Friday, 26 November 2010

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

I received the results of my application today. I applied for exemption from the remaining two level 1 units of my photography degree and  was granted exemption from Digital Photographic Practice but not People and Place.

I have enjoyed working my way through Art of Photography. My pictures have definitely improved and I was forced to tackle subjects that I wouldn't normally photograph, but I wanted a more demanding level of study.

I'm a little disappointed that I can't start level 2 immediately, but think People and Place will be interesting, particularly in view of my new role with the casting agency. My enrolment form has been submitted and I look forward to receiving my new study materials.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


I spent the weekend in Manchester at the third annual Great British Salsa Experience Congress. This is by far the UK's best salsa weekender and an opportunity to catch up with friends from all over the country as well as overseas.

This was also a very important event for Dos-Seis Dance Company who were able to showcase their current routine to an international audience for the first time. I captured the girls preparing for their congress début in Manchester Town Hall and converted the images to black and white in Lightroom.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Dos-Seis Dance Company

My friend manages a dance group and asked me to take some publicity shots of them last Saturday. Their début performance is this Sunday and the images have been posted on Facebook, included in a promotional video and will be uploaded to their website.

I bought a background support and some black muslin recently. I have played with this set up at home, but this was my first opportunity to use it with live models. We were in a large studio as the group had planned to rehearse after the photoshoot so there was plenty of room and plenty of light. I used a couple of the studio's built-in spotlights as continuous light sources rather than use my speedlights.

What have I learned?
These dancers all had poses worked out in advance and in view of the purpose of the photographs, they are highly stylised. However, I still think their individual personalities shine through.
I had to darken the background in Photoshop so, in future I need to try and underexpose the background at the time of capture. In some instances, a bit of back/rim lighting would have been useful to lift the subjects from the background.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Family Photoshoot

My friend booked me to take some pictures of herself and her children on Monday 25 October. She wanted pictures taken at her home, but I told her beforehand that I would like to also use her garden depending on the weather. As it turned out, the weather was perfect - bright but overcast for most of the time though the sun did make an appearance once or twice.

This is a very small selection of the images:

I wanted to make use of the strong backlight coming through the living room window. I used a silver reflector as the subjects are all young and ISO 400. The image was a little underexposed but this was rectified in Lightroom.

This was lit by combining natural light and ISO 1000. I added a little bit of fill light in post-processing as the girl was in shadow. I like the effect of the lens distortion on the boy's legs. His mother commented that she liked this too.

I bounced the flash off the ceiling to my left (ISO 1000) and applied a cream tone in Lightroom. I think the shadow adds form to the image, but I diffused the light because I didn't want the shadow to have hard edges.

I used the bounced flash technique again (ISO 400) and applied a black and white vignette in post-processing. This is my favourite shot of the day as it conveys the relationship between mother and daughter.

What have I learned? 
I'm very pleased with the quality and impact of light in all of the images. For the first time, I felt confident about placing the subjects and making decisions about using my reflector and/or speedlight.
I am also happy that the pictures look natural and not posed. I was fortunate to have subjects happy to have their pictures taken and quite relaxed in front of the camera.