Ask me anything   I'm a twenty one year old artist from Belfast. I'm studying animation at the University of Ulster, Belfast. I freelance in both design and photography. This blog is an insight to my work process, my influences and my final pieces of work.

Reflection on photography

I loved working on this project and I’ve learnt so much through communication skills with different types of people and how to bring the best out in the subject. I’ve learnt that good communication is key when talking with the client to understand what they want from the session. Organisation is a key in getting everything done within the time frame you have before the subject gets bored. I also have learnt how to have control and confidence during shoots to get the subjects to pose in the way desired. 

— 3 months ago
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Shoot 7 

Both these kids were full of beans which created a great atmosphere in the studio taking photos. The girl was a keen dancer as you can see I got her to demonstrate her poses for me, and the little boy loved his teddy Roo and toy cars that mum wanted a few natural photos of him playing with. I got some great sibling shots with these two because they were both so full of personality. Most of the best shots here were natural ones of them playing together which is exactly what the mum had asked for in the initial brief.

The rest of the photos are in my sketchbook. 

— 3 months ago
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Shoot 6

This was really challenges and enjoyable. Working with a 2 week baby was incredibly stressful because it’s so delicate my fear of her falling. I’ve worked with newborns before and this one was great she was so quiet and happy. Her parents were great they didn’t have any suggestions for the photos other than a few changes of clothes they brought to put her in.

I think the biggest challenge was trying to set up creative props to hold the baby and create interesting scenes. I think with babies what you want to try to capture is them in the softest light and focus on the facial expressions they pull. This can sometimes mean tickling them or blowing their face or using a toy they really like to get them to pull a face for a photo. 

The rest of these photos can be viewed in my sketchbook.

— 3 months ago with 1 note
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5th shoot

I’ve done a shoot with two husky dogs but I would still argue this one was more difficult. The little boy absolutely would not take his shoes or socks off when I suggested even taking his shoes off he wasn’t amused which is fine some children hate the idea of being bare foot even though it looks better in the photo. The teenager just didn’t want to be there and the little girl just felt awkward. The morning talking I did the more awkward they all got. I did the best with the poses I could get them to do and I did get some lovely ones. I think in this situation if I’d had examples of poses they could do together they might have been more enthusiastic about the photo shoot. 

In general with more experience I’ll be able to read to people better to see the best way to make them feel comfortable. 

The rest of these photos can be viewed in my sketchbook. 

— 3 months ago
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4th Shoot

My biggest challenge with this shoot was working with the wee man, he was great once he settled but he spent a very long time hiding from the camera and refusing to have his photo taken but once he seen his big sister get hers done and I got some toys out he settled down enough to get into a photo with big sis and then by himself. I’m realising that communication skills really need to differ between different children. In previous shoots tickling or reverse phycology would have done the job but with this little boy it was just patience and friendliness being over talkative made him more shy. However chatting away worked with his little, chatting with her I realised she liked one direction which led to the final photo. 

The client sometimes doesn’t know exactly what they want which is why I think it’s important to ask loads of questions because as you ask the questions you begin to come up with ideas to personalise the photos. 

— 3 months ago
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3rd shoot

I loved this shoot working with these two sisters was effortless they were very quiet but such good listeners and did exactly what I asked of them. Most parents just come in with a few ideas of what they want but their mum was great and had photos she’d printed that she liked and was open to all my ideas and she really got involved with helping the girls pose not that they needed it they were natural models. One thing I observed from having examples was when showing the girls what I wanted them to copy they could do it all more quickly than if I tried to explain it to them which might be worth trying to do for future shoots. 

These girls were just naturals in front of a camera and I think being in control and organised help me get all of these photos done so quickly. Very little editing needed done on these photos just the odd contrast fix but other than that this was the easiest shoot I’ve ever done.

— 3 months ago
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2nd Shoot

This was my second shoot, I just get contacted by the studio when they get an interested client. This shoot was older children and their parents, 2 girls, a family friend and the parents. I actually found this shoot quite difficult. When working with children you can make it into a game to get them to forget that there is actually a camera in front of them and get great natural photos when children get to 8 on wards they just give you funny looks when you whip a guitar out or teddies and tell them to play. This required a lot more direction from mum and dad about what they wanted and creativity on my part for poses. 

