Personal Development in Specialist Pathway

Research and work for my Photography Module

This is a peek into what I did to achieve the Vampire look I wanted.

The editing itself took me probably an hour or so to do and though it looked like I knew exactly what I was doing and how I wanted it, this was indeed false. When I started off, I had a specific look in mind that I wished to create, but I don’t always know how to achieve it, or if, indeed, I could. So, I bent and changed my idea to what you see before you.

I believe the look I was left with is perfect. Even though the model is a Vampire, I didn’t want too much gore to be in the image. I wanted to be rather professional and nice to look at, even if what you’re meant to be looking at is a undead person. 

Setup for Second ModelThe second model was to be made into a Vampire and from the start I had wanted a specific lighting for that shoot therefore, that is what I intended to use. The Butterfly Lighting, with what I have been eager to try out, is the ideal lighting for any kind of portrait, the reason why I wanted to use it on a Vampiric portrait in particular is because, as I mentioned before, it gives the face a very lean, elegant look; enhancing cheekbones and giving an overall elite sort of feel about it, something I thought links rather well with the fictional creature.  At the time of the shoot, I told my model to stand a few feet away from the backdrop just like I did for the model before, I even kept directing him back to the place I wanted him to stand when he trailed from it. I have to admit that I didn’t technically get the desired affect and with the model changing pose and position, it altered where the light hit his face. If I could go back and do it again, I would spend more time getting the correct affect with the lighting and would move the lights with the model to continue to achieve what I wanted.Although the outcome was fine I believe I could have done better if I gave more time to it and also had the time to do so. 

Setup for Second Model

The second model was to be made into a Vampire and from the start I had wanted a specific lighting for that shoot therefore, that is what I intended to use. The Butterfly Lighting, with what I have been eager to try out, is the ideal lighting for any kind of portrait, the reason why I wanted to use it on a Vampiric portrait in particular is because, as I mentioned before, it gives the face a very lean, elegant look; enhancing cheekbones and giving an overall elite sort of feel about it, something I thought links rather well with the fictional creature.  

At the time of the shoot, I told my model to stand a few feet away from the backdrop just like I did for the model before, I even kept directing him back to the place I wanted him to stand when he trailed from it. 

I have to admit that I didn’t technically get the desired affect and with the model changing pose and position, it altered where the light hit his face. If I could go back and do it again, I would spend more time getting the correct affect with the lighting and would move the lights with the model to continue to achieve what I wanted.
Although the outcome was fine I believe I could have done better if I gave more time to it and also had the time to do so. 

These are the before and after images of my Vampire Photoshoot.
On the right is the original and on the left the edited version.
 

This is a peek into what I did to achieve the Zombie look I wanted.

The editing itself took me probably an hour or so to do and though it looked like I knew exactly what I was doing and how I wanted it, this was indeed false. When I started off, I had a specific look in mind that I wished to create, but I don’t always know how to achieve it, or if, indeed, I could. So, I bent and changed my idea to what you see before you.

I believe the look I was left with is perfect. Even though the model is a Zombie, I didn’t want too much gore to be in the image. I wanted to be rather professional and nice to look at, even if what you’re meant to be looking at is a undead person. 

These are the before and after images of my Zombie Photoshoot.
On the right is the original and on the left the edited version.

Setup for First ModelThe first model was to be made into a Zombie therefore I thought a Split-Lighting/Rembrant Lighting effect would work best. As I said before, this kind of lighting would give the model’s face more depth/character, the shadows scattered over the face from the lighting giving an eerie, horror sort of look. The strong shadows would also narrow the face and bring outline to prominent features/imperfections adding to the undead look I’m aiming to achieve.At the time of the shoot, I told my model to stand a few feet away from the backdrop and turned the light to flow over the left side of him. Though it shows the light quite close to the backdrop in the image above, I did, in fact, move it further away, to shine more light on my model instead of the backdrop. An umbrella was used instead of a soft box only because I could not gain access to one, and though I thought this would hinder me and ruin the outcome/outlook of my photos, I found, with the end result, that I was quite mistaken and the images looked just as I wanted them to, if not better.

