London Trip/ Workshops/ Visiting Lectures  

London Trip

At the beginning of year two we were offered a trip to London form the 13th-17th of November. We were offered this trip in our first year but at the time I could not afford to go, but I heard from everyone who went how much fun and how much they learnt from the trip, so I decided to save some money so that I could this year.

On day one (13th November) we met outside the college at 8:15 so that we could catch the bus to London at 8:30. We then arrived at the hotel around 15:30 and then had the rest of the day to do what we wanted before the busy next day. On the 14th we met outside the hotel at 8:00 to go to the Seventy 7 Studios. Seventy 7 is a premier studio, production studio and production agency. During out time there we had a variety of different talks/presentations from people who work there from photographers, retouchers and art directors. I found these talks very interesting and appealing and it defiantly made me think about the industry and what to expect when I get into the industry, they did not sugar coat what the industry will be like. After listening to the talks they then took us around the studios talking about some of the brands they work for and seeing some of the studio setups they have. I really enjoyed learning about the clients they have and how they setup there studios, I also liked how they did not have the top of the range art studios but had what they need for the shoot and not unnecessary equipment. After finishing our time at the studios at around 2 we then headed back to the hotel and had the rest of the day to ourselves

The 15th was the all-day event where we had a symposium, the outline of the day is as following:

  • 9:00 – Students/Morning guests arrived
  • 9:20 – Programme started – Welcome & Introduction
  • 9:30 – Rachel Smith – Fashion, Beauty & Portrait Photographer – I really like her talk as I want to go into the fashion and portrait industry and It gave me more of an idea on what to expect and how to get into the industry.
  • 10:15 – Owen Harvey – Editorial photographer
  • 11:00 – Break
  • 11:15 – Philip Haynes – Sport & Portrait Advertising photographer
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • 1:30 – David Ellis – Advertising & Editorial photographer and film maker
  • 2:15 – Niall Horton Stephens – Agency & Production Company
  • 3:00 – Break
  • 3:15 – Sarah Williams – Creative Consultant & Art buyer

I really enjoyed the day and had a great time learning about what each of the photographers do and how they got into the industry. After we had the talks and during the breaks we were able to have a one to one with one of the photographers to show them our portfolios and to talk more to them on the best way for us to move forward and what we could do better with our work. I had my portfolio review at around 5:15 with the photographer David Ellis. Though he was not the photographer I really wanted to talk to because he is not in the fashion industry he gave me some great advise. He said my work was really good and I had a great eye for it. However he did say that I should look in to not only fashion but portraiture as well, as my work seems to be half fashion and half portraits. Getting this advice was very helpful and made me think more about portraiture and is that something I want to go into? After a lot of thinking and as I move forward in this project I have realised, that I want to look into both and improve my skills for both. The Symposium finished at 5:30. Where we then had the rest of the evening to do what we would like.

On the 16th we had a workshop with an editorial photographer called Peter Zelewski. Peter is based in London and does mostly portrait and documentary photographer. He is drawn to the streets of London to take photographs of the people, which have then resulted in two award winning projects called People of Soho and Beautiful Strangers.

The brief of the day was to meet outside the hotel at nine to then walk to the East End. The idea of the day was to develop our skills on editorial street portraiture. We were put into groups of four and asked to shoot as a group 12 different portraits of people we stop on the street. In my group there was Megan, Sandra, Gaby and me. I had a really fun time doing this project and I learnt a lot about street photography and the best way to ask strangers if we can take their portrait. Though at the beginning we found it difficult to go up to people and ask to take their photo with the help of Peter we grow in confidence and by the end we went up to people without any hesitation and got some great photos.

On the last day (17th) we could either go to the Taylor Wessing Portrait exhibition or have the morning to ourselves. I decided to have the morning to myself and made sure everything was packed. We then got the coach outside the hotel at 12:15 and then arrived back on Plymouth at 19:15.

