Category Archives: BTEC Level 3 Photography

Final Piece Ideas 1. Portrait Experiment in the style of Lee Jeffries

How did I create these photographs.

The intention was to create human gargoyles, atmospheric partially illuminated grotesque and weird faces, or faces of unusual character.

The photographs were taken outside at night. The model was sat upon a stool, the face was illuminated with a bright torch and a red light, a reflector was used to help bounce light back on to the models face.  The model pulled faces, moved their head.  The lighting was moved around to create unnatural lighting.

The camera was mounted on a tripod to ensure stability for low light long exposure shots.  The camera was moved and positioned on the tripod around the model to get strange angles to accentuate the peculiar nature of the portraits.  The framing of the face was close to give a very tightly cropped subect of the head  and face.

The photographs were taken with a Digital SLR, once the photographs were taken, they were manipulated in Photoshop.

How I manipulated the photographs.

The colour photographs were loaded into Photoshop.  The clarity was increased to 100%, vibrance to 50%, the contrast increased to 50% or more.

The Photoshop image was adjusted to Black & White, the reds and magenta were reduced, this caused increase the reds on the face caused by veins, blushes or blotches on the skin to finally appear dark shades and black.  The use of the red light when taking the photographs accentuated the skin and red facial imperfections. The blues and cyans were increased to lighten the blue colouration and the whites around the eyes.  The colour photograph was then converted to B+W with very high contrast and strong shadows and darkened skin colouration.

The images were finally modified by using a variety of filters, Sharpen More and the filter, Smart Sharpen, the sharpen was adjusted to around 125%, radius approximately 32 pixels.

The brightness were modified and experimented with to create satisfactory images.

My Opinion

The images produced are the desired grotesque and slightly disturbing photographs.

The photographs where the model moved their face while the shutter was open are very effective, the light that is reflected in the eyes has created white streaks, the motion captured with the streaks from the face moving and the eyes of the models, the pictures look demonic.

The creative effects by the use of lighting, and editing in Photoshop have been very successful. However the images have been heavily manipulated that I have decided not to progress this idea.  The images created are caricatures too artificial, modified, adapted and too far removed from the brief of portraits.

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CanonEOS 450D, 53mm focal length, ISO 400, F-Stop f/5.6, 1/4 second exposure

 

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Canon EOS450D, 20mm focal length, ISO400, F-stop f/3.5, 1/3 second exposure

 

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Canon EOS450D, 29mm focal length, ISO-400, F-Stop f/4.5, 1/10 second exposure

 

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Canon EOS 450D, 20mm focal length, ISO-400, F-Stop f/3.5, 1/3 second exposure

 

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Canon EOS 450D, 55mm Focal Length, ISO-400, F-Stop f/5.6, 1/4 second exposure

 

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Canon EOS450D, 51mm focal length, ISO-400, F-Stop f/5.6, 1/4 second exposure

 

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Canon EOS450D, 42mm focal length, ISO-400, F-Stop f/5, 1/20 second exposure

Emmi Outside

Emmi_Outside

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a medium format film roll camera. I took the picture with the model sat on the wooden railing inside the Quadrangle at College.

I used a only natural light, I positioned myself below the model looking up towards the model.

Once I took the picture I developed the negative film using developer, stopper and fix in the darkroom. I then hung the film up to dry in the dryer.

Once the film was dry I put it in the negative holder in the enlarger. I then exposed the photographic paper for 3 seconds based on experience from previous test strips for similar exposures. The print was developed using developer, stopper and fix.

How can I improve the picture?

I could take into account the various lines that cross the through the composition. The camera was positioned so the horizontal was aligned with the grass that cuts mid-way across the photograph. On studying the final print this could have been raised slightly on the right hand side this would have increased the zig-zag lines across the photograph made by the building rooftop, the lines of the windows, the footpath and the wooden rail that the model is sitting on. The verticals of the lamps and windows would be vertical, and not at the slight angle as they appear in this print.

What worked well in the picture?

The exposure, tones and contrast combined with good lighting, the dark clothes of the model stand out from the pale walls of the building and grass. The depth of field used shows clearly where the model is sitting, but the background is not the obvious main subject of the photograph. The lines created across the photograph are all intersected by the model, drawing the eyes attention to the model, the main subject of the photograph.

The pose of the model with her hands clasped together in her lap, arms and shoulders close to her body compliment the pensive expression on the models face.

The lighting to the models face, there are highlights to the models left side that clearly defines the face, eyes, nose and mouth.

Girl in front of the window

Girl_In_Front_Of_Window

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a medium format film roll camera. I took the picture with the model stood close to a wall and the window behind the model. The pale wall background plus the light from the window was to provide a light source and a contrast to the dark clothes worn by the model.