Setup for First Model

The first model was to be made into a Zombie therefore I thought a Split-Lighting/Rembrant Lighting effect would work best. As I said before, this kind of lighting would give the model’s face more depth/character, the shadows scattered over the face from the lighting giving an eerie, horror sort of look. The strong shadows would also narrow the face and bring outline to prominent features/imperfections adding to the undead look I’m aiming to achieve.

At the time of the shoot, I told my model to stand a few feet away from the backdrop and turned the light to flow over the left side of him. Though it shows the light quite close to the backdrop in the image above, I did, in fact, move it further away, to shine more light on my model instead of the backdrop. An umbrella was used instead of a soft box only because I could not gain access to one, and though I thought this would hinder me and ruin the outcome/outlook of my photos, I found, with the end result, that I was quite mistaken and the images looked just as I wanted them to, if not better.


In the screen of the camera, the images looked a lot brighter, so I was somewhat surprised at how dark some of the images came out while others came out overly bright. I’m not entirely sure why this happened but overall I’m happy about the turn out of the photoshoots. * I realised that in some cases the lights weren’t given enough time to recharge and therefore they didn’t go off. This is completely my fault as I got carried away with the shoot and the images I was creating that I didn’t leave a big enough gap between each shot
The only big problem I encountered on the shoot (with both) was getting the lights to trigger properly, it was the first time I had to plan and set up lights without another photographer present and the devices were new, so I was quite confused and panicked when I struggled to get them to connect with each other, and also one light had a modelling lamp that did not work.
In addition, on the Vampire shoot, I did not have the model aiding me in setting up so I had to do it all myself, which was a great learning curve for me but I wasted quite a lot of time struggling to put up the backdrop, finally enlisting some help from someone close by.

If I could do this differently, and if I hadn’t suffered so because of the weather, which brought on my Raynaud’s, I would have tried to get the studio instead of the room I had to use, and perhaps just ask fellow students to model instead of having to wait for the models as they had to get back to me when they were free and so I had to work myself around them, which was a real pain and a disappointment when the first few models never got back to me, leaving me in the lurch. The two you see in the contact sheets were new models. If I had gotten students to model for me, it would have been quicker and easier, but it would lack the experience of a client/real life situations, something that I knew I would have to get over and experience if I were to become a Photographer.
I would also better plan out the technical side of things, as I spent most of my time on the lighting, the setup and the models. I didn’t know the correct camera adjustments to do and therefore rushed it in the limited time I had.


Vampire Photoshoot:
Make:Canon
Model:Canon EOS 1000D
Shutter Speed:1/250 second
Aperture:F/5.0
ISO Speed:100
Date Taken: Jun 19, 2012
Sensor Size:14mm

Zombie Photoshoot:
Make:Canon
Model:Canon EOS 1000D
Shutter Speed:1/125 second
Aperture:F/5.6
ISO Speed:200
Date Taken:Jun 18, 2012
Sensor Size:14mm

Additional Reflection Update

Since my End of Year Show where I presented my work to the public eye, I was introduced to a potential model by a classmate. I have contacted him and in due time, I shall hopefully be able to rely on him modelling for me.
I am now able to walk properly and can easily get around, so in the days to come I shall be testing the lighting I have researched, to find which I like the most, or which belongs to which pose/model. Before, with my inability to move around, I was not able to set lighting up nor stand for a long period of time with a camera without falling over or straining myself.

