Category Archives: Coursework – The Art of Photography

The Digital Print


The Digital Print by Jeff Schewe, published by Peach Press, ISBN 13 – 978-0-321-90845-2.

This book complements Schewe’s first book, ‘The Digital Negative’.  Hi first book examines the steps to process your RAW image into a photo fit for printing using either Adobe RAW, Lightroom or Photoshop, stopping short of the actual printing process that is covered in detail in his second book.

Background and printer set-up.

In The Digital Negative, Schewe first briefs about the history of digital printing and the development of the printers and the choices now currently available.  He moves on to look at how to set up your printer so that it works to it’s optimal performance with Lightroom and Photoshop using either Mac of Windows.

Schewe moves onto discussing colour management, covering both theory and practice, again recommending settings for Lightroom and Photoshop.

He then moves on to preparing your image for printing including altering colour to greyscale and half-toning and soft-proofing.

Chapter 4 is dedicated to making the print.

Chapter 5 looks at choices of papers how they are made and why they are different and how the ink works and how it interacts with the various types of paper.

Chapter 6 discusses workflow for both Lightroom and Photoshop.

This is a good book and in my opinion a must read book.  This will give you enough understanding about the mysteries of good reliable printing for either total control at home or exporting to a third-party to print.  If you have ambitions for top quality professional exhibition standard printing then this is a book to read for you to.


I passed my formal assessment!

512659 S Mullins PH1AOP Marksheet512659 S Mullins PH1AOP Letter

I passed my formal assessment; but I was a little disappointed at some of the comments regarding the standard of my presentation, as I felt that I did not get sufficient guidance as to what was expected of me.  However, I have recently found a student Forum on Facebook that assures me that this is typical for the first course and that passing was good in itself.  I will however, take on board the colleges criticisms as  for learning and en-devour to improve in my next course.

Formal assessment for my Art of Photography Course

I am now putting together all my photos from my assignments to send for formal assessment.

I have included some prints that I made for two early exercises at the beginning my course in the introduction section as additional to my blogs as further evidence of my work for this course.

Assignment 1, I originally didn’t produce prints to be assessed however, as a result of my Tutor’s comment regarding this I have made prints to be sent for the formal assessment.

Black & White-resized-a

Assignment 2, for this assignment I send my Tutor large poster size prints which was on reflection over the top and my again my Tutor pointed this out; so I am sending smaller 7 x5 prints for formal assessment.


I have also included these four additional prints that I didn’t send to my tutor but are prints of the additional images illustrated on my original Assignment blog and therefore I thought that I should also include them as part of the assessment.

Single point-b-resized Single point-c-resized Single point-a-resizeddistinct even if irregular shapes-a-resized

I have also added two additional larger prints (9×6) of ‘Diagonals’ and ‘Rhythm’ as I was able to get a better colour reproduction and crop.

Diagonals-2-resized Rhythm-2-resized

Assignment 3, I originally had these printed at my local Tesco store.  Mike commented in his report that the colour reproduction on one or two prints did not match the digital images on my blog; so I therefor reprinted all these images through Jessops to see if I could get a better reproduction and also obtain better crops.  I am now sending both for the formal assessment, the reprints are in a smaller print format and are marked 1a to 16a.


Sarah blue and red-resized

I have sent all the reprints with the originals; but some of the original prints reproduced better than the second batch for example Violet and yellow-a Red and yellow-resized both didn’t re-produce as well as the originals (in my opinion).

Assignment 4, All the original prints that were sent to my tutor.


Assignment 5, Original photos only, no additional, with the accompanying 3 page story text to complement the images.


Thank you for taking the time to assess my work.

Tutor’s report and my reflections for assignment five.

I have just received back my Tutor’s formative feedback for my last assignment for the Art of Photography Course, assignment V, Narrative and Illustration.

DSC_7135-Edit-It_was_with_some_considerable_curiosity_that _he_turned_it_over_by_the_light_of_his_candles-resized  Re-examining my work.

Tutor_report Shaun Mullins 512659 TAOP asst 5 V2

I enjoyed this project immensely, I found it very challenging and I learned a great deal from it.  I had read some very useful books that helped with ideas of how to plan for this project, namely: Context and Narrative, by Maria Short, Basics Creative Photography, 02, AVA.  Making Photographs, by Mike Simmons,  Basics Creative Photography, AVA.

