Tuesday, 7 December 2010


I feel very pleased with my development throughout my Major Project Preparation Project. I feel as though I have progressed through thorough experimentation and research.

I think looking at this project as a whole it does not necessarily have to be the photo-shoot which is the end product. Previously I had always thought that to do styling/art direction would lead to photo-shoot and that this would then be the end product. However, I have started to realise that there is so much more than just the shoot, it’s more about the research that goes behind it, the communication between the team of people you are collaborating with, the sourcing of the garments and finally the editing and experimentation of the final photographs.

In the past I would have only done a blog to document all of my findings and experimentation, however this project I decided to also run a tactile sketchbook alongside my blog. This has meant that I have become a lot more hands on with my work and have actually enjoyed the sketchbook far more than I would have originally anticipated. I think by doing a sketchbook it led me to do more experimental work with my final images and work out different ways of presenting them than just in a magazine format. Although stated in my Learning Agreement that I hoped to submit my photographs to a magazine, I think that by finding a different use for my photographs has been more beneficial to me. I think I have only just begun to touch on the idea of experimenting with papers and different materials. The idea of a shop display window which I have only began to touch on, is also something I would like to develop more in my next project.

During this project I have really enjoyed working with a great team of people. I have liked organising the shoot but also incorporating others ideas from what they also want to receive from this. By doing this it has not only given then something they can gain from the shoot but also pushed my ideas forward.

Although I think doing the extra shoots may have added to my portfolio, I found that they did take a huge amount of time out of my own project and perhaps it may be better to do these ‘alongside’ shoots when I don’t have so much of my own work on.

I asked the people I worked with a few questions about the shoot. This helps me to understand what I am getting right and what needs improving.

1. Why did you choose to do this photo-shoot?
2. What appealed to you about it?
3. Did it meet your expectations?
4. What would you change if you could?
5. How do you think it could have been improved?
6. Was there anything you didn’t like about the shoot?
7. What did you like the most about the shoot?
8. Would you be interested in doing a similar shoot in the future?
9. Would you work with me again?
10. Any further comments?

Lydia - Make-Up Artist Answers:

1. I did it because your my friend and i would always help you out. Also i like the ideas behind theresearch and what it potentially could achieve.

2.The style of shoot and hair and make-up, meaning it would really benefit my portfoio as well as being strong enough to try and get published.

3.Yes. Even with the weather issues the shoot on the day was great. Only thing for me that was a shame was the lighting in some locations and the wind!

4.Weather! haha... I think if we had had more time more props would have been good. I would of liked to have had Bella on this shoot as i think the styling/make-up themes really suit her photography. I would of also liked to have seen/done a few shots with more models! Again that would just take a lot more organising.

5. I think over all it was very successful! I think obv weather, but that was out of our hands....so maybe having lighting in the future would be something we could look in to. Having a photograhper like bella for shoots like this would be beneficial... or making sure the photographers have a strong idea of shots/angels and editing. I feel like looking back we could of got some even stronger images if maybe the photographers had more thorough direction. (only going by what i have seen so far). I would like to do a shoot with more fashion couture style items too!

6.No i liked it all (even loved!)...i think with the time and restraints we had it all went well. I think from the success of this we could develop even stronger more stylised shoots in the future.

7. For me getting to do exciting hair and make-up. Working with a lovely team.

8.YES!!! (You know i would haha) I think from these answers you can see i already have ideas on where we coudl go with other ideas. I would actually like to do something similar but maybe in a controlled location like a studio, with a scene set up. This was the hair and make-up wont have the worries of blowing away...lashes falling off...and we could use more elaoborate clothing and control lighting.

9. Again, of course. I think me make a great team! Maybe we should become a make-up/styling duo and set up a business together! haha

10. WELL DONE!!!! Was very good....and i think you know how much further we can push our future shoots. i think this was a really good step in a new direction, with stronger styling, hair and everything and it came together easily so you/we have no worries for future shoots!

Lotte Simons - Photographer Answers:

1. I wanted to do this shoot because I trust you as an amazing stylist to be able to deliver the concept perfectly and knew the end product would be beneficial to my portfolio.

2. I liked the idea of reliving childhood memories and finding ways to bring forward the idea of innocence and fun without shooting the completely blindingly obvious.

3. Yes. It would have been good to be able to have the "den" and really bring the inside out, but the weather was a limitation out of your/our control.

4. The direction I gave so that we had the models give more/varied expression so they don't seem so stiff.

5. As I said above, if they seemed more like characters in a childrens book and more personality showed through in the photos.

6. Only the weather! Loved the shoot. Styling and make up were flawless.

7. I think the location gave a lot of promise and opportunities. It was a very simple setting, but the fact that we made the most out of the surroundings and played around with basic set ups. Easily amused, as children would be.

8. Not sure, I don't like to re do concepts too much or work too closely to something i've previously shot. If I knew I could do the shoot 100x better then I would to improve the images in my portfolio. But I prefer to move forward and work towards new ideas.

9. Definitely.

10. It was a pleasure to work with you again :D

Luke Mattews - Photographer Answers

1. Having worked with you before on a shoot with Hanna I knew how much passion and effort you put into your shoots so wanted to get involved myself! My usual style doesn't call for much styling, so I felt it was important to get a feel of being on a proper, full teamed shoot!

2. Answered in 1. :)

3. Definitely, despite the weather we all wanted to push on and got a lot done! All of the outfits were amazingly well thought out and so much more than I had expected.

4. If possible, I would have planned for a day when there was very little chance of unhelpful whether, but as for the shoot itself, I felt it was very well thought out and nothing needing improvement comes to mind.

5. See 4.

6. Other than the weather, the only other thing that took my mind off of shooting was there being two photographers; I'm not sure whether this is a bother or not, but every so often we would bump into one another or loose shots because the models were focussed on the other (having said this Lotte was amazing and nice!)

7. Without a doubt my favourite thing was the styling - I usually work with very basic clothing, where it's more about the model's reactions and attitude, so working with such amazing clothes (and SO many different looks) was brilliant and definitely makes me want to work in this style again

8. Definitely

9. Definitely!

10. This shoot is a great example of how even when people are working for free, the time and effort a full team puts in really shows in the final images

Alex Gardiner - Film Producer Answers

1. Why did you choose to do this photo-shoot?
Having worked with you before I knew how professionally you operate and how serious you would take your work, this alone would be reason enough to work with you.

2. What appealed to you about it?
The location was familiar and would serve for a variety of opportunities, when it comes to the edit variety is king, repetative shots loose an audiences interest.

3. Did it meet your expectations?
Aside from the weather, yes it did, there were lots of models and interesting activity to caputre.

4. What would you change if you could?
I can't change the weather unfortunately.

5. How do you think it could have been improved?
A bit longer for shooting, but again this was due to the weather, a possibility could have been an indoor location as backup.

6. Was there anything you didn’t like about the shoot?

7. What did you like the most about the shoot?
The people on the shoot got on really well, there didn't seem to be confustion as to who was doing what and who had authority over this and that.

8. Would you be interested in doing a similar shoot in the future?
Very much so.

9. Would you work with me again?
Absolutely, there's always a good working atmosphere on your shoots and you give me enough material, such as song choice to give me insight into how you would like the piece to feel, yet also give me enough free-reign over the edit as to not constrict my thought process.

10. Any further comments?
Any shoots coming up?

Lucas St James - Model Answers

1. I wanted to take part in the photo-shoot as I really admired the stylists style reflected through her portfolio.
2. The esthetic of the shoot was very fun and creative, so this was the main incentive.
3. I personally thoroughly enjoyed the shoot, everyone I worked with was very kind and professional.
4. I think the only downfall was the poor weather conditions, although the team handled it brilliantly.
5. The only critique I have is that perhaps a more secure location would have been ideal, mainly due to the poor weather conditions- but also would have enabled a place for changing and hair/make-up to take place rather than in the outdoor location itself.
6. No. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the shoot.
7. I really loved the different looks pulled by the stylist and how different garments were paired together.
8. I would indefinitely be interested in something similar, it was a fun experience.
9. It would be a pleasure to work with you again! I really admire your esthetic of style as well as being a very pleasant and professional person.
10. N/A

For my next project I would like to look into developing more of my experimentations and continuing my exploration of different ways to present my photographs. I would also like to be more inventive of set design and really go 'all out' there to create something new and visually exciting! I will carry on doing a sketchbook as this is defiantly shown an improvement in my work and I like the tactile quality that makes my work more personal to the viewer, it is almost inviting you in.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

3D cutout experiment

After looking at the shop windows for Anthropologie I felt I could apply my photographs in a equally interesting way. I decided to use the photographs that Luke took of the chair and layer them up so that it gave a 3D effect.
This would then be shown in layers with the background then the foreground slowly moving closer each object.
This is a small example of what it could look like.
Although this is early stages yet, it is defiantly something I would like to explore more in my future project.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Anthropologie Christmas Shop Windows

I've began to look into shop windows displays in the idea of using my photographs as somewhere else to be shown. One shop in particular which I think does shop display really well is Anthropologie. These photo's are taken from their Christmas stores all over the world. What I love about each window is that they are all different, giving each shop a completely individual look. It still looks like it is from Anthropologie but it doesn't need to be exactly the same as every store to say it!

