The project brief- ‘You will decide on a theme/ genre for the portfolio and you will find a client to shoot specific images for. The client will write you a brief which you must adhere too.’
This evaluation will discuss and compare a range of critical perspectives, contexts and research tools that have influenced my work.
My client, theme and effectiveness of research
I chose the theme: Theatre Photography. I chose this theme because I not only like taking photos of performances but I also know a performing arts student- my brother. After talking with my brother he let me know that the Barnsley University Campus performing arts department could actually use a photographer for headshots and performance/rehearsal shots. The headshots will be used for personal portfolios and leaflets and websites and the rehearsal shots will be used for the internet and leaflets.
My client, Peter, wasn’t that great at replying to my emails so I had to wait days, sometimes a week or two, until I got an email. This did give me time to look at different images online and see what sort of thing I could do.
I looked through magazines, Pinterest, theatre/ performance leaflets and google images and I found that the leaflets and Pinterest helped the most as I could look at more specific things. Pinterest really did help as I could save my images easily and look at them easily. I could also key in specific words for the images. I didn’t really look at a lot of Photographers but Helen Maybanks stood out to me with her work (the image below).
It did stress me out but it also gave me opportunities to try some test shoots and look at previous work to see what I did well or what I didn’t do well. I did a test shoot in the college studio with a Nikon but in order to view them on my laptop I had to convert them and that made the files corrupt for some reason. Because that happened I had to do another shoot so I went around the college campus with Oliver and took some photos (below) on a Canon. The only editing I did of these photos were the exposure/curves on some and changing some to black and white.
I didn’t use a lot of editing as I am not the biggest fan or the most confident. When I did do editing I would try and make it very subtle or just make it black and white. As I edited quite a lot of photos I got more used to it and really liked messing around with the photos to get a handle of it and it has made it so I don’t make drastic or bad edits.
Reflection on my practical work
I am happy about my headshots as the models will use them for their personal portfolios but I am not happy about the rehearsal shots personally as they have noise and can be quite blurry. The headshots are ‘really good’ and my client said they would definitely have my services again but next time it will be in the theatre as I will have more control over the lighting. They know that the conditions were bad and will still use the images. I have noticed that I work better in theatre type conditions (images below- these are from a year ago).
I think my opinion of my practical work has been influenced by my previous work. My previous work, whether it be theatre photography or any other work I have done, is always clear and I try my hardest with my exposure, positioning, etc where as my practical work isn’t. It was hard to get in position when they were performing as the ones who weren’t performing were sat down on chairs and would direct what the others could do to improve their performance so I couldn’t get closer to the performers or move about without getting in someones way. The headshots were much easier as I could move about freely.
As the rehearsals were done in a ballet studio, which really didn’t have the best of lighting. With the combination of bad lighting, the fact that I was a distance away and that the models were moving made it so most of my photos bad. There was a bit of noise in my images due to the ISO but I couldn’t find a good combination of f.stop, aperture or ISO as there were so many issues with lighting and distance and movement.
Some of the students still had scripts so the paper was difficult to get in good focus as they were flailing their arms around as they were acting.
I prefer the headshots as they were crisp and clear. The head shots will be used for their personal portfolios and that meant that the images needed to be professional. Harbin, a student there, loved having his photo taken and would pose as much as he could. We went from head shots to modeling but I didn’t mind as I still managed to take photos that fit the criteria of what my client wanted. The modelling shots that Harbin did will probably also go into his portfolio.
Why do people create photographs?
People create photographs for several reasons. For example, photographs for themselves or a client. People will create photographs for magazines/publication to either show off a product or show news (e.g, natural hazard or even celebrities). Some people create exhibitions to show off their work so they will need photographs for that. Client work is important for varied and specific work as the client may want a range of photos or a certain theme (e.g wedding photos). Photographs are used to convey several messages, like pain, happiness, etc.
Creating images for a client can be quite difficult as you, as a photographer, has to decide key decisions about the photos based off of a brief. This makes it so the photos can be perfect in the photographers eye but not the clients’ or vice versa. The brief is the only criteria you can get and sometimes you cannot get test shoots done.
Creating images for yourself is easier as you know what sort of image you want and what sort of message you want conveyed. Even though everyone would want a perfect image, there is less stress for a personal image. Everyone wants perfection in their images whether it be lighting, shape, texture or sharpness but when it is for yourself then there isn’t pressure which is the opposite of how it can be for client work.
Creating images for magazines means that the photo has to be perfect and convey exactly what is needed for the product/celebrity as the photos need to be liked by your audience. Creating images for publication can be a little easier as the type of images they want can be raw shots of celebrities or global news. As these images would be of people or things moving then it makes it understandable to be slightly blurry.
Creating images for an exhibition is sort of a mixture between photos for yourself and photos for an audience. The photos are there to show the photographers opinion so the photos could be controversial. Most of the time photographers would stick to a theme for their exhibition to keep everything categorised. However, sometimes an exhibition will have different photographs (sometimes categorised) and this can be for several reasons- perhaps as a tribute to the photographer if they have died.
After finding a client, struggling with communication and taking photos in a terrible environment (in terms of lighting and such) I managed to finish the project. It didn’t take long at all to find a client due to me knowing people who did want photographs and they did try and get me in on easier times (times that didn’t clash with my college timetable) but sadly they couldn’t. Apparently Barnsley University Campus emails don’t like accepting or sending emails from people outside their email server so it made it difficult to get in contact with each other. When I went to take photographs for my client I just went with my camera and nothing else and it would’ve worked if the environment wasn’t so difficult to work in.
Overall I liked the task but not my photos. My photographs aren’t up to my own standards so I am not too happy about them. The clarity isn’t as good as my older photos so that is really disappointing to me, especially when I know I can take good (well at least decent) photos. I liked the challenge of having to get a client and what they want as it made me think what others wanted and made me look at my work differently. Looking at my work differently made it so I could appreciate different opinions of how photographs looked. I asked my models what they would like done with the photographs (darker? lighter?) so they could have their own input. Their input made it so I could look at the work with not only my opinion but theirs too.
One thing I could have done to improve my work was that I could have looked more into editing so I could have made them, my head shots, look more professional (they do look good though in my opinion). Most of my photos (the head shots) only got one or two little changes and that was only to change the tones from cold blues to warm. I really like that I only did a couple of changes as it makes me feel like I didn’t change them completely. If I looked more into photographers and on pinterest for more ideas of exposure, lines, etc for my images then I think I would have made more interesting photographs in terms of the rehearsal shots. Another way that I could have improved my work was if I practiced more in the environments that I had. I didn’t have the opportunity to go in more or to practice before the models/ students got there but next time, which was suggested by the client, I could go in more often.