This is the picture that I turned in for our fourth and final Major assignment; Portrait. I took this of my friend Hallie while I was visiting her at NC State a couple weekends ago. I really didn’t intend for this picture to have a “deeper meaning” or be symbolic of anything I was just playing around with the shadows that a pair of pink heart-shaped sunglasses that her roommate had would cast on her face. I took this picture using window light as my only light source and I think it really added to the picture. It made her skin look really warm and glowing and it created a cool crosshatching pattern from the window panes. I had to edit out an AC vent from the left side right above her shoulder so the edge of the shadow looks really weird and rippled but I don’t thinks it’s too obvious if you’re not looking for it. During critique Dhanraj said he was “surprised” that this picture was mine. I’m not sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult but I guess it’s always good to surprise people with your images lol. Even though I know I’m good at taking portraits I’ve never really been that passionate about it but now seeing as how much I struggle with shooting products and coming up with concepts I catch myself wondering how different this semester would have gone if I had chosen to change my major to Portrait instead of Commercial… oh well, maybe in another lifetime.
That’s my favorite line from Paramore’s song Caught in the Middle and it’s pretty much exactly how I’m feeling right now. I keep focusing on the tiny details of my life right now as a defense mechanism so that I don’t actually have to think about everything that I have to get done by the end of this week. But in reality I’m just ignoring most of my responsibilities but convincing myself that it’s “self care” because I have to figure out all of the tiny details first. I am a mess. Internship starts NEXT WEEK and I’ve only got one interview scheduled for this week. I’ve only heard back from two other places from the five that I emailed, one of which said they couldn’t take on any more interviews and the other said they would love to set up an interview but when I emailed back with my available times for the week they never responded. So I have one single interview at Kreber this week and if I don’t get accepted there then I have no idea what to do about internship. They also asked me to bring a sample of my work with me but I’m afraid because I lost all of my old photos and I only have what I’ve shot this semester and so little of it is actually commercial related that they won’t be inclined to hire me. So I guess my plan is to roll up to my interview and show a bunch of pictures of leaves and just hope that the head of the studio is a big nature lover haha. I think I’m also going to bring the RAW images and my final edited images of my major projects to show the before and after power of my retouching skills because apparently retouchers are in high demand right now and that might be my ticket into internship.
I kinda already did this post last week but… here we are again. The area of photography that I’m the most passionate about, if you hadn’t already guessed, is nature photography. I shot these on Thursday morning down at the Pisgah Covered Bridge, which is becoming my go to spot for shooting. These were originally going to be part of my portfolio for this semester but during critique Dhanraj said he wasn’t sure how I could present these in a commercial aspect so he wants me to change directions and shoot a whole new portfolio of product pictures using these picture as backgrounds. I don’t really want to do that so we’ll see what happens. I chose this as the subject for my portfolio because it’s the most fun photos to create for me. I love exploring weird angles and close ups to present plants in a totally new perspective. I also love capturing all the little lines and holes and small details of individual leaves because they’re all unique and so interesting to me. This week I tried shooting a new subject though which was water. I set my shutter speed really high to capture the mosaic of lines and patterns that ripples create on the reflections of the surrounding trees on the waters surface. I think they turned out really cool and they kinda look like portals to different dimension plus I got a lot of good feedback on them so I think I might explore this technique more in the future.
Breaking News: Local Photography Student is So Predictable and Her Teachers and Classmates are Tired of It.
Yes it’s another picture of leaves. Who could have possibly guessed? But, plot twist, this time there is also a picture of a spider. What can I say? Taking pictures of nature is what sparked my love for photography in the first place so I’m always gonna keep doing it. Plus I think most of my best pictures are of plants. I shot these pictures in my backyard on Monday morning and I’m really happy with how they turned out. This week I changed the focus of my portfolio to be just plants and other nature related things because I think that I’ll be able to produce the best possible work that way AND I won’t have to be in the studio so I won’t have to light anything so I’ll actually get to enjoy taking the photos for my portfolio. So win-win situation for me. Now the only thing left to do is remember to go out and actually take the pictures so I even have a portfolio to present at the end of the month. I think I’m going to try and focus on shooting everything for my portfolio as close up as possible and with a really shallow depth of field so I can get really nice bokeh in the background of all my pictures and I can use that element to tie all of the images together. Fingers crossed.
