Shoot 1 Review.

As my very first thoughts about an idea for my final major project were to photograph the change of the seasons through still life and landscape shots, capturing nature and occasions associated with particular times of year, my first photo shoot took place last year on Halloween, 31st October 2014. I definitely didn’t want to miss the opportunity to photograph some pumpkins which are particularly seasonal, along with autumnal leaves and colours. As I was so conscious of not being able to create these images further down the line as these items would simply not be available to me in the future, it meant I was a little snap happy to make sure I could capture them in as many angles and lighting set ups as possible. On the other hand, it also means my editing down in the future could be a lengthy process as there are quite a lot of similar shots. Photographing before I had a thorough project plan, sadly at the time it meant I didn’t feel like I had a particular ‘direction’ to photograph in or a particular style and I think my images may have suffered a little due to this. However I did end up with an appropriate selection, with particular favourites in the close ups I captured with the use of the macro lens. This was the first time I had ever used a macro lens and it was exciting to be able to experiment, particularly seeing the beautiful definition of texture the images were capturing.

Autumn 1 Contact Sheet Autumn 1 Contact Sheet 2 Autumn 1 Contact Sheet 3 Autumn 1 Contact Sheet 4Autumn 1 Contact Sheet 5

This was also my first time working with still life in the studio. Following an introduction to this style of photography in Year 1, I had a brief idea of ideas for shots but was quite resistant with being experimental with the lighting due to lack of confidence. To begin with, I had a struggle trying to light the 2 pumpkins with very contrasting colours appropriately. It was hard to get the balance right, as if the image was too dark, the definition in the skin of the green pumpkin was lost whereas if it was too light, the orange same happened to the orange pumpkin and started reflecting the light. Observing the contact sheet shows that once I was able to get this balance right, it actually had a huge affect on the vibrance of the colour, particularly with the orange pumpkin which looks fuller and more natural.

For this shoot, I decided to use the ‘shooting table’ to achieve the plain background which worked well mostly. Although in some of the shots you can see as I took images from side angles, the table wasn’t wide enough and the white background gets ‘cut off’. However this is a minimal problem and could be easily photoshopped to fix this. Looking back at the images now, the white background doesn’t seem to work for me. I think it makes the images to clinical and maybe too plain. It definitely makes the items stand out, but not in an interesting way. Because of this, I decided for my next shoot I was going to experiment with using the black backdrop instead.

I particularly like the photos taken with the macro lens, such as the shot of the pumpkin stalk where you can see all its detail with ridges and rough texture, or close crops of the pumpkin seeds which almost look like they are glistening. I also tried something a little bit quirky, by not using any studio lights and lighting a candle in the pumpkin just like typical tradition. I also took some shots from inside the pumpkin whilst this candle was lit which gives a different perspective, with its evil and menacing face.

Upon reflection, now my idea is refined to exploring the emotions and stories of Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers through still life and landscape, it is very hard to see how these images will be relevant or could be included. Saying this, it may be possible to use one of the pumpkin’s face which I just previously mentioned to represent feelings of being scared or the possession of someone (or something) controlling you and your feelings. Despite this, it was good for me to get my bearings with working in the studio again particularly working with still life set ups and the macro lens. It gave me the confidence to be a little more experimental with lighting and also to be more conscious with how the backdrop is working in the image. I will be revisiting the results from this shoot in the future when it comes down to the selection process for my finals.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on March 5, 2015.

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