Task 3.

Applying the knowledge gained in the technical lighting workshops and the previsualisation techniques learnt, in task 3you are required to interrogate representation through portraiture. Taking into consideration the appropriate lighting and location, you are required to create a photographic portrait series to represent one person in 5 images, two portraits and three objects. Your interpretation of this brief can be as broad as you like but the images need to cohesively fit together and should collectively increase the audience knowledge and/or understanding of the person represented.

Initial research

Rankin is a contemporary photographer who has produced some incredible work, including a portfolio of portraits full of images of a number of different celebrities. Each image is different and unique, some shot in studios whereas others a lot more technical and complicated. Although his work is on a greater scale, by looking at his work it has given me some ideas in how to approach my own portraits. His studio images are creative and portray the person’s behaviour and personality well – this is something I need to achieve through my images.


Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 15.10.48

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 15.11.08

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 15.11.24

Martin Schoeller is another photographer who has produced a number of portraits of a huge range of people including celebrities also. His approach is quite different to Rankin’s, as he just photographs the head. However, I find this quite interesting as it concentrates on the facial features and the facial expressions which you can learn a lot from. He takes them very close up, some with dark backgrounds and others white. Overall, he uses quite soft lighting therefore it illuminates any harsh shadows upon the face. Although I like this approach, I don’t think it is so suitable for how I want my images to appear because I need mine to define my subject’s personality.






For task 3, I decided I wanted to photograph and represent one of my best friends Katy Flanagan, someone I met at the beginning of this course and have grown to know well. As I have never worked with her before, I thought it would be interesting to photograph someone new and how I could represent her best.

I decided to photograph her within the studio after getting to know how to work it through various workshops, and I also I felt plain backgrounds and interesting lighting would put brilliant emphasis on the portraits and what is going on in them, as well as the objects where I could use the infinity curve. Before I began photographing her, I decided to think about how I see Katy as a friend, and find out about the things that she likes.

Katy’s personality:

  • Down to earth
  • Bubbly
  • Always smiling
  • Northern
  • Family Orientated
  • Caring
  • True friend
  • Loyal
  • Light Hearted
  • Funny

Things that relate to Katy’s personality:

  • Disney
  • Leopard print
  • Sparkly items
  • Food
  • Pink
  • Ipod
  • Make up
  • Perfume
  • Feather earrings
  • Boyfriend
  • Friends
  • Music
  • Freckles
  • Primark (job)
  • The little mermaid
  • Eyeliner
  • Photography
  • Piercings
  • Jerry – her pet budgie.
  • Fashion
  • Nail varnish
  • Coral

After this, I was able to begin pre-visualising the images which I wanted to create. As she is a very happy and positive person, I wanted to get an image of her smiling/laughing to reflect this, as well as the light to be quite bright. I also know that she loves her iPod and music so I knew I wanted to bring this into one of my portraits somehow however I wasn’t as sure how. For the objects, I decided to let Katy pick some items which she felt represented her best. I felt this worked better as my choices of items may have been a bit biased, and it gave her the opportunity to pick her favourites. It also made it slightly more challenging for myself as I had to take the items on the day and explore the ways in which I could compose the shots creatively.




Because I was quite confident with how I wanted my portraits to look, I was able to go into the studio and get into photographing straight away, whereas when photographing the objects this was a lot more experimental. Using the infinity curve, there were a number of places I could chose to position the lights. I also decided to try different colour gels and see whether this enhanced my images and which colours worked best.

Final prints


Canon 5d, f11, 1/125, ISO 100.


This is my favourite image out of my 5 finals. I feel it has captured a special moment and really defines Katy’s personality as a whole. This fits my initial pre-visualisation, as I wanted to get a photo of her smiling/laughing. This image has captured exactly that, showing how she is a happy, light hearted person. I tried a couple different ways of framing the image but I feel this one works best, quite close up but her whole body is not in the shot. I like how you can see the textures in her hair and the soft shadows on her face. I decided to put the image in black and white because I felt created a nice effect, as well as highlighting the different tones and creates stronger contrasts in the image. I also only slightly adjusted the brightness and contrast to enhance this. As for the lighting set up, I used the beauty dish for a good overall coverage of soft lighting. I also brought in two white reflectors either side of Katy so the light bounced off them both, making the photo appear brighter which reflects her happy personality.


Canon 5d, f8, 1/125, ISO 100.


