Dear Assessor,

Below I have planned out instructions on how to access and navigate to different pages of my OCA People and Place Learning Log. I hope this finds you well, and you enjoy my work.

  • About

To read a little more about me and what my blog is about, simply go to the top of the page and click on the link entitled “About”.

  • Assignments

You will find links to Assignments 1-5 along the top of every page on my blog. Simply click on these links to find each assignment. At the bottom of each assignment page there is a gallery of images for easy viewing. Each assignment also contains a detailed review of the technical details, how I achieved each finished image and my personal review on my work.

  • Exercises, Tutor Feedback, Research and Final Thoughts

To access the categories entitled Exercises, Inspirations, Research, Tutor feedback or Final Thoughts, simply scroll to the bottom of any page on my blog and you will see a heading entitled “Categories”. Below this you will find each category (details of each category are listed below).

Assignments– Click on “Assignments” and you will find all five of my assignments are also listed here as well as on the top of each page.

Exercises- Click “Exercises” to see all of the exercises I completed for this course, along with images from each, and a detailed description of my learning process.

Research- Click “Research” to find all the research and planning I carried out in preparation for each assignment.

Tutor Feedback- Click “Tutor Feedback” to view my thoughts on my tutor’s feedback for each assignment, along with changes I made in accordance with her advice. Also you will find my tutor’s entire feedback at the bottom of each page for further reference.

Final Thoughts- Click “Final Thoughts” to return to this navigation page again. Also, it contains one other post containing my final module reflection and evaluation.


Final Module Reflection and Evaluation

I have now completed the final module of my first year studying photography with the OCA. I have really enjoyed this module, and have learnt an invaluable amount of techniques and theory on photography. I have now been studying photography for 15 months, and prior to this I had no previous experience, and had never used a DSLR camera before! Therefore, I have had to climb a steep learning curve; studying everything from scratch. There has been a huge amount of hard work involved in this final module, but it has definitely been worth while!

This was my favourite module thus far, and I gained a great deal of knowledge through it. I learnt the following;

– The varying scales of composition in portrait photography, such as; face cropped in closely, head and shoulders, torso, and full figure. I learnt the advantages and disadvantages of each of these scales, and how to implement these to create the strongest portrait shoot possible.

– Different lighting effects portraits in many different ways. Being aware of different lighting techniques can dramatically change a portrait shoot from one shot to the next. Using techniques such as silhouettes, side lighting, filters, and even lighting, can all work in producing different moods and styles of images.

– The importance of forming a good relationship with ones subject prior to the shoot. This will relax the subject, and therefore will encourage their true personalities to shine through in the shoot. This can be furthered by using distractive methods such as getting ones subject to carry out an activity to further divert their attention from the potentially threatening lens. All this will work to show the subject’s true spirit and character.

– Simple techniques such as changing expression, eye contact and poses can dramatically change an image from one photo to the next.

– Framing is a huge part of portraiture that must not be overlooked. Whether the photographer decides to have the subject as a small or large part of the frame, to the edge or in the centre; every decision is vital to the finished product of the image.

– It is key to understand how focal lengths effect an image. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of both long and short focal lengths is hugely important. A short focal length creates a strong connection with the subject, while a longer focal length enables the photographer to catch the subject unawares (especially useful in street photography). A shorter focal length can sometimes be unflattering, whereas a longer focal length flattens the face; making the subject appear more attractive. All these points must be considered prior to a photo shoot.

– The art of street photography. I began to develop a love for this raw and exciting genre. The importance of ‘capturing the moment’ was highlighted as the key aspect of street photography throughout my research. However, framing, composition, and lighting techniques must all be well versed in order to quickly and effectively capture the perfect moment when it arrives. Therefore, I did a great deal of research into the technical aspects of composition and framing in street photography.

– How to effectively capture a space, and show how it is used. Taking into consideration the varying light throughout the day, function of the space, and the viewpoint needed.

– Knowing how to capture images that highlight either the prominence of the space, or the prominence of the subject. Strong techniques to reduce emphasis of the subject are; making figures anonymous and reducing prominence in processing. To emphasise the subject, one would concentrate the focus on the face or eyes, centralise the subject whilst composing, and increase prominence in processing.

– The experience to follow a client brief, and carry it out to produce a high quality photo shoot that is pleasing both to my client and myself.

– Lastly, and arguably most importantly, I learnt an invaluable amount through critical reading in photographic theory; using a wide range of books, articles and websites to expand my knowledge. Through this research, I sought techniques and inspiration from the following inspiring photographers;

Eve Arnold

Steve McCurry

Julia Margaret Cameron

Jane Bown

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Garry Winogrand

Robert Capa

Gregory Crewdson

Martin Parr

Edouard Boubat

Paula O’Hara

Little Mug

Grace Photography

Laurent Roch

Chema Hernandez

Rui Palha

Alison McCauley

Ed Peters

Shane Gray

This large collection of talent has provided me with a wide range of contrasting approaches to photography; thus giving me a rich variety to learn from.

In conclusion, this module has taught me an instrumental amount, and has aided in improving my camera skills, building on my theory knowledge, and providing me with a deeper love for photography! I cannot wait to delve into my second year, and continue learning and building my experience in this exciting field.

