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.

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