Archive for May, 2013

Assignment 1: Portrait of An Anarchist


Assignment 2: How We Met

How We Met_Alex&Garreth_Character Portrait

Assignment 3: Food – Fruit & Veg



Throughout the duration of this module, I feel I have developed as a photographer. I have felt challenged by exploring briefs outside of my general comfort zone and as a result, I have learnt quite a lot about the editorial industry and the various methods and approaches editorial photographers must adopt when working to short deadlines and particular contexts.

I found this was particularly the case when working with people, arranging models, location, costume and time was more challenging than I’d anticipated, from this, you then need to make most of the time available to you.

I think I may have been more engaged by this module, if I had been able to follow a brief that was more relevant to my intended professional practice, particularly relating to wildlife as this is an area in which I need to build my portfolio.

However, I understand the purpose of this was to broaden our photographic experience and explore other markets that were perhaps previously unknown to us.

Overall, I have been able to work to the best of my ability to resolve each of my briefs and gain some insight into my own intended photographic practice.

To finalise this, I now need to consider how I might present this on Thursday.

In order to decide upon which image would be the most appropriate for this brief, I revisiting my research for health food magazines. I started think about compositional features, the use of space and colour and which image I felt best represented my own creative intentions for this brief.

I decided to use two images:



As I mentioned in my previous post, I would like this act as a cover and supporting image for use in health food magazine, in particular, Eating Well, Delicious Living or other similar publications.

This image stood from the rest for me because it finds a balance between the application and absence of colour. Overall, I would argue that they both have a strong composition, offering a subtle yet visually appealing representation of fresh, healthy strawberries. This could also be relevant other British food publications due to both the colour connotations of red, white and blue (British flag) and the popularity of strawberries and strawberry recipes in Uk summer food issues.

I am quite pleased with the resulting images, especially as studio practice and food photography in general, are fairly new experiences for me.

Photos: Six Best Images

Posted: May 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

After reviewing and editing my food images, I was able to narrow them down to the six best images for my brief.

Within this, I had considered which were the strongest both aesthetically and contextually whilst remain relevant to editorial publications. An important aspect of this was looking for image that placed the main subject(s) towards the right side, as often with Healthy Food Guide, Eating Well and Delicious Living, there needed to more room above and to the left of the image, to account for text and other design elements.

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These first two images are an example of a more minimalist approach, subtle additions of colour contrasted by a clean, white background. I feel the resulting images were light and elegant reinforcing the freshness of the strawberries. The first acts as more of a cover image, potentially aimed at Eating Well or other similar publications for a June issue. The second could be used as an additional support image inside the magazine.


This image offers a very different appeal to my previous two, a more rustic approach with a stronger influence of colour, emphasising the visual contrast between the strawberries and the soft blue background. Overall, it feels more akin to a still life image. I like the background textures and the visually interesting shadows of the strawberries. I had considered this as more a centre page image for a feature on strawberry recipes.


This image is similar to my previous image in its colourful approach, however, the background appears as much less dominant feature. For this, I wanted the focus to be entirely upon a particular strawberry close to the foreground, with relevant contextual features in the background. This could also act as a cover image for Eating Well or Health Food Guide. It could also be paired with the previous image, acting as a cover and centre page feature for spring fruit or strawberry recipes.


This is one of my less colourful images, white bowl and white background. As a result, our attention is purely upon the fruit itself, which now appears much fresher and vibrant with contrast. This is one of the sharpest and cleanest images of my shoot and offers a broader appeal than the previous two images. It could act as a cover for Healthy Food Guide, Eating Well or Delicious Living.


The final image is also quite minimal, however, the use of colour and texture meets a middle ground between simplicity and homely. The strawberry in the foreground is once again the main focus of the image, although the composition and colour elements make the image feel less formal. This could act as a cover image for Eating Well or Delicious Living.

Narrowing my selection from here has been a difficult process, there are different aesthetic elements for each image but each are relevant to editorial food photography.

I will update soon with my final image.

Photos: Studio Shoot

Posted: May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

For my studio shoot, I used the following equipment setup:

  • 1 x Sigma macro lens 50mm (canon fit)
  • 4 x Bowens Gemini lights 750w
  • 3 x Softboxes
  • 1 x Beauty dish + grid
  • 1 x Flash trigger
  • Portable shooting table
  • 3 x C stands
  • 1 x Backlight stand
  • 4 x Sandbags/weights
  • 1 x Punnet of strawberries
  • 1 x White sheet
  • 1 x White bowl
  • 1 x White plate
  • 1 x White placemat
  • 1 x Small blue dish
  • 1 x Blue tea towel

General Light setup:

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Prior to the shoot, I had a rough plan for my lighting setup. Within this, I wanted to work with even, consistent and soft lighting . Then, if needed, using the beauty dish to define or fill in unflattering shadows. I decided to use the flash trigger in the left main light. I needed to experiment for a while to find which settings allowed for correct exposure and composition.