Throughout this project I kept referring back to the brief to be sure that I understood my assignment and feel confident that I met the brief.

The brief being to imagine that I have to illustrate a story for a magazine to include the cover to illustrate and several pages inside to include captions of any length to explain and link each picture.  The cover picture will need some of the techniques of illustration that I have been experimenting with and the picture essay will be more of a narrative.

Any theme which has a narrative element could be a suitable subject for this project; so on first checking with my Tutor, I chose to use a ghost story by M.R. James as the Narrative to illustrate.

Having thus decided upon the story, I set about planning my photographs.

Reflections on my Tutors comments (see attached document).

Image 1.


My Tutor liked this image and comments that it was a good example of risk taking, although I must confess it didn’t occur to me at the time.

Image 2.


Perhaps it is a little stereotypical, I could perhaps have used a still-life image of the map and magnifying glass as an alternative.  However, the third hand was intended to complement and make sense of the caption.  Oh, Parkins,’ said his neighbour ‘If you are going to Burnstow I wish you would look at the site of the Templars…’  Perhaps the third hand wasn’t needed.

Image 3.


A simple image that worked for linking the story.

Image 4.


Although it lacks a visual link to the last image (3) it is necessary to continue the story.

Image 5.

DSC_6406-Edit-He_introduced_his hand_it_met_with_a_cylindrical_object-resized

Unfortunately, I could not find a antique whistle as a convincing prop; so I had to make do with a wooden peg that we covered in dirt to make the object as ambiguous as possible.

Image 6.


I was very pleased with this image as I think that it gives an atmospheric feel to the story.

Image 7.


Probably my favourite image and was perfect for what I was looking for for the cover.

Image 8.

DSC_7135-Edit-It_was_with_some_considerable_curiosity_that _he_turned_it_over_by_the_light_of_his_candles-resized

My Tutor thinks that this image could arguably have been left out of the narrative.  My feelings is that as this project is a magazine story and the story is essentially about finding a whistle in a grave-yard and whistling up a ghost, I needed to include this image (identification) to help link image 5 (discovery) with the following image 9 (put to use).  however, no two editors may agree the same outcome, therefor as a photographer, I would have at least covered myself having produced the image if an Editor had decided that he wanted it.  In this case I was the Editor.

Image 9.


My Tutor feels that my friends pose appears to be a little over-acted, I think that this is a subjective opinion, the expression was intended to suggest someone tentively blowing through an unfamiliar object.  It looks truthful to  me; but I may be biased.  The shadow effect however, appears to have worked as I wanted.

Image 10.


A simple image; but turned out to be trickier to achieve as my friend could only spare me limited time in the evening when it was already very dark.

Image 11.


It took a lot of pictures before I got this shot!  I particularly like the wide open eye that I am always drawn to.

Image 12.


As with image 10 this photo was more of a challenge as I had already lost the light; so I had to use a speedlight in a soft-box and experiment with settings on my speedlight and camera to get the effect I was looking for,  I then had to make some final adjustments in Lightroom.

Image 13


The ghostly spirit takes form using bedsheets and rushes at the professor.  I was happy with this final image, although I had to combine two images in to one in Photoshop to produce it.

A big thank you to my Tutor for his support and constructive comments.




Exercise – Outdoors at night

Car lights-resized   Nikon D800e, 24mm f/2.8, 3 sec, f/22, ISO-50, WB-Tungsten.

Taking my camera out in the evening, I looked for interesting photographic opportunities that presented themselves as a result of typical street lighting.  In these shots I used a small digital point and shoot camera, this limited me to ISO settings and manual options but I feel that I was still able to find and make interesting images.

Reflections from a fashion window flipped-1 (1 of 1) Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/6sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Fashion shop window with the reflection of the street.

Reflections of my dream villa from a spanish real-estate window-1 (1 of 1)    Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/30sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Reflections of a dream.

Reflections from a plumbers merchant window flipped-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/2sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

All the following images have an interesting mix or dominant colours as influenced by the artificial lighting found in typical public shopping streets and centres.

Reflections from a shoe shop window flipped-2 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/8sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Reflections from a shop window flipped-1 (1 of 1) Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/50sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Shopping centre-2 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/20sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Shopping front flipped-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/25sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Shopping centre flipped-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/8sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  +1.3 step, WB-Manual.

Shopping centre-3 (1 of 1) Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/15sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Red light-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1sec, f/2.8, ISO-100,  WB-Manual.