Black and White VS Colour Photography

My tutor suggested that I needed to consider why I made my images in colour or black and white. I feel that I possibly haven’t described my knowledge of the difference between the two when submitting my assignment images. I have simply produced black and white images without really saying why I chose monochrome over colour. I did a great deal of research into black and white photography in my previous module; Digital Photographic Practice, and you will find this here. I took into consideration specifically the type of scene or subject that works best in monochrome, and have since been shooting with the finished outcome of either colour or black and white in mind. My work throughout this module has been no different, and I have constantly pre-visualised when shooting whether an image was best for monochrome conversion or for colour. The vibrancy of colour versus the simplicity of black and white is a battle that is always raging in my work! The simplicity of monochrome generally wins, and thus a lot of my portraits get converted to black and white. This strips away distraction, and concentrates the viewer solely on the subject. However, as explained in my previous research, this would not be appropriate for all portraits, as Steve McCurry’s Afghan girl simply would not be the same without the rich greens and oranges running throughout. The girl’s large green eyes are the focus of this shot, and to take them away would be to remove key information from the image.

Therefore to conclude, I am aware of the advantages and disadvantages of both colour and black and white photography. I always take into consideration the shape, lighting, texture, and subject before deciding if an image is appropriate for conversion.

Portrait Photography

Prior to assignment five, I felt that it was important to show a little of my personal inspirations from local portrait photographers that I love. Local photographers are constantly working under client briefs from parents, couples and models. Therefore it seemed only fitting … Continue reading

Assignment Five- Client Brief

I am enclosing here the client brief which I followed closely for assignment five. I have recently completed both potential photo-shoots, including the new-born shoot and the children’s photo shoot. Upon close reflection, I decided that the new-born selection was the strongest, and so I chose this for my final assignment. Below you will find the form which I provided my client with prior to the shoot, in order to gain some basic knowledge on the family, their home and of course, the brief the client would like me to adhere to. I felt that this form was important, as most clients don’t know what they want until you lay all the options out simply. With these basic questions it provided the mother with easily answered questions to help her form in her mind what she wanted. See below for the full form, along with the answers I was given.

Thank-you very much for choosing Hans Photography for your photo shoot. I have a few questions I would like you to answer in order for me to centre the photo shoot around your needs and personal requirements.

Name of Mother: Delene Shannon

Name of Father: Eric Shannon

Name and age of children/child as on day of shoot: Adam Shannon, 11 days old

Would you like any other family members to be included in the shoot? No

Where would you like the photo shoot to be held? Our home

Can you describe the type of images that you would like? i.e.- classic white background/ relaxed images around your home with no background? A mixture of the two would be lovely. We like the idea of relaxed photos, as well as the white background ones for framing.

Do you have any special toys or props that you would like included in the shoot? No.

Are there any other specific shots that you have in mind that you would like me to capture? We have seen shots of a friend’s baby of just her two little feet in a picture, which we think looks very special! So we would like this please!

I perform basic edits on each image to improve small elements such as lighting. Is this acceptable, and do you have any further requests in this area? Yes this is acceptable. No further requests.

Does your child have any allergies or reactions? No

Do you have any other special requirements that you would like me to take note of? No

Client Signiture


Assignment Three Prints

My tutor suggested that I get some prints of my images from assignment three. I haven’t had much experience with this in the past, and so I felt a little out of my depth. I had previously gone to a local shop to get some prints done for an earlier assessment. However, upon collecting the prints, I noticed that they had a really noticeable colour cast. Therefore, I decided to try a professional printing company for these assignment prints. The results were very pleasing. I ordered a selection of both gloss and matte finish, as well as a variety of A4 sized and 8″ x 6″ prints. This provided me with a large amount of varying images to compare and contrast.

Firstly, I noticed that I felt that the best print finish was the matte finish. This prevents any unwanted reflections from obstructing the print, and distracting from the image. I have read that the matte finish is the best finish for monochrome images, as black and white photography is based on light and dark values, therefore matte frames keep outside light from ruining the composition. The matte versions appeared more muted, less flashy, and contained a professionalism that the glossy images do not have.

I did note that perhaps if the images had been in colour, my feelings would have been different. This is due to the sharp qualities that a gloss finish contains; thus bringing out the vibrancy of colour. However, the problems with image glare would still have persisted, and so therefore I think that matte would still have been my preference.

I further noted that when handling the prints, it was much easier to handle the matte finish without worrying about causing damage to the image. The stickiness of the gloss finish resulted in fingerprints and dust catching the print. This makes it more difficult to preserve the print over a long period of time. Matte prints are not sticky at all, and so don’t attract such problems. This is a further benefit that I noted with the matte finish.

In regards to the size of the images, I feel that the large A4 size was the best. The 8″ x 6″ prints were a strange size which were not pleasing to look at, and didn’t seem to balance out very well. The A4 size is a good large-sized image, that clearly shows each aspect of the image well. The A4 print was unfortunately finished with gloss, but would definitely have been the strongest print of the set if finished in matte. The image glare on the gloss finish was worsened with the larger print which seemed to act as a large reflector to catch even more unwanted light than the smaller versions. This further cemented my preference for a matte finish.


Edouard Boubat

Prior to assignment five, I decided to do some research into portrait photographer Edouard Boubat. “Photographer Edouard Boubat (1923-1999) is a poet with a camera. His work is part of the great tradition of French photography that includes such masters … Continue reading