I used a reflector on the model reflecting the light under the models face making it brighter and reducing the dark shadows under the chin, and nose. It also illuminates the dark areas below the eyebrows. The reflector was positioned on the left side of the model to give an even light the face.

Once I took the picture I developed the negative film using developer, stopper and fix in the darkroom. I then hung the film up to dry in the dryer.

Once the film was dry I put it in the negative holder in the enlarger. I then exposed the photographic paper for 3 seconds based on experience from previous test strips for similar exposures. The print was developed using developer, stopper and fix.

How can I improve the picture?

I can improve this picture by making the model take a step to the left so that the window frame is out of shot, or I could have move the camera around slightly to the right and got the model to also move to face the camera.

I could have been more careful during the printing process, I have splashed some chemical that has shown up on the print, on the right sleeve of the model. This could be removed by guillotining the photograph to remove the blemish. There is also a mark on the top left hand corner of the print. This has occurred due to poor safe storage of the print.

What worked well in the picture?

The exposure, tones and contrast combined with good lighting, made the model stand out from the background, the use of a light background to contrast with the dark hair and clothes that frame the models face.  The reflector bounced light effectively on to the model, if it had not worked the models face would have mostly been been a silhuette.

The face is very clear and positioned in the top middle third of the photograph, the eye is drawn to focus on the face. The overall photograph is crisp and shows subtle shades of grey.

The positioning of the model against the pale wall, the use of a shallow depth of field that focuses only the model, the background is deliberately blurred with strong natural light streaming in from the window makes the background featureless so that you focus on the face of the model.

The camera and the model is approximately at the same height of the camera so that as a viewer of the photograph you can make eye contact and connect with the model.

Girl with the stripped top

Girl_In_Stripped_Top

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a medium format film roll camera. I took the picture with the model stood against a wall. The use of the wall as the background removed any potential distracting elements and features that could appear in the background.

I used a reflector on the model reflecting the light under the models face making it brighter and reducing the dark shadows under the chin, and nose. It also illuminates the dark areas below the eyebrows. The reflector throws light on then the rest of the model’s clothing so it stands more in the composition and stands out more from the wall.

Once I took the picture I developed the negative film using developer, stopper and fix in the darkroom. I then hung the film up to dry in the dryer.

Once the film was dry I put it in the negative holder in the enlarger. I then exposed the photographic paper for 3 seconds based on experience from previous test strips for similar exposures. The print was developed using developer, stopper and fix.

How can I improve the picture?

I can improve this picture by making sure that that the reflector keeps out of the shot, this would get rid of any unintentional distractions I the picture.

I can also improve this picture by enlarging the image so that the reflector is not part of the final print, or cropping, guillotining the photograph so that the reflector is not shown on the print.

What worked well in the picture?

The exposure, tones and contrast combined with good lighting, made the model stand out from the background. The photograph is crisp and shows subtle shades of grey.

The positioning of the model against the dark wall to provide a blank background contrasts against the strong outlines created by striped top.

The smile of the model is engaging. The model is approximately at the same height of the camera so that the as a viewer of the model you are at the same level, in the same eye line opposed to looking up or down into the face of the model.

Emmi by the wall

Emmi_infront_of_a_wall

How did I create this picture?

I took this picture using a medium format roll film camera. This was to experiment with the different affects you can create with the camera. Once the camera was set up I held a silver reflector to reflect the light under the model’s face to reduce the shadows under the chin, nose and eye sockets below the eye brows of the model.

I decided to pose the model in the picture against the wall, this was to eliminate any potential distracting features in the photograph.

Once I shot all of the pictures I developed the film using developer stopper and fix, I then gave the film negative a wash under clean water, and this made sure that there were no lingering chemicals left on the negative that would eventually degrade and damage the film after a while. I then hung the film negative up to dry in the dryer.

Once the film negative was dry I put in in the enlarger negative holder. I then turned the enlarger lamp on, this was to make sure that the picture was in focus before I put my photographic paper down. I ran a test strip creating a series exposure timings on a small bit of photographic paper increasing the exposure in 3 second intervals. I then developed the print test strip in developer, stopper and fix.

What worked well?

I have created a portrait picture with smooth tones, shadow and contrast and managed reduce the very dark shadows under the model’s by using a reflector, making the face, neck and jacket appear brighter.

The composition has interest with the texture of the panelling of the wall, but it is not busy or distracting from the main portrait subject. The pose of the model wearing the jacket and her arms thrust in to the jacket pockets. The model stance looks like she has ‘attitude’.

How can I improve this picture?

There are a couple of white specs visible on the models hair. They may be dust particles that have been trapped on the negative in the enlarger, or marks on the negative. I can use compressed air to gently blow air over the negative to remove any dust on the film or in the negative.

