Friday, 22 April 2016

Insight into Working Practice.

I personally believe that you have a lot of responsibility as a photographer, but I want to talk in particular about landscape photography. It is very much a double sided coin. On one hand you are increasing awareness about the place you are photographing, but if the area is protected, are you hurting the environment by bringing more people to it? It is the same for wildlife photography. Viewers see the photographs and then want to go to that place. You see this a lot with national parks, but does the increase in population in parks do the animals and land any good?  You have to question how you preserve what we have left, and does photographing that area increase awareness for the better? Does it help the park, animals, landscape you are shooting in? Does your presence do the land more harm than good?

(Advice from a blog on how to start local and branch out your landscape photography)

1. Keep your market local.
2. Start stock and go onto commissions. 

 (Article discussing landscape photography, money and jobs with Colin Prior.)

Colin, where is the money in landscape photography these days?
It’s very difficult to make money from landscape photography, full stop. I’ve behaved as a publisher for the last 15 years and I’ve never really made my living as a landscape photographer, more as a publisher who published my own work. There will always be a demand for paper products, people will always buy books and calendars, but the demand is probably falling.
In terms of stock I think we’ve reached a point where it’s largely worthless. People are expecting not to pay for photographs, and if they do pay they don’t expect to have to sign a licensing agreement for a limited time. Magazine editors increasingly tell me they don’t have a budget for photographs. So, if photographers can’t make money from images, what can they do?
What do you think you’ve done right?
There’s no doubt that if I hadn’t published my own work I wouldn’t have had so much visibility, but when I started out  in 1995 the economy was buoyant, there were lots of independent retailers and art shops, which have largely gone.
Any photographer can print their own work these days but not of as good a quality as the lithographic prints I’ve been doing, which is probably why they’ve been such a hit. But that model is no longer valid because the independent retailers have gone and images are now an online product.
What would you advise aspiring photographers to do?
I would keep landscape photography as a hobby and concentrate on general stock photography. Shoot a lot every day, take pictures of household appliances, car keys, coffee mugs, wellies, because people will use it and you’ll get a little bit of money very often.
And sometimes you get contacted for something more; I’ve just been contacted by a company that wanted to buy the world rights to an image I’d taken of northern lights to use with some computer software.
Websites now want cheap photography. When I worked at The Times three years ago there was a guy who came to me and wanted to be a newspaper photographer, and I advised him to shoot stock instead. He contacted me recently and said he was now earning as much as I earned when I was picture editor of The Times, and thanked me a lot for telling him to go down that route.

Saturday, 16 April 2016


Sam and I had our collaboration shoot with Frog and Pencil designs on Tuesday. Oowen very kindly helped out with set building and behind the scenes photography. It started off well, we had a little building hiccup but it was sorted very easily once we all figured out how to secure the legs to the bucket which held the curtains. I was extremely worried throughout the whole shoot that the bamboo would not hold the flowers and frames but it did hold. Sam and I split the shoot so she worked with studio lighting which was more relevant to her personal work, and I worked with natural lighting which is more relevant to my work. We shot all day as we had the studio booked from 9.30am to around 5pm. I believe it was a successful day and mainly problem free. Sam and I edited all the image by Thursday evening ready to sit down with Claire on Friday and go through everything. I personally did not do any serious editing, I just cleaned them up a little bit. Any other edits to the photographs were done with Claire and then given to her at the end of the editing session. 

I'm almost finished now. That was the last shoot for this unit done. All that is left to do is the final prints, finish adding the report notes to the essay, spell check everything, blog work, analyse final edits and rename all the files. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016


So it's collaboration hand in day today. I think my partner and I started off really well. We struggled initially to come up with some ideas, the first few ideas seemed to have a little too much of me involved. We were going through one another's work when I came across his flower photography and I thought I would be able to create a similar visual/colour feel with alcohol ink. I created the ink pieces whilst the cameras Lewis had put up filmed what I was doing. I put all of this together to produce the presentation that we then presented together before Easter break. Since Easter break I have felt like communication broke down a little bit. We struggled at the start due to his deadlines, as he was producing work for a competition and had a lot of group meetings. My work schedule and his clashed a little bit outside of uni but we eventually found a day to film that worked for both of us. I was admittedly away for some of Easter break as was he, but communication was more difficult once the presentation was finished. We were able to go through the footage together and decide what and how to edit and what we wanted the finished article to look like. We weren't sure of the exact outcome of the final piece when we started so the shots weren't placed in a specific order after being exported. Viewing the footage at my place we knew we had got some great shots which we could work on. For example, in my last blog post, I mentioned I stepped into the main shot by accident (although it definitely ended up working out in our favour!). Shooting with multiple cameras did take some getting used to,  I was initially worried about accidentally stepping into view, or that my shadow or reflection would appear on the glass. Lewis helped me get to grips quickly and we even worked out that my reflection in the glass, rather than being a hazard, could end up complimenting the piece. You can actually see me working away and creating the ink glass pieces throughout the film and I personally think it does work, however at the time I was worried but turning that negative into a positive made the collaboration really rewarding. Also since the whole piece is about playing with light and colour when you see my reflection or light being passed through the ink-stained glass it does not detract at all. The majority of the final piece is from the main camera on the fluid head tri-pod, which was situated directly over the pane of glass which I was dropping ink onto. This also affected the framing decision, which is why the film is square. It had to be cropped slightly due to the paper wrapped around the furniture, due to this, it was decided that it would be better as a square crop due to ratio. The very simple piece of music was created in logic and adds another layer to the piece because the sound of a piano key changes the shot, whilst the drum introduces the overlay changes with the light effects.  Although the timing of the project was difficult due to both of us being busy, I really appreciated the chance to work with another student, as Lewis introduced extra concepts such as music and me being in the photo that we both were able to develop on. There were also the usual constraints that had to be worked around, such as the lack of studio space and lighting, but considering this I think the piece is an even better accomplishment for us both.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

I'll meet you after my meeting.