This image was quite a spontaneous idea but one which I think worked well. I had already decided that I somehow wanted to incorporate her love for music, and on the day Katy had her Ipod on her. I decided to include this image and began to think how I could work with it. As you can see in the contact sheets, I took a few shots where Katy is standing listening to her Ipod, however I thought this was a very plain and boring composition. Then I asked Katy to jump around to create more of an action shot, and demonstrate how music brings things to life. I took a few of these but decided this one was best – I love the way her hair has shot up and brushed across her face, creating a really interesting action shot. The shutter speed of 1/125 has captured this movement however the hair appears slightly blurry at the top but I think this creates an interesting contrast to the rest of the image in sharp focus. Similar to my other portrait, the model has been placed more to the right leaving open space the left with the headphone wire being flung around, making the visual weight of the image heavier to the left. I think this framing makes the photo quite unique, as well as centralising the iPod making it a main focal point. As for the lighting set up, it is pretty much the same as the set up I used for my other portrait, however I decided to change up the reflectors. On the left, I used a black reflector rather then a white, so the light is absorbed. This has darkened the appearance of her hair, creating a stronger contrast to the brighter side on the left where the white reflector is.


Canon 5d, f7, 1/125, ISO 100.


For my first final of my objects, I photographed two of Katy’s favourite perfumes. These two objects were really interesting to work with because they are an interesting shape, human like and quite quirky. I decided to place one slightly behind the other and on a diagonal angle rather than straight on to make the composition a bit more interesting. The positioning of the light from the left has caused one perfume to create a shadow upon the other, whilst the one behind casts a soft shadow upon the surface. Using the infinity curve has worked really well here as by framing the image with the objects to the left, you can see quite a bit of the background however it is plain and does not detract attention away from the objects. I also experimented with a blue colour gel as it is one of Katy’s favourite colours. I think it works really interestingly here because it almost creates a ‘pool’ of light at the bottom of the perfume bottles, as well as giving them a slight blue tinge.


Canon 5d, f11, 1/125, ISO 100.


I really struggled when working with this object, something I realised which could potentially be quite challenging when I asked Katy to chose her items. Seeing as the bracelet is quite small, but has some interesting details on the charms, I decided to try and focus on these. It could have possibly made the photo slightly more interesting if the bracelet was paired up with another piece of jewellery, however this is what I had to work with. I shot from quite a low angle, as level to the bracelet as I could. To make the light more creative, I decided to move the light behind the infinity curve therefore it was shining through which has created some really interesting areas of light contrasting to areas of shadow. I wasn’t to sure about this effect at first, however after compared it to the shots with the light directly on the bracelet I thought this was more interesting. I also really like how you can see the reflection of the bracelet on the surface, particularly the round charm. I experimented with colour gels but I thought that it looked best without which draws more attention to the detail of the charms. I used an aperture of f11 to enhance this, meaning the bracelet was in full focus.


Canon 5d, f5, 1/125, ISO 100.


For my final object, I also found this quite hard to photograph but I decided to incorporate another light into the image therefore I used the softbox. This brightened the image overall, giving the object a good coverage. Katy’s purse is quite sparkly, sparkly things being one of her favourites therefore I wanted to highlight this. For this photo, I had the light placed to the left again, which has caused quite a heavy shadow to the right of the purse but this creates a small contrast. By having the light here, it has highlighted the texture of the purse nicely as well as enhancing the sparkles. I also decided to use a yellow colour gel in front of the light, to enhance the gold clasp as well as give the photo a more of a ‘royal’ feel. You can clearly see how the aperture has affected the depth of field, as the purse near the camera is in focus however as it gets further away, it becomes out of focus and I think this works well.

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of my images and I feel they represent Katy well. I got them printed at the size of 9″x6″ and mounted them on foam board to improve their appearance and presentation. I think Task 3 as a whole has been my favourite task of the module as I particularly enjoy working with people and this gave me the chance to portray their personality through both portraits and through objects. I also really liked having a chance of working in the studio after developing my understanding and skills through the workshops. This allowed me to create my own lighting set ups and experiment with different ideas. After doing this task, I would definitely like to continue using the studio more.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on May 20, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Yasmin Taylor Photography

Making your memories last...

Gemma Rose Jarvis

FInal Year Photography

Katherine Michelle

Coventry University Student Blog

Aaron Sehmar University Blog

A topnotch WordPress.com site


Emma Shea: Currently Studying Photography at Coventry University

Lucy Bartlett Photography

Third year Photography student at Coventry University


Spark your imagination. Capture it.

Metal Mondays

With Charlotte, Mo and Quincy, every Monday from 8pm-10pm


Framing The World Through My Photographs

%d bloggers like this: