I have received my Tutor report and I am both relieved and pleased that my work was well received and met the criteria. Tutor Report Shaun Mullins 512659 asst 4 TAOP
I chose portraits as this is where I expect to specialize as a professional photographer and my wife was the willing (if not long suffering) model.
I considered this section and assignment the most important part of the course for the very reason that knowledge, understanding and control of light must be key to a good photographer. Without the appreciation of this subject a photographer is likely to be relying on luck rather than judgement for a good image, this maybe Okay for a casual amateur perhaps but when you are taking somebodies money then you are expected to know what you are doing and to be consistent with your standard of work. Therefore, I felt that I needed more time on this subject and I now feel much more confident in this very important area of photography.
Like everyone else I am confined to budget constraints and I am currently unable to invest in very expensive lighting equipment. However, I have found that I can get by for the time being using cheaper speedlights and Pocket Wizards. You can obtain reasonably good speedlights for around £60 each and the main expense is the Pocket Wizards (although cheaper options are available). I like to look to the longer term when choosing equipment, the speedlights will always come in handy and the Pocket Wizards are both reliable and compatible with more expensive lighting equipment. I took a piece of advice from one of the authors of my books on lighting, he stated that before purchasing a second speedlight buy a hand held light meter first. This piece on investment will carry forward for when I have the chance to use larger more professional strobes.
Michael suggests that I could have extended my creativity by applying a more visually creative context such as emotion to the my work to link the images in to a context. Yes, on reflection this was a good idea and when I was first concentrating on texture I originally was thinking along similar lines for the theme of soft and hard but I got worried that I was departing from the basic required criteria.
85mm f/1.4, 1/250sec, f/3.2, ISO-125, WB-tungsten, remote flash with tungsten Gel 1/64. Image taken over Sarah’s shoulder of her reflection in bathroom mirror. Speedlight 2′ to Sarah’s left on the sink unit pointed up to her face controlled with a Pocket Wizard.
This image was my first attempt at “hard” and was intended to produce a more emotional feel; but I was concerned that I was not creating texture but mood and that wasn’t the brief; so I decided to play it safe and simply create an un unflattering portrait with an obvious visual texture as per the brief. Perhaps, with more thought and planning I could achieve both but my priority was to finish my assignment on time.
Shape – image 1.
This image needed to be a little sharper with the forehead darkened with just edge lighting and for the top lip under the nose.
Form – image 4
Michael comments that the highlight on the nose competes with the whites of the eyes. An interesting observation that I had not considered and clearly I need to start looking more critically at my work to help my learning curve and improve on a polished piece of work. This image could be improved in Photoshop to brighten / burn the whites of the eyes and perhaps dodge the highlights on the nose. However, in my defence, if I had noticed this I may have been tempted to use Photoshop and this would have been cheating. I have kept adjustments to a minimum in order to demonstrate my newly acquired knowledge. Having said that I probably will now have a play in Photoshop to improve this image as my Photoshop skills are still very basic and needs improving with practice.
Colour – image 8
Mike tells me that I could have got away with using the second image here with Italian flag concept; but I am glad of my final choice as it has thrown up a very useful and important learning issue for me. That of differences of colour reproduction between the printed image and the screen image. I have read about this subject and I regularly re-calibrate my screen using a colour spyder however, my mistake was to simply get prints made at my local Tescos that has a photo printing facility. The resulting print produced an excess yellow in the skin and hair as the printers defaults did not match the colour profile of the photo and I did not consider this when getting it printed. If I had used the Italian flag image this may not have been highlighted and a learning opportunity would have been missed. This is an area I still don’t yet fully understand but is clearly an important subject to learn and fully understand if I am to be able to obtain and provide quality end results.
My thanks to Mike for his valuable and generous comments.