Photographs from Steph

I've just got the photographs back from Steph for the doll photo-shoot that we did together. I am really pleased with the end results. Despite not often liking studio photo's I am really pleased with these. They still have that fun airy look but there is enough going on in the photograph to keep the viewer involved. It defiantly has my style which this year I have defiantly began to realise, but is also different from anything else in my portfolio. My only criticism on some of the images is that they are over edited. Other than that I am very pleased!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Behind the Scenes Video from Alex

I've received the final copy of the video from Alex and I am so pleased with it. It really does sum up the whole day and why I enjoy doing this so much! I sent it to the rest of the team to get their feedback about it.

Lottie Williams 01 December at 14:39 Reply Report
yayyy so cool!! I want to be your model againnnnnn xxxx

Lotte Simons 01 December at 14:41 Reply Report
Love it! He offered to film our upcoming shoot as well :) xxx

Dan Jones 01 December at 14:49 Reply Report
nice shooting i was expecting pictures not a film! this is mind blowing!

very nice shooting and sums up the fun day :)

Lydia Pankhurst 01 December at 15:43 Reply Report
LOVE IT!! :) Yes def want more videos of shoots in the future....

Great team of people on this shoot! :)

Super excited for the future shoots! x x x x

Lucas St James 01 December at 16:24 Reply Report
the video looks very nice! I think it's fun how he showed he behind the scenes side, very fun and playful, btw you looked very professional in the video 'super stylist' haha, like a mini rachel zoe how are you doing? do you like the video?

Luke Matthews 01 December at 18:31 Reply Report
Ahhhh i love it! x

Alex's Editing for the Behind the Scenes Footage

I asked Alex to explain how the editing process was done. I've worked with him a few times in choosing what shots I liked, but when it came to colour grading I left it to the professionals.
Here is how Alex edited my Behind the Scenes footage:

The film was shot on a Pentax KX DSLR, this meant that inter-changeable lenses could be used giving the much-important depth of field and with the prime lenses some nice bokeh could be had. It uses SD cards to store the files so logging of shots after the shoot was a simple and quick process of dragging-and-dropping from the SD card to the hard drive to preview and make notes (shown in the image below), and start editing straight away.

Vicky sent a list of some songs that she had listened to a lot throughout the project and that she feels were representative of her mindset. I chose Ladytron’s ‘Destroy Everything you Touch’ because of it’s high tempo, yet steady beat and build up for the introduction. The beat was the main part of the editing process as it was something that can be cut along to creating a coherent pace.

Adobe’s Premiere Pro was the chosen editing tool for its integration with Adobe After Effects where the film would be colour corrected, files can be linked and read by either programs with minimal hassle (the image below shows the imported After Effects file in Premiere Pro, the left hand window is before the colour grade, right hand side is after).

The effect for the colour grade was to create a warm high contrast image to give the feel of a memory from childhood. I started by importing the Premiere Pro project where the data from the timeline is kept for individual shots, allowing me to colour grade each chosen shot independently.
Because of the mixture of light sources in some areas which cast different colour hues the first task was to correct this. For example; if make-up was being applied to a model near a window with a light on near by, the natural light would give a blue hue whereas the bulb would be orange. The general process was to increase the reds in certain places to create the warmth, and then to alter the blues and greens to increase their contrast in parts. For example; shots that took place in the woods would have the blue dramatically decreased and the green would be brought up along with the red to bring out the colour of leaves and surroundings. The two images below show this process.
The effect worked particularly well on the close ups on the models where warm skin tones would be complimented by the make-up.

For the titles a handwritten style font was chosen like a personal letter to some effect, this was placed over a quick selection of clips converted into high contrast black and white. A pink/red hue was placed over the top of these and the wording coloured with darker hue to stand out. It was then exported in a youtube-friendly H.264 format, a high quality compression method largely used for web based videos.