I will also be looking into what can be achieved on location as the weather has changed considerably. Though the greatest light source, in my opinion, is the sun, I must try and plan out where the light can/will land on the subject. A reflector, though able to direct the light, bouncing it to places that without may have been left dim, is going to be a problem without an assistant or some kind of stand to hold it aloft. Lighting may be used, but again, the problem is where it can be situated and if they are indeed needed at all. I am fully aware that lights can, have and will be used in outside shoots, but I fear that they are perhaps not needed for what I wish to create. The lighting plans I have researched I may not be able to apply to a location shoot, therefore I must think of a change, how the atmosphere around the model can aid in the lighting of the model.

In addition, the research I have collected so far about the supernatural is to help me understand where it is the supernatural genre is going and what is most liked and desired within certain aspects of it. For example, the Vampire Genre, from my research, from the films and the books that are popular amongst much of the young generation, I can see that an attractive approach to the creature is most wanted and therefore a necessity in my photos. I am to appeal to the likes of the audience, mainly, to show the dangerous yet alluring symbol of the Vampire upon the model. I may, if I have time, conduct a questionnaire for a range of ages and add it to my research, to see if I am indeed correct in what I have deduced in my findings.

Reflection

So far, things have not gone well. Not at all.
At first, I was somewhat excited over my project idea (though I was late to the project because of medical reasons as well as not having the last project finished in time.) and I believed I had enough knowledge, information and research ideas to be able to pull it off. I gathered, what I thought to be interesting and relevant research, both explaining my reasons for the project idea/plan and why it would be something some people may be interested in. I spoke to several friends of mine to ask if they were at all intrigued, having three get back to me that, yes, they were, but soon, with the weather effecting me and personal issues with a model as well as another not getting back to me and then leaving the country for a holiday, I was soon left in a muddle…

Though I have not had any time to go to college to test lighting and poses in the Studio, I tried to get on with my work anyway. I believe I have collated good enough work to back my idea even if I have not yet been able to carry it out…

Here is, from Facebook, my small conversations to the ‘would-be’ models that never were. Out of eleven messaged, only these got back to me:

19 March

Gemma Birks (Me):

Hello lovely people, I have chosen you guys because I thought you might be interested. If not, that’s fair enough 
Not sure if any of you have seen this posted on my wall but:
I’m doing a Photoshoot for my Photography course, a Supernatural sort of Photoshoot (no, not the Television series, though it does link in to that I suppose…)

If, for whatever reason, you want to be made into a Vampire; Werewolf; Ghost; Witch or even a Zombie, I am doing a Photoshoot where you can be, by the power of lighting and Photoshop editing. Bring your own clothes and props if you wish; to make it more authentic.

This idea is still wobbling on it’s newborn legs at the moment, so there isn’t much information and I have yet to write up a proper proposal but once I do, I shall be posting that as well on my Facebook wall, so I look somewhat professional. Right now, I’m just putting my idea out there to see if it’s achievable and if anyone is interested. There is a deadline when this project needs to be done for and that’s 28/05/12

If you are interested, please send me a message back, thanks xx


19 March

Lucie:

I’m interested as always xxx

Ooooo I’d love to be a ghost!!!


19 March

Gemma Birks (Me):

Brilliant! 

It means you coming into the college again, if that’s okay?

When are you free and such? xxx

19 March

Lucie:

That’s fine by me! Errmmm, Not this Saturday but the one after? 31st? xxx


19 March

Gemma Birks (Me):

I shall see if I can book the studio for then and get back to you as soon as possible!

Thanks! 

And, bring clothes or make up or whatever you want. This is basically a supernatural portrait and I want to personal to you in some ways xxx

20 March

Katherine:

oooh I am interested!  xxxx


20 March

Simon:

If i reuse most of my raggedy doctor outfit, i could probably be a decent enough zombie.


20 March

Gemma Birks (Me):

Great!

When are you both free Katherine and Simon?

xxxxxx

20 March

Simon:

Free most weekends just need notice. Free weekdays from 9th onwards.