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I then started the process of experimenting with compositions featuring the strawberries, various dishes and tablecloth.

I found this shoot to be fairly challenging at first. Due to unexpected circumstances, I was unable to use a macro lens for a large part of the shoot. From this, I had to be very precise with manual focus when aiming to highlight particular fruit(s) within the frame and creating a flattering, softened blur upon the background.

I tried to consider my research and test shots when experimenting with different compositions and lighting effects. There were different appeals to both the clean, white images and the more colourful, still life images, some of the best images aimed to offer a balanced approach somewhere between the two distinct aesthetic styles.

Throughout the shoot, I started to feel more confident within my studio space. My compositions became visually stronger and well thought out. After a while, I tried to visualize how it might appear in a publication. For example, the format and compositional style for a main cover image, centre page feature or supporting detail shot.


I will review my images further and begin to select the most appropriate and visually successful images. As I am required to submit one image, I will need to be quite strict in my selection process.

One to One session

Posted: May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Prior to my studio shoot, I attended a one to one session with David to discuss my general progress, receive feedback on my second assignment and to ask for any advice in regards to my third assignment.

I asked about how my research was going and how I was refining research towards my own practice. Other than some very basic research, I hadn’t realized we needed to document more specific information. I have since then, started to build some strong ideas in relation to wildlife photography, which I decided to focus upon more due to having less knowledge and experience within this field.

I then received some feedback upon my second assignment. He felt the backgrounds were visually interesting for both of the main portrait I had sent him, however this sometimes dominated over the images too much, distracting attention away from the subjects. The second image nearby to Urbis, was too much like a vox pop image, with little evidence for formal staging. I had also sent him a more experimental image, one which offered a stronger representation of the relationship between the subjects. He preferred this image, as it demonstrated a greater sense of scale between the subjects, a less distracting background and seemed more expressive and visually interesting as a portrait.

How We Met_Alex&Garreth_Character Portrait

I was asked to at some stage to re-shoot a formal portrait using the same locations and models as there was some potential in my idea, but perhaps approaching it from a more environmental format, moving away from my subjects to gain an interesting visual dynamic and possibly soften the background to create a more flattering portrait. He seemed concerned than that I had constrained myself too much by the existing images used for How We Met in the Independent. If I were to re-shoot, I should ignore this context and aim to produce a creative and visually strong portrait to build my photographic portfolio.

Finally, I discussed my intentions for my third assignment, asking if I was approaching it successfully and if were permitted to use a more minimal and simplistic approach within our images. He reassured me that this was fine, providing there is forethought and evidence to justify my decision.

With this, I felt quite confident for my shoot on Thursday. Now, I need to decide upon which images were the most appropriate and successful.

Photos: Test Shots

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

I decided that I would start to think about potential compositions at home by using a fairly basic light setup. I was able to acquire strawberries easily enough, fairly cheap strawberries for now because this preparation is more about composition and lighting than the quality of the fruit.

However, I surprised I was unable to find rhubarb in the supermarket. Particularly as this is considered to be its peak season and is generally seen as popular British fruit.

Before my shoot tomorrow, I intend to look for better produce within local markets.

For now, I will start to consider how strawberries could be composed.

After my session with David today, I have a better idea of whether or not I’m heading in the right creative direction. I will experiment with the use other props, straight on or overhead approach, following a minimalist approach focusing upon the fruit rather than trying to emulate the ingredients of existing recipes.

I started by my setting up lighting, place mat and plate/bowl.

This allowed me to see the effects of compositions in relation to the positions of light sources.

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From this, I started to think about the compositions of the strawberries and build potential frames for tomorrow’s shoot. One the main defining characteristics throughout the images, is the application or absence of colour.

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As advised, I have been researching further into the niche markets I intend to produce images for in my future professional practice. This has also involved contacting South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

Since visiting the park as part of my editorial module last year, I have been meaning to contact the park and ask whether or not they accept image submissions for promotional use.

It seemed the preferred method of contacting the park was to simply fill out a contact form and wait for a response.

Contact - South Lakes

Dear sir or madam,

I am contacting you to enquire about any promotional photography used for your park. I am currently a BA Photography student at the University of Salford. I am very passionate about animals and animal conservation and have visited your park on numerous occasions. This includes three visits around Halloween last year to produce a photo story that could be used to promote the park and documented the interaction between the animals and visitors to the park. I was wondering if you could tell me if you accept image submissions or if you use a private photographer? Either way, I would find it very helpful if you were able to give me some insight into the any preferences you have when looking for or producing promotional images.


Hayley Slade

I am unsure at this point whether I will receive a response before the end of this module. However, I will keep look out for a response over the next week.

With this, I hope to gain an insight into promotional photography for zoos and animal park and/or make a possible contact for future editorial work.