Images illuminated by sodium-vapour lamp light which is creating an impression of a negative print type photo.  The combination of moonlight, ghostly illumination of the building and camera angle helps to create an un-nerving feel to these pictures of the Anglican church in Weybridge Surrey.

Low_Res-7594 Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @27mm, 1/8sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Low_Res-7596 Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @55mm, 1/10sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Low_Res-7597  Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @24mm, 1/4sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Low_Res-7606 Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @24mm, 1/13sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Portrait, using only the illumination from a sodium vapour street light.


Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @120mm, 1/13sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.


Exercise – Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

In this exercise I waited until the evening light was closely matching the output from the tungsten bulbs in my apartment and took some portrait pictures with the white balance adjusted to three different settings to compare the resulting images.  The settings used was daylight, auto and tungsten.  The idea behind this exercise is to have a better understanding of the control of white balance and create ideas of how white balance can be used to manipulate the mood of an image and also to consider what more artistic options may be available by using white balance as a tool in the composition process.


Daylight (1 of 1)

In this image the overall effect is a warm golden yellow tone.  Nikon D800e, 50mm f/1.8, 1/30sec, f/1.8, ISO-640, +1 step exposure compensation.


Auto (1 of 1)

The auto white balance has produced a similar image to the daylight setting, perhaps more orange to the tone.  Nikon D800e, 50mm f/1.8, 1/90sec, f/2, ISO-1250, -1 step exposure compensation.


Tungsten (1 of 1)

The tungsten setting had created a very cold blue tone to this image.  Nikon D800e, 50mm f/1.8, 1/90sec, f/2, ISO-1250, -0.5 step exposure compensation.


Using fluorescent type technology energy saving bulbs to light this room, I took the following photos using the settings options of white balance from Auto, Fluorescent, Fluorescent A6 and Fluorescent B6 on my Nikon camera.  Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @ 120mm, 1/60sec, f/4, ISO-6400.

WB-Auto, colour temperature 2900.


WB-Fluorescent, colour temperature 3950.



WB-Fluorescent A6, colour temperature 4550.


WB-Fluorescent B6, colour temperature 3350.






Exercise – Rain


In this exercise I had to produce a single strong attractive image that would leave no doubt that the subject is rain.  This would be used as the front cover of a magazine.


I began by making a list of what rain meant to me in order to find ideas for the elements required.  I then made a short list of magazine subject matter in order to connect the subject with the theme.  (Normally of course the magazine would be the employer and therefore the task of imagination would be only limited to the elements.)  From my list I decided to use gardening and for simplicity chose to use wellington boots and an umbrella photographed through my patio windows that I first sprayed with water to create the rain drops on the glass to emphasise the rain.  My barbeque was the original inspiration for both the choice of magazine style and idea for composition (Thanks to the Great British weather barbeques are closely associated with rain) so I arranged the wellington boots and umbrella next to my brick built barbeque.  However, I did not consider it important enough to the composition of this image to produce a photo that clearly defines the Barbeque as an additional element; so if it is recognised all the good and if not it’s not important as the boots and umbrella are the important elements to be linked with rain.  By chance, the day I worked on this photograph it actually did rain anyway; so this helped by providing a nicely wet patio for the reflection from the umbrella.


I first took photos composing the image in a conventional portrait format but I felt that the images lacked something. I found by tilting the camera the images looked more interesting creating a more dynamic composition.


24-120mm f/4, @112mm, 1/100sec f/20, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.  Adjustments made in Lightroom (no cropping) and text added in Photoshop.

Tutor’s report and reflections for assignment 3

Tutor Report Shaun Mullins 512659 TAOP asst 3

Again, I read up as much as I could on this subject and taking on board earlier comments have now started to include referencing my books in my blogs.  I have also invested in a screen calibration tool called a Spyder4 which re-calibrated my screen for colour reproduction on my computer to help me when editing my photos in Lightroom or Photoshop.  This I believe is my secret to successful colour reproduction when printing.

I take Mikes point about choosing a single theme and on reflection that would have been a very good idea.

Colour harmony through complementary colours.

Blue and orange-resized Color-Wheel-by-HomeWorkshop   I used this colour wheel which guided me in the decision to use the photo of the cat as the blue and orange appear to be opposite each other on the wheel. I think perhaps I needed an element that was a brighter orange to have worked better.

Red and green-resized  The rose and the green background are of a similar tone to each other and so this is why they work so well.

Violet and yellow-a   Yes, Mikes comments are fare, this image needed a bit more work to give it punch.

Orange and blue-a-resized  I was trying for something more imaginative and maybe I could have cropped in tighter and shifted to grey-tone to turn the hands a neutral grey and used Photoshop the bring back the colours in the ring and nails.

Colour harmony through similar colours

Apple red and orange-resized   A good example of keeping it simple.

Yellow and orange-2-resized   I saw this whilst walking my dog along the river and quickly photographed it on my phone.

Blue and green-resized  I wasn’t entirely happy with this picture but it was the last image I needed for my assignment and I was pressed for time; so had to use it. The idea was sound but my choice of clothing was poor as it wasn’t strong enough for the lighting I had.

Green yellow and blue-resizedI simply added the blue straw to try to make it more interesting by adding an odd one out but is still following the rule as blue is next to green but I should have put it between green straws instead of being attracted to the contrast which was not the object of this exercise. Perhaps it was just one straw too far.  This may have been a better image to have submitted.  Green and yellow-resized

Contrasting colours 

Sarah blue and red-resized  I think the was stuck under another print and was missed.

Red and yellow-resized   Worked better in print than on screen. I will keep this image for reference.

Red and Blue-2-resized  I was not too familiar with the setting for the camera on my phone at the time and it was one of those moments to quickly catch the image.

Orange and green-resized  I was pleased with this image.

Colour Accent

Blue and orange-resized  Again it works when I keep things simple.

Orange and green-resized-a  I was pushing this a bit but I thought it worked.

Violet and blue-resized  Yes, on reflection I agree I should have used more skittles and given more attention to their matching colours.

Green and violet-resized  I like taking portraits and using a colour accent added an interesting element.

I learned a lot from this section of the course, much more than I originally expected.

Tutor’s report and reflections for assignment 2

Tutor Report Shain Mullins 512659 TAOP asst 2

I found this assignment very challenging but I am now starting to think and see in a new way.  My lesson brought forward from my last assignment was that I needed to do more background reading to help me understand what was being asked of me.  Therefore, before starting this assignment I purchased and read: The photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman; Composition, Basics Photography 01 by David Prakel and Design Principles, Basics Photography 01 by Jeremy Webb.  I wish that I had found these books before doing assignment 1 as on the whole I was way off the mark from what was expected and what I imagined was asked.   These books helped me to understand this subject and has started me to think and see in a new and more artistic way.

I actually first thought that plants would be an easy subject as they are all around us; but Mike has pointed out in his appraisal I quickly began to realize that it wasn’t going to be so easy after all, but I persevered and I am happy with the results.

As I began to take pictures I used the idea of artistically composed images that I would imaging you may find framed on the walls of a Garden Centres Café, which later influenced my idea to print large and on reflection was unnecessary.

Single dominant point.  Dominant_point-5-resizedOn reading Mikes comments, I now can see that if I had applied the golden section principle I could have made a better composition.  I believe that the second (middle) colour image in my blog that I illustrated as one of the three that I didn’t use was closer to the golden section and may have been a better choice.  Single point-b-resizedReason for this is that in my opinion the positioning and direction the rose faces would make for a better balanced picture as it is pointing in towards the empty space; so making use of it by drawing the viewers eye across.

Two dominant points.  Two_dominant_points-3-resizedThis is my favourite shot and all my families.  In order to get this picture I had to take it from a greater distance than I would have liked and had to enlarge to bring out the image, which sacrifices quality.  Fortunately I my D800 has a with very high resolution; so I was just about able to get away with it for printing.

Several points in a deliberate shape.  Points_making_a_shape-1-resizedYes on reflection the dandelion is a distraction.  I was thinking of including dynamic balance in this composition but the yellow is too strong and draws attention away from the intended subject.

A combination of horizontal and vertical lines.  Combination_of_horizontal_and_verticle_lines-3-resizedThis was the challenge that seriously had me doubting my wisdom for choosing plants, but I thought this composition offered all the elements that I was searching for.  Perhaps I could have found better examples but the harder I looked the less I could see; so I settled for this.

Diagonals. Diagonals-2-resized I don’t know why the printed image is so much darker, but I am sure I can adjust it for making other prints.

Curves. Curves-4-resizedAgain I believe that I can adjust for a better print next time.

Distinct, even if irregular shapes. Points_making_a_shape-2-resized Yes, I got a bit carried away and should have kept it simple.

At least two kinds of implied traingles 1,2 and 3.  Implied_triangle-9-resized Implied_triangle-8-resized Implied_triangle-3-resized Again challenging to find interesting images whilst seeing implied triangles.

Rhythm. Rhythm-2-resized I just couldn’t see rhythm in anything I looked at and this was the best attempt that I could make. I think that the photo I used for Distinctive if irregular shapes may have worked for rhythm distinct even if irregular shapes-a-resized

Patterns.  Patterns-7-resized Interestingly Mike feels that this is closer to Rhythm, I guess as the song go’s I ain’t got rhythm!  Perhaps in time…






Assignment V – Applying the techniques of illustration and narrative

Original story (i.e. the extracted quotations used for this narrative) written By M.R. James with complementary photographic illustrations by Shaun Mullins.

Cover,  (Image 6)


Image 1 – Oh, Parkins,’ said his neighbour ‘If you are going to Burnstow I wish you would look at the site of the Templars, and let me know if you think it would be any good to have a dig there in the summer.’ ‘Certainly,’ said Parkins, the Professor: ‘if you will describe to me whereabouts the site is, I will do my best to give you an idea of the lie of the land when I get back . 


Image 2 – On the following day he surveyed his surroundings, he found himself in, he must, he quite rightly concluded, be on the site of the Preceptory he had promised to look at, It seemed not unlikely to reward the spade of the explorer. 


Image 3 –   It might, he thought, be as well to probe the soil here for evidences of masonry… And now following another discovery: A portion of soil fell inward as he scraped and disclosed a small cavity…. 


Image 4 – Of course it was empty. No! As he withdrew his knife he heard a metallic clink and when he introduced his hand it met with a cylindrical object…. 

DSC_6406-Edit-He_introduced_his hand_it_met_with_a_cylindrical_object-resized

Image 5 – By the time Parkins had made sure that there was nothing else in this odd receptacle, it was too late and too dark for him to think of undertaking any further search. What he had done had proved so unexpectedly interesting that he determined to sacrifice a little more of the daylight on the morrow to archaeology. The object which he now had safe in his pocket was bound to be of some slight value at least, he felt sure.  –  Bleak and solemn was the view on which he took a last look before starting homeward.


Image 6 – One last look behind to measure the distance he had made since leaving the ruined Templars church showed him a prospect of company on his walk, in the shape of a rather indistinct personage.  


Image 7 – When, therefore, he retired towards twelve o’clock, he felt that he had spent his evening in quite a satisfactory way.  It was with some considerable curiosity that he turned it over by the light of his candles. It was bronze, he now saw, and was shaped very much after the manner of the modern dog-whistle.  There were legends both on the front and on the back of the whistle. The one read thus:  FLA   –   FUR BIS   –   FLE   The other:   QUIS EST ISTE QUI VENIT. 

DSC_7135-Edit-It_was_with_some_considerable_curiosity_that _he_turned_it_over_by_the_light_of_his_candles-resized

Image 8 – It ought to mean: “Who is this who is coming?” Well, the best way to find out is evidently to whistle for him.’ – He blew tentatively….


Image 9 juxtaposed with image 10 (The professor’s nightmare) – Whether it was the wind or the excitement of golf, or the researches in the Perceptory that kept Parkins awake.  Parkins shut his eyes and determined to give sleep a chance.   Over-excitement asserted itself in another form – that of making pictures, Parkins experience on this occasion was a very distressing one.

DSC_7045-Edit-Parkins_shut_his_eyes_determined_to_give_sleep_chance-resized  DSC_6520-Edit-Over-ecitement_asserted_itself_in_another_form_that_of_making_pictures-resized

Image 11 – He must have slept soundly for an hour or more, when a sudden clutter shook him up in a most un-welcome manner.


Image 12 – There was a rustling and shaking: surely more than any rat could cause. I can figure to myself something of the Professor’s bewilderment and horror imagine how dreadful it was to him to see a figure suddenly sit up in what he had known was an empty bed. He was out of his own bed in one bound, and made a dash towards the window.  It is a horrible, an intensely horrible face of crumples linen. He could not keep back a cry of disgust, and with a sudden smooth motion the linen face was thrust close to his own.