Category Archives: BTEC Level 3 Photography

Mike Ware – Workshop notes and book on alternative developing and printing techniques such as cynotypes.


Ilford site – Information on how to perform B&W developing and printing

Ilford Site, alternative printing techniques  – Salt printing

Salt Prining – Wikipedia

Recipies for variety of prining techniques

Alternative Photography – Salt prints and cyanotypes: a short history of printing processes.

Affinity Youtube video – Salt printing from digital negatives.

Alternative printing processes:

Wet Collodin Process

Albumin Process

Location photographic ideas

The brief

A fashion magazine front cover shot at a location.  The front page image is to be “Bold & Beautiful”.  The fashion magazine is to appeal to 16 to 24 year old male and female audience.  The image to create an impact.

Idea 1

First idea would be taking pictures of a female model aged between 18-20 years in different surroundings that would be considered as masculine and appealing to men such as car parks or garages.  If possible try standing the model in front of an expensive aspirational car if one can be found in the car park, taking care to avoid including the car number plate in the shot, or if it is visible, to remove the car registration numbers by editing the image.  The intention is that the model will appeal to the target female audience, the industrial look of the location and the female model will attract the majority of the target male audience.

I will experiment taking blurry, slightly out of focus images so that the viewer can only see the outlines and impression of the model, mix between full length body shots and cropped upper body and head shots.   I will be asking the model to wear high-street everyday casual bright clothing, not high fashion so that the audience can identify and relate to the model.

The makeup to be worn by the model will be strong colours such as bright red lipstick making the facial features more eye-catching and making the overall composition interesting and intriguing.  The soft focus blurring is intended to draw the viewers attention, to give an impression of someone, but to invite them to look deeper inside the cover.

Idea 2

Second idea is to take pictures using a male model aged 18-24. I would position the model outside standing in front of a plain wall holding or wearing a mask with a woman’s face in front of their face, possibly a very male face mask.  The woman’s facemask decorated with a variety of styles using makeup – lipstick, false eyelashes and blusher on the cheeks.  The man’s mask decorated with lipstick for the lips, painted on moustach and false short eyelashes.   I would also try using a balloon with faces drawn upon it held by the model in front of the models face.   Mix between full length body shots and cropped upper body and head shots.

I would use a minimum of four pictures with different face masks covering the models actual face.    I would experiment combining four images to make a montage, four similar photographs of full body, upper half body and head.  The montage to form an interesting composition.

The male model to wear high street shop casual clothing, not high fashion so that the  majority of male viewers can identify with the male models clothing.

The mix of female and male facemasks will fascinate both male and female viewers so that both sexes would be interested at looking further inside the magazine.

Idea 3

Third idea is to take pictures of both a male and female model of similar ages, between 18-24.  Photograph the models standing side by side with the same background, both models if possible to be of similar height and build wearing similar or the same clothes outfits but in contrasting colours facing the camera.  The idea is to take their photographs, then to edit the photographs taking horizontal slices and switching them around like a child’s puzzle, the head of the male on top the torso of the female, on top of the legs of the male on top of the feet of the female.

The lighting to be stricking the models at approximately 45 degrees so that slight shadows will be cast to highlight the facial features and the depth and layers of clothing.

This idea I believe introduces a humourous element and a sense of fun that will appeal to both intended sexes of the audience.  The mix and match images will reinforce the youthful appeal, but it is not intended to look childish.  The theme of mix and matching could be continued as a story theme inside the magazine in photographs.

I have experimented below combining photographs of a man and a child on the beach to give an impression of how it could work.




explaining the thinking behind my trial images for the front cover image

The location shoot

Explain the thinking behind your front cover image?

Fashion photography has pushed and perpetuated the idea of the perfect body shape showing flawless skin complexions models without any imperfections. The perfect body images, body shape, weight and looks, making many people feel inadequate and suffer issues of self-esteem especially in the target audience of the fashion magazine aimed at 16-24 olds, although body image issues are becoming increasingly observered in younger children and with older people that have remained or become body consious.

