therefore I may organize future talks with lectures about working rates and how they charge their clients. Also the mentoring side of things went well, although it seems university students tended to listen to my advice more than the 6th formers that I worked with, maybe this is due to the experience of me going through the first year of university so they trust me or not. In the future I think I should invest in a form of diary to right down when things are due and what needs to be done for when since forgetting schedule and when things are meant to be done by, particularly items for Matt, were a little behind time. Also this may help to see what work I have and what can be done when.
1) Thanos – Kasbah Media team
2) Maisie & Jane – Annie Greenabelle Fashion Company
3) Sarah Thomas – Kandy Cupcakes (location owner for a fashion shoot)
4) Catherine Makin – Coventry Fashion Student
5) Fiona Linaker – Coventry Fashion Student
6) Anne – Fashion Lecturer
7) Andrew Gordon – Model
8) Georgina Stokes – Model
9) Francesca Hancox – Photography student
10) Mrs Woodcraft – Teacher, Caludon Castle
11) Jo Gane – Teacher, Caludon Castle, Photographer.
These contacts will all be useful in the if I need to run a project and need a few models or need someone to clothe them. Also if my career changes and I need advice or some more work experience on teaching and mentoring then I can call open my contacts from the time of assisting at Caludon Castle School.
As part of working for the University Matt asked Pete and I to create a video that highlighted the best bits of 3 shortlisted First years who had their videos on the front of the Photography departments blog, which is also ran by Matt.
Getting the original videos proved shorter to get in some cases than first thought since we started to plan the task and the students slowly came in one by one to do various pieces and so Pete and I asked them to log in so we could take their videos. However one issue we had is that Genea’s video piece was created using different software to the others and so her exported file was in a lower quality than the others, giving a reduced quality over all. After an hour or two of Pete (he has more knowledge than me at video and audio editing) trying to get different formats and qualities to work on the video, he could not get a better version of the file to work on the final presentation. In the end we had to leave it and carry on the editing.
From doing this piece I learnt a great deal of video editing skills from Pete alone, more than I learnt in the first year. I learnt such things as ‘Blading’ a piece of footage. This means to remove certain sections of the video without causing too much damage and you can drag the ends of the remain clips to put back what was taken out. I also learnt certain audio tips like how to make a certain area of audio piece fade off into silence using the pen tool. I probably learnt more than I can even remember. Therefore in a way I am glad that Pete took a step back from time to time and let me edit some of the video whilst he worked on other things but still remained there to help and to hear the extracts, as it meant that I could learn more about Final Cut Pro and what different items of the software do.
As a team, we worked fairly well, we both agreed on the pieces to put in the video and then the pieces which needed removing. However I feel that the time we spent on creating this video could be dramatically reduced into one day instead of spread out amongst various weeks. Some areas we waited for Geneas video files and to see what could be done to the files to improve the quality. This is something to learn for next time. Better planning and time management is needed.
Here is some evidence of the video editing process.
This day consisted of editing down over 400 images to 356 and then editing down the best ones from them. This time round I only sent the best ones of the garments and a selection of the re shoot location images. These garment images proved tricky to edit as the white balance for the room the garments were set was all over the place. Some came out warmer and some came out colder, so it was a challenge to get the right temperature and colour for the garments. Also cropping the images and straightening them become a slight issue, being that there were two different lines to follow in some images, one being the window frame edge and the other line on the the brick work.
To improve I think that the garments could some what be slightly warmer but, once i do that the bricks go to an off white colour and not meeting the brief of the client to have a white back drop. To overcome this issue next time though I could take a colour chart so that I can use a droplet feature in Lightroom 3 to match the colours of the garment and also a better white balancing tool to get the right temperature.
Therefore below are the images in which I shot and edited:
Working for the same people we were invited back to do a further location shoot in Loughborough. However this time Fran’s boyfriend could not get the day off so we were left to get the train in. Again looking at the train line website we found that to travel from Coventry station we had to be there for the 9:06am heading for Nuneaton then switch trains to get to Leicester where we had to get another connecting train to Loughborough Station. This made is arrive at around 10:45, which suited the meeting time of 11:00am.
This time however we knew that we were going to shooting inside and so both agreed that lights will be needed for this occasion and since I can get a bus from my house to the train station we agreed that I would take them.
However finalising proceedings the night before with Fran an issue arose in the form Fran not feeling well already and therefore might not be able to make the shoot. This kind if worried me as I feel better travelling to unknown places with other people so getting lost does not feel so bad as well as thinking that out the two of us Fran is the more talkative and one who is good at posing people where as I am more technical with the lighting and settings. Also I tried booking a Nikon D700 and 70-200mm for this session and both were booked out, therefore I had to settle for a Canon 5D Mark II. This is not such a great problem for me as I am getting use to both system of cameras over my time at University, however i do prefer the look in portraits when using the 70-200mm at the 200mm end as it gives more Bokeh (blurring of the background) to the image and really makes the person stand out. This is not as affective with the Canons 24-105mm lens at 105mm. Also the Nikon lenses can go to f/2.8, unlike the Canon’s f/4, meaning that the Nikon is more adaptive in natural low light conditions.