Overall I had an amazing trip and developed my skills and learnt a lot of new information about the world of fashion and portraiture industry. My favourite day defiantly had to be the workshop we did was Peter Zelewski as I loved how the project was so hands on and he was there to ask questions about what he does, give us advice on how to take the best street images and learn from doing and not by listening. I am very glad I came to London for this trip and will defiantly be coming back on the trip in my 3rd year.

Workshops 

Kick start project 

The first workshop we did at the beginning of the second year was on out first two days back (4-6 October) we were given a choice of lots of different briefs with live clients in one of the subjects fashion, advertising and editorial. I picked the fashion brief called Rock the Frock wedding dresses. The brief for the project was that the client would like us to take photos on location at Royal William Yard that really show the brand Rock Frock. The dresses are all about embracing individuality and making something available for non-traditional brides so think edgy, quirky, cool rather than girly, cheesy and traditional bridal shoot.  These images will then be used as advertising material in the shop, print and online. I was really looking forward to this project as I have never work with a really live client or with wedding dresses before, so I thought it would be a great experience.

On the 4th we were given the brief and told our groups, my group then met up to plan what time we would meet up the next day to start planning the shoot. We decided to meet at 10:30. The next day we spent planning for the shoot i.e. making mood boards, thinking of the equipment we might need, coming up with some shoot ideas, what makeup to put on the model and going to the wedding dress shop and deciding what dresses we would be using. On this day we did not have many problems and we all worked well as a team to get everything ready for the next day. The only problem was that we had not met the model so when going to the wedding dress shop we had no idea what size she was and the client wanted to meet the model before picking what dresses to put her in. This meant that we planned for the client to come on the day of the shoot to meet the model and help her get ready so that the client could pick which dresses go with which models.

The day of the shoot was very busy the plan was to be at Royal William Yard by 12 so that we had the rest of the afternoon to shoot. However the makeup artist was not very experienced and it took her all morning to do the makeup and hair. This worried my group a bit as we had not gone to the location before -hand to see what might be the best places to shoot. This meant that when we arrived at the location we would have to pick the best locations. Because of this my group decided to split up, two people stay with the client and model and make sure they are happy, whilst the rest of us go to the location pick the best place to shoot and setup the location. By the time we had setup the equipment and the model had arrived we started shooting at 1. Though we were a bit panicked at the beginning of the day the rest of the day went very smoothly and we all worked well as group and got some amazing images that the client was very happy with. Here are my groups final images from the day.

Capture One Intro 

For our second workshop we were introduce to capture one I was very excited for this workshop as I have never used capture one and I was excited to learn. The idea of the shoot was to work in groups and photograph each other. In the morning we were given a talk about how to work capture one and how to use it, as after the talk we were put in our groups and were asked to practice and at the end show out lecturer that we understand how to use it by showing them the procedure. The tasks we had to show them we could do were:

  • Open a session and name it (Your name and module number)
  • Attach the camera to the software
  • Adjust the camera setting using capture one
  • Take a shot both from the software and from the camera
  • Apply adjustments i.e. Levels and curves, colour management and WB
  • Produce a single variant in any style
  • Colour code the image, rename (Your name and Final)
  • Process it as a JPG as proof

To begin with I found getting used to capture on quite difficult but as the day went on I got more confidant in using it. In our groups we were given jobs so that we could take it in turns using capture one these jobs were:

  • Photographer – Takes the shot as directed by the DOP
  • Digital operated -Helps assist the photographer whilst shooting
  • Assistant – Assist the photographer and DOP
  • Director of Photography (DOP) – Over sees the entire shoot and gives creative ideas for the shoot
  • Lighting Director – setup the lighting with the help of the DOP and assistant
  • Stylist – Styles the model or product as directed by the DOP and Photographer

At the end of the workshop I think I was able to follow the instruction above and by the end understood Capture one and  this was a great way to introduce use to Capture one and learn more about the different roles and jobs there are when on a shoot. I am looking forward to learning more about capture one and the different roles involved in shoots.