The angle of the camera to the wall is at an angle, if the camera framing aligned the horizontal lines of the wall with the horizontal of camera frame. This would align the panels of the wall with the edges of the final print. Or I could have angled the camera slightly more so the angles are more pronounced and give a greater perspective with the panels of the wall at a sharper angle to the edge of the print.

Molly stood in front of the camera

Molly_Near_Wall_2.jpg

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a medium format roll film camera, I set the camera up making sure that the model in the picture was in focus. I then used a reflector and positioned it to enhance the lighting on the models face, the reflector made the face look brighter making it easier to see more facial details. I then took the photograph and exposed the film.

Once the picture was taken I developed the film in the darkroom using developer, stopper and fix. I then washed the negative film under clean water this was to remove any remaining chemicals left on the film negative. Once the film was developed I hung it up to dry in the dryer.

I put the dry negative film into the enlarger. I turned on the enlarger lamp, this was to allow me to focus the image on the enlarger base plate. I then ran a tester strip stating at 2 seconds, and increased the exposure time in 1 second increments. I used the test strip as my guide as to how long I should expose the photographic paper, which was 3 seconds. Once I exposed my photographic paper I developed the print using developer, stopper and fix.

How can I improve this picture?

I can improve this picture by making sure that the negative picture is kept safe this would prevent any scratches appearing on the side of the picture. This would also stop the negative from getting dirty over time. I can also improve this photograph by making sure that there is no dust on the film or in the enlarger because the dust is projected onto the print leaving white specs on the picture around Molly’s hair.

The composition of the portrait could be improved if I had elevated the camera angle or by moving the model closer to the wall so that the horizon between the wall and ceiling cannot be seen in the shot. The background is deliberately slightly out of focus so the eye concentrates on the portrait of the model. The ceiling line cuts through the background near the top of the model’s head. The change in grey tone between the wall and ceiling almost looks like there is a problem with the exposure.

How has the picture worked well?

I believe this picture has worked well this is because I have used good overall framing making sure that there is enough head room above and either side of the person, the portrait sits well within the photograph. The portrait would also work well because I managed to make the lighting brighter on the models face by using a silver reflector making her face and the texture of her hair stand out on the photograph.

Inga looking bored

Inga_Portrait

How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a medium format film roll camera. I staged the photograph of the model near the wall. The aim of using the wall was to remove distracting elements and features that could appear in the background.

I used a light reflector to bounce the light under the models face making her face and body appear brighter so that they stand out and are clearly the main subject of the picture.

Once I took the picture I developed the film using developer, stopper and fix in the darkroom. I then hung the film negative in the dryer. Once the film was dry I put it in the negative holder in the enlarger, focused the image in the enlarger. I exposed the photographic paper for 3 seconds based on the experience of previous test strips and developed the print using developer, stopper and fix. 

What worked well?

 This photograph worked well, I have managed to create effective lighting on the face and body. The reflector was positioned so that the over cast shadows under the models chin were lightened, making it and easier to see the facial features.

Inga is wearing dark clothes and the background is also dark, there is a blending of her body to the background, this has emphasised the head, neck and V-shape of her top.

How can I improve this picture?

The photograph I have the reflector caught in the frame. I can improve this picture by making sure that the reflector doesn’t appear in the picture, either by zooming in more on Inga, or careful enlarging and cropping of the final print.

Inga is standing close to the wall, but there are still items visible in the background. The shallow depth of field has deliberately blurred them so the viewer does not focus on the items in the background.

The camera was positioned low, and is looking slightly up towards Inga’s face, because Inga is not standing immediately in front of the wall, there is a line that runs just across the top of Inga’s head where the wall and ceiling join. If I had raised the camera higher or Inga was positioned closer to the wall, this line would not have been present. This line can be a distracting element in the picture.

Health & Safety issues of a photographic studio

Health and safety

To prevent any accidents or hazards all people in the studio (photographer, assistants, models) will comply with health and safety requirements. It is everyone’s responsibility to work safely and to take immediate action to prevent accidents and warn others of potential hazards and dangers so an incident does not happen.

Make sure the doorways and exits are marked clearly and not obstructed especially fire exits at all times.  Everyone is familiar with the fire safety evacuation procedures.

Studio specific Health and Safety

Only people that need to be in the studio should be there.

In a studio environment the common major risks are:

Slips, trips and falls caused by people falling over equipment.
Issues concerning the use of electrical equipment.

Less frequent risks:

Issues of manual handling, the lifting and moving of heavy equipment.

If in doubt about the use or safety of any of the equipment or health and safety ask the studio technician, support staff or the designated health and safety advisor for advice.

Identified hazards and actions that can be taken to minimize the risks:

Sharps – The use of scissors and utility knives are often required to cut cable ties, gaffer tape. When these are not in use they should be stored safely with blade covers on in a place where they will not be accidently knocked.