20 March

Gemma Birks (Me):

Okay, Simon thanks! xxxxxxxx

21 March

Katherine:

Well I have 2 jobs now so I can only let you know what day I’m off one of them on the actual week, so if you give me a week that you would be interested and when that rota comes out I can let you know if you want lol (if that actually made sense) xxxxxxxxxx


Though this looked promising at the beginning, with three interested, there soon arose difficulties where I either didn’t get a response until it was too late (As in, I was not fit enough to take photos at the time), something in their personal lives came up and reframed them from any contact with me, or they just weren’t available when I needed them most.
However, because they expressed interest, if I can somehow get more time and I am well enough to take photos, I may use these lovely people again. Hopefully nothing shall go wrong. 

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Risk Assessment - Location

RISK ASSESSMENT

 

Potential Hazard: Uneven ground/debris/Gravestones being tripped over
Who Is At Risk: The Model and the Photographer
Existing Control Measures:
Remind the Model the fact that the ground is unsteady, show them the dangerous areas and keep yourself and the Model away

Risk Rating: High
Preventative Measures:
Make sure to keep well away from hazardous areas, perhaps clean up the area and make it safe beforehand.
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Studio Lighting falling and/or being tripped over
Who Is At Risk: The Model and the Photographer
Existing Control Measures: Set up lighting beforehand and make sure that they are durable and put in the proper place, away from any pathway or entrances
Risk Rating: High

Preventative Measures: Make sure the lights are set up properly and in their proper place and that they are sturdy, and make sure to remind the Model to mind out for them
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Cables being tripped over
Who Is At Risk: The Model and the Photographer
Existing Control Measures: Plan out the cables route/whereabouts beforehand.
Risk Rating: Medium
Preventative Measures: Make sure cables are out of the way of entrances/exits and also pathways. Remind and warn whoever is in ear shot of the cables if they still litter the floor
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Overpopulated plugs
Who Is At Risk: The Model and the Photographer
Existing Control Measures: Keep plugs as clear as possible and do not overload the sockets.
Risk Rating: High
Preventative Measures: Make sure not to overload the plugs/sockets, keep things separate if possible and a considerable distance
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Overheated battery pack
Who Is At Risk: The Model and the Photographer
Existing Control Measures:
If not in use turn it off and/or keep at low so as to not short-circuit or overheat
Risk Rating: High
Preventative Measures: 
Make sure not to overuse and keep away from anything valuable as it may get quite hot. If it becomes too hot, turn it off for a few moments so not to overheat
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Burns from lights, both on camera and Studio Lighting used
Who Is At Risk: Mostly the Photographer but may be the Model if standing too close
Existing Control Measures: Touch and hold the lighting equipment before it has been used or wait until they cool from use before touching/moving the lights afterwards.
Risk Rating: High
Preventative Measures: Make sure to only handle lights before use and if shifting them once used is needed, wear protective gloves or turn it off and wait. Keep Model away from light equipment
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Allergies to plant life or other such stuff around the surrounding area 
Who Is At Risk:
The Model or Photographer, depending
Existing Control Measures:
Keep Model/or yourself away from such things or perhaps choose a suitable area a good distance away from whatever ales the person
Risk Rating: High
Preventative Measures: 
Make sure to ask the Model if she has any allergies beforehand and make arrangements to rectify that if possible. If not change plans completely to find a safer spot
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Being electrocuted by faulty or broken wires/cables
Who Is At Risk: The Model and the Photographer
Existing Control Measures: Tape up/repair/replace bare wires if possible.
Risk Rating: High
Preventative Measures: Make sure wires or cables are not broken in the first place and/or bring spare just in case.
Responsibilities: The Photographer

 

Potential Hazard: Fainting/disoriented or being unwell from the heat of the lights used.


Who Is At Risk: The Model
Existing Control Measures: Keep refreshments nearby and do not keep lights on high for long/if possible, not at all.


Risk Rating: High


Preventative Measures: Make sure to give the Model regular breaks from being in front of the light. Perhaps bring a fan and make sure to have water nearby    


Responsibilities: The Photographer