I want to show a different view from the usual fashion and fashion photographer’s image.  I want to experiment with a style of fashion photographs that move away from the stereo type ‘perfect body’ that can cause or add to the stress and peer pressure to try and attain the body beautiful look.  For women, the thin hour glass shape, for men the triangular chest and torso shape with defined muscles, both sexes with perfect skin.

Think that is what the models look like showing people a distorted truth and fantasy on beauty in the fashion industry.


I will be using a fellow student from my course as my model, they will be within  the magazine target age audience of 16-24 year olds.  The intention is that the viewer will better identify with people of their own age.


The brief does not demand the models wear high fashion costumes.  The model will therefore be wearing casual ‘everyday’ high street clothing.


The location I want to use I would like to try several backgrounds, depending on what I can find suitable, the weather conditions at the time of shooting.

  • Simple uncluttered background, the use of a brick or concrete wall to be used as the most simple backdrop.
  • If a wall can be found that is colourful well painted with artistic graffiti, I would to try this as a contrast to the plain brick/concrete wall.
  • Urban industrial environment, multi-story car park with industrial lighting, the strong horizontal, vertical and straight lines to contrast with the curves of the models clothing.
  • Find a location that has a large reflective surface such as a shop window so that I can photograph the reflection of the model, ensuring I as the phtographer is out of shot.  The intention is that other objects may appear in the frame from the shop window adding to the composition.  The colours reflected will change depending on the light.
  • Find a locations of a meadow or grassland with the model laying down, if the model has long hair, the hair can flow around the head like a halo, or be combed over the models face to hide the face.


Lighting on location will be by natural light, artificial lighting will be too heavy to carry and take too long to set up.  The use of reflectors to bounce light to create or remove hard shadows will be used when it is considered needed.

The Canon dSLR has a flash that if needed can be used.  The flash is located immediately above the camera lens so there is a potential risk of ‘red-eye’. The flash would be used as a fill-in flash, paper can be taped over the flash if needed to reduce the power of the flash.

What is my idea?

My idea is to take portrait pictures of a model, I will then make the pictures blurred or slightly out of focus making it difficult to concentrate solely on the model in the picture as an object. You will see the outlines of the model in the picture you will get an impression of the model.

I will accompany the main picture with 3 more pictures of the model from different angles, from the side of her and looking up towards her from the ground. I will then have the model were bright coloured lipstick so it would stand out in the pictures bringing your attention to the person.


IMG_8889.jpg     IMG_8887.jpg

My idea Tester shots

Cover composition

The image has room above the model to accomodate the magazine title, details of the issue and price information.

There is space available for additional feature titles about the content within the magazine should it be rquired.


Polo Exploration – Eye spied through the hole.

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture outside in natural day light, this is so that I could capture some of the surrounding trees and nature creating an interesting background. The full daylight also gave me better lighting for the picture. I got someone to stand in the middle of the picture with their eyes looking straight at the camera. I then framed the persons head with a Polo mint by holding the mint and focusing on the head. From a far this made the persons head look small compared to the polo mint surrounding her face.

What worked well?

Framing of the person worked well, this is because I have managed to frame the person in the polo mint with their eye looking straight at the camera. The bright hair is still visible surrounding the polo making an eye catching element with the blue hair against the white polo mint.

How can I improve the picture? 

A smaller aperture would make both the girl and the polo mint in focus. I could have tried sticking the Polo mint to a stick or stirrer attached to a tripod to hold the Polo perfectly still, close down the aperture very small to increase the depth of field and take a longer exposure.

How does this fit in with your theme of surrealism

This fits in with my theme of surrealism because playing with perspective is a common theme used by surrealists to make the viewer question what is real or what is not.


How can I develop this idea further?

I could develop this idea further by using different items to look through. I could experiment with a ring, possibly with a gem stone that would add colour and sparkle. I could try using a magnifying glass, this would have a distortion effect. I could shoot through the centre of a CD disc, the reflections and refraction caused by the CD adding interest. I could also experiment with holding a ring doughnut and shoot through the centre of the doughnut.


