I feel I have really started to think about organising and managing my digital workflow in greater depth thanks to the exercises leading up to this assignment. I now realise my method of working was rather haphazard , often with no real goal in mind. I can appreciate just how important a planned workflow is, forming the foundation of disciplined, and hopefully, creative work. Although assignment 1 is not submitted for formal assessment I still wanted to produce my best work hence I was really pleased with my encouraging tutor feedback. Russell has given me a very constructive critique and comments "this is an impressive submission---there is a strong, honest, almost raw feel to this set of images" . My stated aim was to produce deep and meaningful portraits so I take that as a compliment. I find writing about what and how I take my images helps me focus (excuse the pun) on my photography from a personal level, Russell found my thoughts and reflections "insightful and thoughtful". I found his comments about framing and cropping very interesting, and helpful, due to his "cinematography (widescreen) background" . Russell comments about improving lighting are helpful, even though I have no proper equipment besides a Canon speedlite. I particularly like using natural light if I can and I greatly admire and drew inspiration from the work of Jane Bown and Nelli Palomaki for this assignment , but I have no idea if they use reflectors etc. However these can be easily improvised at home, I made my own for TAOP course using silver foil, tracing paper etc, so with hardly any expense I can experiment without needed expensive equipment and still using available light. Whether I would use studio lights in the future I do not know but at the moment purchasing professional lighting equipment is not really practical.I submitted prints even though for this assignment they were not essential as I really needed some feedback on the quality of my printing, an important part of my personal workflow. Russell found them " very good , crisp and clean, although one or two are quite high contrast" losing some detail in brighter areas. I have been writing this feedback report whilst working through the next section of the course so I am now very much more aware of dynamic range and how it can affect image quality.
Russell suggests rim lighting behind, a hair light, and more fill to the right hand side would be beneficial, I agree. Although my preferred method of working is to use only available light this is partially due to my lack of proper lighting equipment and also experience. I need to experiment more but will have to improvise for the time being.
Russell agreed with me that this is the best of the set, I am lucky that Maisie is not too self-conscious in front of the camera, a willing model is such an asset for my coursework! Russell's comments about framing and cropping are relevant for this image as he felt a full head shot would work better. The image was framed like this, not cropped, so unfortunately I am unable to re-do this. I have mounted this photograph for Maisie's mum and dad and agree it would look so much better if I had framed just slightly differently for a full head shot. There is a slight clipping issue around her nose and forehead area I will attempt a rescue of this as Russell suggests.
This image has been cropped and Russell comments "this is a strong and quite a brave composition, with really excellent (unforgiving) detail of skin and hair, but also produces a real clarity in the eyes" , whilst the empty frame and position of Phil's head add to the "intimacy". I wanted an intense portrait of Phil which was one of the reasons for my choice of such a severe crop. Again backlighting would have been beneficial, separating Phil from the background to create better definition. There "is a touch of clipping" , something I was aware of but was really unable to remedy post shoot except for the crop, but Russell does add "the range of detail and texture overall is very good". The next section of the course looks digital image qualities so hopefully the skills I learn will help overcome or how to deal with this .
I rather like the softer focus of this image but quite rightly Russell comments "too much forward focus" . The light I chose made this technically quite a difficult image for me to take. Additionally I reduced the clarity in Lightroom and Russell wondered if this had an influence on the final image. I shall re-process and increase the clarity but quite honestly I do not think it will improve my focusing error.
Russell liked this image and felt the processing helped enhance his qualities. My chosen depth of field was perhaps a bit too shallow , this is something I am often guilty of, increasing it would have improved the clarity on the left hand side.
A suggestion here was a Dado Light at a low angle to put catch- light in my eyes, but as Russell quite rightly noted this is not something I have access to, otherwise a successful portrait. Self-portraiture is hard to do , I felt quite vulnerable (silly really) in front of the lens but being the subject and photographer is a challenging concept. Does having total control over the final outcome make this type of photography subjective, can a self-portrait even be totally honest? This is something I really want to explore further, and hope to include more of myself in future assignments.
"A lovely shot" that Russell agreed captured what I had visualized but "a touch more soft fill light to the right" would have kept the mood but reduced the rather too harsh contrast my choice of light created. Again this is something I can practice using quite simple and inexpensive methods