The Phone 

 The aim of this workshop was to cut out an image of a phone using the pen tool, make a path and then put a different coloured background onto the image. I had used the pen tool before but not in sometime so it was a great refresher on how to use the tool.

The first task was to use the pen tool and go around the phone being as precise as possible. On a phone there are some curved edges to go around the curve you have to hold down the curser over the point, holding down the CMD button I was able to drag the path of the pen tool to shape around the curve of the phone. After mapping the phone I created a path and was then using layers and adding a layer meant I was able then to add a different coloured background. When the background colour had been added I had to go around the phone using the clone stamp tool to fill in the edges of the phone, this had to be done because when making the path there where places around the phone I had not been accurate enough. This was essential as I needed to get rid of the old background colour to make it look like the phone had been shot with that colour background.

I found this workshop very useful as it gave me a refresher on how to uses each of these tools and using this technique might come in handy when doing my own images.

The Ring 

During this work shop we were given two images of a golden ring one image the focus was on the bottom of the ring and the other image the focus was on the top of the ring. The aim of this task was to cut out the top half of the bottom ring and place it on the top of the top ring this then created an image that was completely in focus. After we had put the two images together we had to go round the ring and get rid of any blemishes or imperfections and alter the colour of the ring to make the colour more gold. I had never done a task like this before and I found it very hard to get it right at first but as I practiced I got better and in the end found this task easy to complete and very helpful.

Christmas Food Shoot 

For Visual trends the Class was put into groups and were asked to take a range of images to advertise Christmas Food items. My group was given the task of shooting M&S Christmas food. The brief my group was given was to produce 2- 3 colour digital photographs to be used for in the store and online advertising. (When shooting these items we needed to make sure we shoot in the style of M&S so we also had to look at how M&S advertised there Christmas food.

Shoots required:

  • 1 x Whole product for in store advertising and website header, to fit both letterbox and 6-4 ratio.
  • 1-2 x Detail shots for website adverting in store products, 6-4 ratio.

The aims of this project were:

  • To introduce you to food photography and give you the opportunity to focus on a client brief
  • To gain further skills together as a team, contributing individually towards a common goal, exercising creativity and working collaboratively to meet an intended outcome
  • To understand the importance of styling, food preparation and working to a layout.

In my group we were all given roles these were photographer, home economist, stylist, art director, lighting and editor. By doing this we were given an idea of what it would be like on a real food shoot. Each group was also given a certain type of lighting to use i.e. Daylight, flash and Kino. My group was given Kino lighting this was the first time we had using the Kino lighting as we had only been introduced to the lighting this morning, so I was excited to experiment with a new type of lighting.

The people in my group where:

  • Megan
  • Andy
  • Abi
  • Grace
  • Me

I really enjoyed this work shop and loved learning about this new type of lighting. Though am not interested in the food photography industry I learnt a lot and had a great time with my group. My group mostly worked really well together there were a couple of problems as we sometimes disagreed on how to style the different foods, but overall it was successful.

Lesson 2 on Capture One 

This was my next experience of using Capture One, The idea was that for the next two lessons we would dive into Capture One to make sure that we all understand it fully and knew what it is capable of. At the beginning of the lesson people were not happy about only just  having been introduced  to Capture One and felt they should have been introduced to this in year one? Why did we learn about Lightroom and Bridge if our lecturers will tell us to use Capture One instead? After having it explained why we learn about it in our second year and not our first people where still not happy, but as the next two lessons went on we got to learn how important and helpful Capture One is and how it is a powerful tool for any photographer. During the next two lessons we leant to import images, using the keyboard with Capture One, Changing the white balance, changing the background colour, alter eye colour and de-saturate an image. I found all these lessons very useful as we got to understand how to fully use Capture One to our advantage.

It is amazing the quality Capture One is able to produce. Though Capture One is a lot more expensive than Lightroom I can see why many people use it, as it is a lot more powerful than Lightroom. I am looking into if I can afford it or not myself, but if I can’t I will definitely use this software at Uni.