Suspended equipment – ensure all suspended equipment is securely fastened and where necessary with secondary safety chains to stop items falling e.g. suspended studio lights, heavy backdrops.

Above head height working -Equipment or stored items that requires above head height working or, access to these items to be made by appropriate step ladders, kick-stools or scaffolding as necessary. The access to comply with agreed safe working practices e.g. Step ladders requires someone to hold and stabilise the ladders all the time someone is using the ladders.

Risks of Trips Slips and Falls

Keep the studio clean, clear and un-cluttered. –  All the equipment in the studio is to be stored in the correct and safe way when it is not in use. Items to be stored in designated areas around the sides or outside of the studio, no equipment or empty boxes are to be left in walkways or places that people could trip over items.

Make sure all unused equipment is put away before you start your shot to minimise the equipment that could get in the way. Make sure all bags, boxes and equipment trunks are moved to a safe area at the side of the room so there are no trip hazards.

After the shot put all the equipment that needs to be put back away is safely stored.

No food and drink – is to be taken into the studio. This is to prevent food or drink being split destroying or damaging the equipment, giving electric shocks from the wires. Also food or drink on the floor could be a slip hazard. There is a possibility that photographic chemicals might be in the studio, if so they could contaminate food and drinks.

Tripods and Light stands – Make sure all of the legs on tripods and light stands are pulled opened to give the greatest stability.  This reduces the risk of equipment toppling over on top of someone or damaging the equipment.

Electrical Equipment Risks

Trailing wires and leads – All wires to be taped down or run through rubber cable floor trunking protector. This is to stop people tripping over the wires and hurting themselves. Also to prevent damage and ware to the cables that will shorten the cables life. It is good practice to tape the cable to the bottom of the stand, this is because if a cable is pulled it will tug the light at bottom of the stand so that it is less likely to be pulled over. Keep the use of extension cables to a minimum. If socket bars are used, check to make sure that the combined electricity is not exceeding the socket bars allowance.

When plugging and unplugging electrical equipment switch of both the equipment and the plug socket before putting the plug in.

Check all the electrical equipment is up to date with PAT testing. A visual check to be carried to ensure there are no exposed wires, damaged leads, plugs are firmly pushed into sockets, no cables are stretched and the equipment looks to be in good condition and works as designed.

Lamps – Never touch lighting bulbs, even when cold. Incandescent lights work at high temperatures. If handled the finger marks and traces left behind can cause localised hot spots that will cause a bulb to blow, or even explode.

Make sure you give the studio lights plenty of time to cool down after use.  The lights and the housings get very hot.  You don’t want to burn your hands picking up something that is hot and then drop it.  Hot lamps the filaments are also more fragile and prone to breaking if moved when still hot.

Any power packs are located immediately next to the light or in a position where it is least likely to cause a trip hazard.

 

Beauty lighting – Two reflectors bouncing light back onto the model

Beauty lighting is similar to the lighting set up of the Butterfly lighting, but uses three light sources.  The key or main lighting is provided by the softbox lighting.  This positioned close and to one side of the camera between 20 degrees away to the side of the camera to introduce some contrast and shadow to the model’s face and raised above the subject so the light shines down at approximately a 45 degree angle on to the forehead and face.  The model faces the main lighting and then turns their head to face the camera, to the subject.  On the other side of the face add a reflector to provide some soft fill in lighting to the other side of the face.  A second reflector is placed low to bounce light up to reduce the dark shadows created under the chin, nose and around deep set eyes, but the bounce light will not be so strong as to remove the completely the shadows.  The shadows are needed to give the face definition and the photograph to have some subtle contrast.

In my demonstration photograph the main light was placed on the left hand side of the model’s face, a reflector was positioned low also on the left hand side.  The second reflector on the right hand side I feel could have been better positioned further round to the right and placed so that more light would be reflected on to the model’s right side of their face.  I could have reduced the ISO light sensitivity so that the left hand side of the face would not be so highly exposed, and it would show more skin tones.

The details of this photograph.  Camera Nikon D3100, ISO-3200, aperture F-Stop f/7.1, shutter exposure time 1/80 second.

 

DSC_0031_BeautyLighting

 

 

An alternative to the reflector is the use of a fill-in flash.  The use of a fill-in flash is that it gives additional light to a subject that is not well illuminated or the subject is in it’s own shadow because the light is coming mainly from the side or backlit subject.  The ideal is to use the flash to throw light on to the subject, but the light not to be too strong that it removes the the shadows thrown by the sunlight or other studio lighting in a similar way that the reflector gives additional soft lighting.

The use of fill-in flash should not be so bright that it bleach the colour of the subject or generate unwanted reflections that dazzel down the lens or red eye of the model.

butterfly with lit background