It's not long till deadline and I'm starting to panic a little bit. I do not think I am behind but the amount of work I have left is daunting. My website wireframe designs are done and the business cards are ready to print. My facebook and Instagram profiles link up nicely. My blog is slowly coming along. My first final prints have been selected and printed and are now ready to have wax and resin worked into them. This means once they are done I can print the final prints on the right kind of paper, back them and then do encaustic things to them next week. This also means if they go wrong, I have just over one week to print and start again. I have my final meeting with the designer for the collaboration shoot tonight, as well as the final prop shopping trip with Sam in an hour. I'm also going over the other collaboration film pieces from collaboration week in March, later on, today. Basically, this week is all meetings and preparation, next week is shooting and final printmaking. The final week will be spent going over everything and finishing off any last pieces. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

All of the paper!

I ordered a range of free sample from companies such as Vista and Moo. I am absolutely in love with Moo. It is almost exactly what I have been looking for. A lot of paper I have been offered or told to print on has a gloss or smooth matte finish which is not what I am looking for. I don't like the shine or quality/feel of the cards. They feel odd in my hand and the shine can easily attract dirt or get smudges on them. 

orignal gloss card/orignal matte finish postacrd

luxe notecard paper/matte finish card

My favourite is the luxe notecard paper. At 600gsm it is a little thick. I would prefer around 400gsm. This is exactly what I was looking for to print my business, thank you and package cards on. 

business and money of luxe notecard paper at 600gsm

They also provide A4 luxe notecard paper at 130gsm to allow invoice printing or anything else you would like on the back of your logo/company name/poster.

I think this is definitely the company I will be going with to print the various cards I am designing. It was the company that most impressed me in terms of ordering, delivery and presentation. Vista and overnight prints had a very small range of sample and the packaging put me off. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Collaboration Film/Presentation.

Lewis came around the other day to film our collaborative piece together. We ended up having to use my own living room which I cleared out the best I could. There was no studio space available and I still have the builders light from the 1st year exhibition so it was easier to light my own apartment. We initially had trouble with the setup. We ended up borrowing my neighbours outdoor furniture and wrapped the furniture in white paper. We then covered my floor in a white back drop and started setting up the various cameras. This was a whole new experience for me. I am used to just working with a few assistants, maybe a model and then one camera. Lewis bought four cameras (plus mine made five.) We had one stationed directly above the glass on a fluid head tri-pod. We then had a go-pro, and two other cameras placed at various angles and filming at different speeds. Lewis wanted to try and get as many different shots as we could in one take. This was also pretty hard for me, as a photographer you never have to worry about getting in the way of your own shot. On the very first take I accidentally stepped into view of one of the cameras. I stepped forward too far and my foot was caught in the top right corner of the main wide angle shot. Once the filming of the alcohol ink being splattered onto the glass was done, I then added blending solution and the we photographed the reaction between the solution and ink. I used a hair dryer to create movement and force the ink across the glass. Lewis then lay under the glass and I dropped solution onto the clear parts of glass where his phone with a macro attachment was recording. We then reviewed the footage whilst the ink was drying. Once it was dry Lewis focused the camera on the fluid head tri-pod onto my wall. I held the ink-stained glass directly above the camera and he shone light through the glass to create patterns on the wall which we also recorded. It took some work not to get shadows caught on the wall from the other equipment but eventually we got a few good shots. 

Unfortunately we had no footage to show on presentation day. Our work shifts clashed the rest of Wednesday and Thursday and we didn't have time to meet up and edit the footage. This is something we will do over the Easter holidays in time for deadline on the 7th of April. I think due to the time constraints, lack of studio space and different work schedules we did really well to get to where we were on Friday morning. The feedback for what we had was good. We had some interesting conversations on what we both found different about working with film and stills. Hopefully over the next two weeks we can get the film edited and I will be able to post the final piece on here soon. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Ranger Kit.

Canon 5D Mark III

Ambient light – F/2.0 ISO-100 1/60th – 8990
F/2.8 ISO-100 1/30TH – 8992
8996 had the same settings but ISO-400
Went back to 1/60th for 8994
Ranger kit – 2.5 – Bouncing from polyboards. Only using one light

F/3.2 ISO-100 1/60TH – 9002

Ranger down to 2 – using two lights and diffusing
F/4.0 ISO – 100 1/25TH – 9012
Right light bouncing of the ceiling. Left light being diffused.
F/5.6 ISO – 100 1/25TH – 9017 F/5.6 ISO-100 1/200th – 9021
Bouncing Ranger kit back of boards – 9024 onwards. Same settings as before.

Bouncing light off the ceiling – 9031. Same settings as before.