Headless body

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a digital SLR camera set up on a tripod. I took two photographs, one of the background and a second with the model lying on the ground. I shot the images in raw format, this format retains the image quality when manipulating the pictures in Photoshop.

I transferred the image files on to the computer easily. Once I opened the pictures in Photoshop I duplicated the original background layer (Cmd J), this meant that I could change between the layers and refer or revert back to the original layer if needed.

I selected and pasted the image with the model lying down as a new layer on top. Using the Quick Selection tool I selected the head of the model and deleted the selected area. I zoomed in and used the Magic eraser tool to ‘rub out’ remove any edges that were left behind by the Quick selection. By using these two remove techniques I completely removed the models head from the photograph and the background layer showing the carpet beneath was displayed. This created the final headless image.

What worked well?

The use of the tripod to take two photographs from exactly the same position worked really well so that I had a background shot the same as the shot with the model. The techniques used to remove the head were simple and effective.

How can you improve the picture?

I could have positioned the model or camera so that the missing head is more obvious, add more surreal imagery to picture. I could have got the model to turn over, and taken a third photograph. I could then have combined the legs and feet pointing downwards with the headless body facing upwards. I could have experimented with some melting effects on the models body to give the effect that the model is melting into the carpet.

How does this fit in with your theme of surrealism?

This fits in with my theme of issues of surrealism, it shows an object, the model, in a slight absurd way. The image at first glance looks normal, but the fact that there is something missing makes you look again.

How can I develop this idea?

I could make the image more surreal by combine another image adding a different head of an animal, an oversized image of a squirrels head, a head of a rocking horse or an oversized boot.

I could try to incorporate a large arm or hand coming through the window holding the models head, a school of fish swimming outside the window to imitate a flock of birds.

Overlay the body on a different background such as water so the body is floating on top of water instead of in it.



Digital Format Plate photographs

The photographs were

The photographs were taken with a large format plate camera. The image is focused on to the ground glass plate. The fine focus is achieved by using a loupe eye piece as a magnifying glass on the plate glass. This enables you to see how good the focus is, and if necessary can be adjusted.   While doing this a black out hood is placed over my head and the camera to block out light from the side so I can get a better view of the projected image on the glass.

Once I am satisfied with the focus I slide the unexposed large negative plate in the film holder into the camera. Close the shutter of the lens, pull back the lightproof slide so that when the shutter is released the image will be exposed to the negative.

I release the shutter, then push the lightproof slide back across the film holder to stop the negative from being exposed any further.

The large negative in the protective case is taken to the darkroom, removed from the negative case and developed in developer, stopper and fixer.

Making a Digital from a large format negative.

The negative once developed and dried is placed on the large scanner. The negative is scanned using the Epson Perfection scanner settings that will capture the greatest detail as high as possible 3200 dpi x 3200 dpi, and the image stored as a TIFF image file and on to the Apple computer.

The images were then manipulated in Photoshop, the brightness and contrasts were adjusted and converted to Black and white from the sepia of the negatives.




How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a large format camera. The film was loaded on to the film holder in a dark cupboard, this was to stop the light from exposing and destroying the film. Once I loaded the film I took the pictures. I set the camera on a tripod this is was to ensure the camera was stable and I wouldn’t experience camera shake.

I created the ghostly/blurry affect by getting the model to move whilst I was taking the picture this was to test out the different effects I can create with the camera.

I developed the film negative using developer stopper and fix. I then washed the film negative to get rid of some of the remaining chemicals on the film.

Once the negative film was dry I loaded the film into the negative holder in the enlarger. I then turned on the enlarger and focused the picture on to the baseplate. I then turned the enlarger off and placed the photographic paper under the enlarger with the shiny side up. I turned the enlarger on and exposed the image for two seconds. I developed the photographic paper using the developer stopper and fix. This was also followed by a cold-water wash to remove the remainder of the chemicals.