Our Major assignment for this week was to create a “conceptual” photograph. So our image had to portray some kind of message or alternate meaning other than what was literally in the photo. My original plan for this assignment was to shoot something that represented the never ending passage of time but I couldn’t think of any way to portray that that wasn’t either incredibly cheesy or had already been done to death. So I switched gears and I kind of came up with this concept on the spot about an hour before I shot it. My concept for this piece was society’s obsession with thinness and unrealistic body standards while simultaneously making eating healthy as expensive and difficult as possible. This image is supposed to mirror someone measuring their waist. The chip bag represents how junk food, and just generally unhealthy food, is always the cheapest and easiest option for meals. I tried keep the color palette to a minimal amount of colors with the tape measure being the same color as the chip bag and the background balancing the image out by providing great saturation and contrast and also pulling the color out of the Lay’s logo. Also, call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure that the chips pictured on the front of the bag are not even Lay’s chips but are, in fact, Pringles. Conspiracy?
Here’s some more of the pictures that I took at the Pisgah Covered Bridge last Monday because I’ve already run out of assignments I’ve shot so far this semester. Even though we’ve only been second years for two weeks they have been the longest two weeks of my life. We are in class almost every day of the week from around 8:30 in the morning to almost 5 at night and whenever we’re not in class we have to be in the studio shooting or in the computer lab editing or in the print lab printing our final images and it’s exhausting. Then we spend all morning on Fridays touring different commercial studios in High Point or Greensboro and that’s really nerve-racking. The more I learn about the commercial photography world, especially in North Carolina, the more I regret changing my major. Although I’m pretty sure I would have hated PJ even more so, I’m really not sure what to do. I definitely don’t want to spend the rest of my career shooting furniture which is what I’ll have to do if I stay in NC, but I don’t have the money to move out of NC, at least not yet. Also, I’m still really not sure how to light things properly and I haven’t been in a lighting class in over a year so I don’t remember most of the things I learned and lighting is one of the biggest aspects of commercial photography so LMAO I might have ruined my life but, whatever, I guess it be like that. I also might not be able to go on internship because I’m late every day so the teachers don’t want me to represent RCC like that so…… might be dropping out after these first 8 weeks are over ahahahahahaha everything’s fine. 🙃
These are a few of the pictures I shot for our first Major assignment in commercial; Dairy. I decided to shoot yogurt because I thought that not many people would go for it and they would gravitate mostly towards milk and cheese. I decided on a monochromatic blue color scheme for my photo because it would keep the distracting elements to a minimum and would also provide a sense of calmness and familiarity. I used whole almonds and shredded coconut flakes to garnish my yogurt just to add some nice textures and a pop of color with the dark brown. Plus they are both foods that people associate with “health” so maybe that would make people see my photo and think of it as appearing healthy and they would subconsciously feel positive about it. I used the lid for the almond container to prop up the bowl of yogurt so that you could actually see into the bowl and I used an upright clothes pin to hold the spoon up so that give the appearance that it was being held up by someone as it they are about to take a bite.
I took these pictures for the multi-layer image assignment on Monday. I drove down to the Pisgah Covered Bridge on our lunch break and walked around the trail for an hour just snapping pictures of anything that looked interesting or unique. As I came back around to the front of the bridge I noticed that there was a small wooden wall underneath it and it had vines growing all over it. I’ve shot two projects in the past at the Pisgah Covered Bridge so I’m pretty familiar with the are but I had never noticed these vines before. I spent a solid fifteen minutes standing in ankle high weeds on top of a pile of loose rocks trying to get the perfect picture of these two toned leaves. In the end these were my two favorite shots. I love the glimpse of the twisted vines in between the heart shaped leaves and the dark brown wood wall behind them, it almost looks like the side of a log cabin.
Over the break my friend Dyonna asked me to take some headshots for her upcoming internship and I gladly obliged. I usually hate photographing people because they can be very temperamental but I love taking pictures of my friends because I know exactly what to say to get them flash a genuine smile. They’re also really easy to photograph because they are all so photogenic. Believe it or not all of these pictures were taken right in my front yard. The sunflowers were actually next to my neighbor’s mailbox so those were the hardest shots to take because I had to get her to position herself just right so that the mailbox and the house in the background were both out of frame. I love incorporating greenery and plants into my portraits because they can add a lot of visual interest to a background or they can be bokeh’d out to create a nice, single colored backdrop.
This week we had to turn in our second timelapse assignment for Jay’s class. I decided that for this one I would go back to the same place that I filmed my last timelapse, The Pisgah Covered Bridge. My first timelapse did not turn out well, I had an unexpected technical problems that caused me to only get 30 seconds worth of footage and thus my final product was only half as long as required. So this time I decided that I had to try again at my original idea of capturing the environment surrounding The Pisgah Covered Bridge. It took me about 4 hours over two days but I finally got enough footage to create a minute long video. I just hope that I did enough to redeem myself, and my grade, from the mess that was my first attempt.