Looking back at all the workshops I have done for the project of visual trends I am very pleased with what I have learnt and with every workshop my skills have improved which means I am improving as a photographer.  I am looking forward to the workshops to come.

Visiting Lectures 

I am always very excited for when visiting lectures come to see us as we get to learn more about the industry and show them our work and get their opinions and also ask them questions about the industry.

Dylan Thomas 

The first visiting Lecture there was, was Dylan Thomas. He is an award winning photographer who has assisted renown photographers such as Lord Snowdon. Dylan has built up a reputation in the industry over the years and is an interior, still life and Portrait photographer and does work for a number of highly valued clients as well as the famous and rich. Sadly I only got to listen to his presentation about what he does and his work as I had to leave after the presentation to go to London to assist Holly McGlynn, so I was not able to participate in the workshop, but I heard it was a lot of fun and they had a great time learning from him.

Rebecca Swift 

I have been to two talks by Rebecca Swift one about the Getty image trends and one on how to market yourself. Looking back at the two talks I defiantly found the first talk more interesting about the trends as for this project of Visual trends we are looking at the Getty image trend. Rebecca has been in the photography industry for over 20 years and was one of the founding members of the creative research team at Getty Images where she introduced visual research methodology to the photographic industry. She is now responsible for collating and building image collections for iStock, which is a subsidiary of Getty Images.

In the morning we had a talk form Rebecca Swift telling us what she does in the Industry and about the trends. In the afternoon everyone in the class showed two images they have done for this assignment of visual trends so far. Rebecca then had to guess which trend it was following this and then give us feedback on what she thought about the images and what she might change. The two images I showed her she seemed to really like them, she guessed straight away that they were both following the trend Colour surge and she said they definitely followed the trend and I should be very pleased with them. The only advice she gave me which I then followed was to crop them down a little bit which will then make them stand out more. I followed this advice and now one of the images is my final image.

I am very happy with the advice Rebecca gave me and I learnt lots from the experience on how Getty images works in the UK and worldwide. I think she offered a great amount of encouragement for our work and was keen to take any questions we had. I really enjoyed both her talks a learnt a lot form the experience.

Ian Catling 

Ian Catling has over 20 years, experience creating brand technologies and ideologies for companies such as ABSOLUT, Energiser, Cadbury, and many more. Around twelve months ago he has set up his own business. His knowledge and willingness to pass on tricks and tips I found very useful as some visiting lecturers we have had before have not been as willing to give tips and information. My only problem with the day was that he did not know much about photography and when getting his opinions on our images to me he did not seem that knowledgeable about giving us advice on our images. However saying this it was really interesting to learn about the process of creating a brand before the photographer is involved and what goes on.

After the presentation about his work and some of the brands he had worked on we were then put into groups and given a brief to create a new advertising campaign for a sofa company called Sofology. In my group there was Barbra, Molly and me. The first part of the assignment was to research our chosen product and make mood boards and come up with an ad idea following the described protocols of that brand Ian had spoken about in his presentation. After coming up with the ad idea we then had to present is to Ian and the rest of the class. At the end of our presentation Ian seemed to like out idea, but advised use that when doing a presentation to speak up and be a bit more confident. I completely agreed with what he said as before doing the presentation my group were a bit nervous as we had not had long to create the presentation and come up with our idea.

At the end of the presentations we then showed Ian one of our images as I said before he did not know much about the photography and he mainly does advertising so when he was looking at the images he was talking about the images in a branding and advertising way. However he seemed to like my image and it was nice to get an opinion of someone who is not directly in the photography industry.

I enjoyed the day with Ian and I learnt a lot about branding and what comes before the photographer is even thought about. It was also interesting to hear about what he looks for in a photographer when they get to that stage of branding.

Overall I really enjoyed all the talks form the visiting lecturers in particular Rebecca Swift. I am also looking forwarded to more visiting lectures in the future. As well as more workshops and trips to come.