The girls were great once I got talking to them about TV shows they like what subjects they liked at school they eased up a lot in front of the camera and were up for throwing a teddy into a photo or when describing poses to them tot make them feel less awkward doing them myself very dramatically to make them laugh. With the family shots I really really struggled. The studio set up was just so small trying to fit everyone into the scene and standing just looks awkward. I tried a few positions but with the disgust on all subjects faces I thought I just need to make this funny so I yelled everyone jump on dads back and it sort of worked. I’ve done a lot more research on poses with families since then and I think what I missed was just avoiding leaving too much room between heads. It’s just hit and miss some families hate physical contact which makes awful photos but families that do look great. I think it’s something you just need to be quick with coming up with and not one rule fits all it’s about getting to know your client and everything else comes naturally with that.

The rest of this shoot can be viewed in my blog with my notes from the shoot.

— 3 months ago
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First shoot

This was my first shoot for Fotobank, all the images can be seen in my sketchbook. This shoot was a little different than all the others because I was photographing Glen’s (who own’s fotobank) kids who were really happy and chilled out because they felt really comfortable with their parents being there. I was just given a brief to get as many different styles and poses for the purpose of promotional work and the best ones would go up in the front of the store, the window, the website and the Facebook. With the 3 year old boy it was very fast paced as he moved from one toy on to the next one very quickly but making it into a game with him created these lovely natural photos that captured his personality completely. The little girl was very young and it was great that I could get her to sit up and sit with the props but she was very shy to begin with which took some of the time just helping her feel a bit happier by getting toys and playing with her. I felt quite a bit of pressure on this shoot because it was all promotional work so it needed to look really really good, this was also the first time I’d set up the lighting by myself. I wanted to create a really good impression with the photographs and I think I achieved that more through my good communication with the children to get them to pose rather than the actual photography skills. Some photos I took were great because of the kids expressions but had something off with the lighting etc. which was a really easy fix with editing. So what I’ve taken from this shoot is the most important thing is capturing the expressions and character of the subject and the rest will fall into place. 

— 3 months ago
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Colour isolation 

Here’s an example where I used colour isolation for variation in the batch of photos for the client. 

— 3 months ago
#creative solutions  #colour isolation 
Photoshop Tutorial: How to Isolate Color in an Image →

This was a really helpful article when learning to colour isolate for clients.

— 3 months ago
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Editing - cropping, making more central and retouching

Sometimes after a shoot especially when working with kids you’ll have a great photo but half the background will have an odd toy or some lighting equipment sitting in the background. This is an easy fix if you’ve lit the studio properly. As you can see I just select the part I’ve missed and fill it in white. The girls are also not quite to the centre so I select them and move them to the right and then fill in the area I’ve dragged over. This happens a lot on random shoes in the air behind faces etc. so it is VITAL that lighting is perfect because it makes post production nearly impossible if the lighting isn’t crisp. 

— 3 months ago
#creative solutions  #editing 

Editing after a shoot

This is the basic colour correction process I go through after each shoot. 

I look at the highlights and shadows and adjust them accordingly, then I look at the contrast graph to see if exposure needs lifted or colour needs contrasted heavier. If adding a B&W effect I do so after the first colour correct and depending on colour I might change the contrast graph again depending on the contrast when desaturated. Then if a lens has gone curved or created an image out of proportion I’ll look lens correction which this photo needed as it was ever so slightly curved so I corrected the 40mm lens used. 

— 3 months ago
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Light tests

Using the light meter I measured the light by each subject and adjusted the ISO, F stops and shutter speed accordingly. All calculations and notes can be viewed in my sketchbook. 

The light is correct when the subject looks crisp against the white background without being washed out or over exposed.

— 3 months ago
#creative solutions  #light test 

Lighting setup

This is an image of the studio once the lighting had been set up. I ended up using two umbrellas to diffuse the light into the white. All notes and sketches can be viewed in my sketchbook.

— 3 months ago
#creative solutions