To be prepared however I took pictures of the train times with my phone to make sure I knew what times they left Loughborough and the other various stations.
Gettin the trains to the station proved easier than first thought, so that did not get me worried or stressed, plus they all ran on time for once…
Since Fran was down ill, we ended up being a Photographer down in the end so there was a lot more to get through with only two photographers on scene. The day overall went quite well with the only issue of time again and it was a long day indeed. I did not get home till about 21:00. Another issue that I came across was the battery in the light meter went so the rest of the day I had to guess the exposures, which to be honest worked quite well.
This time it seemed that the new team to start with was Christine and I with two new models, Georgina and the shop owners Daughter, Lilly. These models were great to work with and I even gave more direction to Lilly than I usually would to models, to meet what the client wanted to see in the image. For example in the pictures where Lilly is reading the magazine on the counter, the client did not want to see the zip or some of the detail on the shoulder as these were later removed and did not yet have the updated garment. Despite this I think that there could of been more communication between Christine and I on how the set up from the team looked as well as the props used in each image. In some situations we did move items around and I did say a couple of times that the shot would not work because of the fixed items in the background. As well as this I could of done more to give better directions and spot things first time round rather than showing the client and realising or seeing it on the way home.
The day after was spent reducing over 500 images down to the 436 to be sent over and editing the ones they wanted to use once they had sent the list over. Whilst waiting for the Greenabelle team input I started to rate the ones I liked and felt were the better ones. The owner of the shop also requested a few images of her Daughter, Lilly to be sent over so she could put them up in the shop so I then started going about editing these images ready to be sent over to the team for them to pass them over since I did not have the owners contact details. Even if the owner wanted my work on her wall then the previous day has been redeemed as a success to me.
Below are the images that the Annie Greenabelle team wanted to use and some of the ones sent over for the shop owner to see.
On the 14th of January 2011, model, Andrew Gordon, contacted me on the growing website, Model Mayhem. I signed up to Model Mayhem in my first year of University as an extra link to add to my website design course through the University. He contacted me saying:
‘ hi craig, i’m a pro model/actor from just down the road from you in nuneaton. i’m currently in the process of a massive re-vamp of my portfolio and was wondering if we could shoot together sometime very soon. i have ideas of my own but also want input and ideas from people such as yourself and if there are pictures you want for your portfolio then that would be great. hope we can sort something out. really like your work,
andrew gordon ‘
Since I was on a work experience module I thought it would be a good opportunity to not refuse. I also got a similar message from another Model on the website but when it came down to wanting to meet to shoot, she did not reply. We messaged back and forth, and Andrew supplied some useful links to models whose work he liked. This is a website he gave me http://www.rednyc.com/website/splash/flash.htm and told me to look at two particular names, Eric B and another called Fergal O’Connor.
Over a few more emails we decided on a Studio shoot here at the University. For this I emailed Keith Holmes and made sure that the Studio Was booked for me on the day we arranged. We arranged to meet outside the University building for 10:30am where I would arrive at around 9:00am to make sure that the cameras were all in order and to set up the studio. I had also arranged for Francesca Hancox to help assist me with the lighting and for any help on poses as she is more inclined that way that I am. This in tern makes a great partnership between Fran and I. I am the technical one and so I help Fran with any lighting that needs doing and any settings that needs adjusting, where she helps me to come up with ideas and poses. However since Fran was coming in from Solihull, she had to get various methods of transport to reach the Studio. This did not go well for either of us as any form of transport she took, it was running late or had just gone because the previous mode was late. Therefore she did not reach the Studio till around midday. I managed to set up the studio whilst Andrew was getting changed and managed to change the lights to suit on my own, explaining that I did have an assistant, just the transport was letting her down.
During the studio session Andrew explained to me that he browsed Model Mayhem for local Photographers and picked around 30 people, to which he then narrowed down to the best ten to message. This to me was a little bit of a confidence boost, that my images were seen by a random person and judging by them, they wanted to do a shoot with me.
The inside shooting went okay and since the sun was coming out and one of the images in the example portfolio matched the outside of the University I decided it would be a good idea to go out and shoot. This meant leaving the studio and taking the reflector I had brought with me outside. The sun from the reflector was pretty harsh and trying to get the exposure right was hard since the Light meter battery had fallen out and was misplaced. In the end I had to shoot manual and constantly check the back of my camera and adjust my exposures and apertures in Manual Mode.
Again I sent over the images from the shoots to see which ones he preferred and so which ones I could edit. Over all though I shot over 300 images and managed to get it down to around 270 images. So far I have not heard from Andrew about which Images he preferred and so I edited and marked the ones I thought were the best ones.
One issue I found with this shoot is that I feel silent when shooting, I gave no real direction and just exploited Andrew’s experience on how to pose being a Professional model for 12 years. In a way this is a bad thing as i should know what I want from this shoot and how I want him to look to match the lighting that I had set up. Therefore this is something that I will definitely need to improve on over the rest of the module and career if i am wanting to produce better images.