What worked well?

 I believe this picture has worked well this is because I have managed to create an interesting effect. I have managed to capture movement in the picture creating a supernatural look and sea like waves effect with the jumper.

How can I improve the picture?

 I can improve this picture by placing the photographic paper in a better position under the enlarger, moving the photographic paper further up and to the left so the model’s head will be in the picture and in frame the model’s body more central on the photographic paper.

How dose this fit in with Julia Margret Cameron’s work?

 This is a similar work to that of Julia Margret Cameron, I have used the same topic matter and theme of portraiture, and this also fits in with her work and techniques; large format camera with large negatives, but not as large as the 10×12 inch plate negatives used by Cameron. Similar black and white pictures created dark room techniques.


How did I create this picture?

I used a large format camera to take the pictures. I then developed the film from the camera using developer stopper and fix, this was followed by a cold-water wash to remove any residual chemicals. The film was hung up to dry.

Once the film negative was dry I put it in the enlarger, so I could project the film on to the photographic paper. Before the photographic paper was put in place under the enlarger I made sure that the enlarger was in focus and projected a sharp image from the negative. I placed my photographic paper under the enlarger and turned the enlarger lamp for two seconds, I then developed the picture using developer stopper and fix. This was also followed by a cold-water wash to get rid of all the chemicals from the paper.

What has worked well?

I believe this picture has worked well; this is because I have framed the person in the picture well on the photographic paper making sure that there is enough room for all of the models body, nothings is unintentionally being cut or cropped such as head, arms or feet.

This picture has also worked well because I have managed to create a blurry effect of motion on the upper part of the models body. This was created by the model moving the top half of the body and swift movement of the hand over the face, keeping the rest of their body still whilst taking the photo. I think this affect looks good because it introduces movement into a still portrait and interesting to a traditional portrait.

How can I improve the picture?

There is a finger mark on the print, I believe I can improve this picture by making sure that I don’t touch the photographic paper whilst it is still wet as this will leave fingerprints and marks on the picture. The picture could be improved by making sure that there are no pen marks on the picture. I can do this by making sure that the pens have their lids on or are well away from the picture.

How dose this fit in with Julia Margret Cameron’s work?

This fits in with Julia Margret Cameron’s work because I have used similar large format camera methods, slow exposures that she used to take and develop the picture. The photograph is monochrome similar to Cameron, the subject matter is portraits of people, which is the same topic that she extensively followed.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

French born, a pioneer of photojournalism and the narrative photograph. Cartier-Bresson believed that a photograph should be a capture of the event, not altered in any way with photographic lamps, or dark room effects. Cartier-Bresson camera of choice was a Leica, which he used to capture the raw life of street photography.

The images of people are his major subject matter candid spontaneous photographs, some photographs the people look to be aware of the camera and some where the subjects are totally unaware of the camera and photographer is present.

The photographs of people doing things that makes the viewer wonder what or why are they doing what they are doing.  The viewer can make their own story around the photographic images.

SPAIN. Valencia Province. Alicante. 1933.
SPAIN. Valencia Province. Alicante. 1933.


GB. London. Coronation of George VI. 12th May, 1937.
GB. London. Coronation of George VI. 12th May, 1937.


FRANCE. Marseille. 1932.
FRANCE. Marseille. 1932.

These photographs above raises questions:

What are the ladies doing, are they trying to do their nails or hair, and if so are they getting ready for a night out?  The houses in the background look slight run down, are the ladies from the houses, are they prostitutes?

The people holding the periscopes in the hope to see the King pass by.  The large number of people standing looking at the perisocpe has a familair look similar to the modern day selfie photographs that people take when something of significance happens.

why is the man liying down? Has he fallen asleep, is he drunk, was he attacked and knocked down.  His clothes are not as well tailored as the gentleman in the background.  Why is the well dressed man there?  There are many possible stories that the viewer can think are behind the photograph.

Web sites that contain his biography plus many examples of his work.