Well it’s that time of the year again, the time where the summer air is drifting in, the birds are chirping, and school is coming to an end once again for the summer vacation. This year, different from ever other of the past 13, I am not coming back to school in September for a new start. I will be graduating June 8th and going on a journey to new places, experiences, and schooling at the higher level. I will be attending Carrington College for a 9 month dental assisting program. Although I did not choose a career directly related to photography, I still hope to keep my passion for it burning. I may be doing side assignments of family portraits for friends for a little extra money, or possibly some artistic photos to sell on the side. Either way photography will still be a huge part of my life till I am no longer to take pictures. With that being said I would like to give a sincere thank you to my photography teacher who has taught me so much the past 3 years, put up with me when I was being a pain, and had to deal with me in SkillsUSA. I would have never became the photographer I am without his words of wisdom, constructive criticism, and sarcastic remarks. Thanks Twitchell!
Now to the final. Similar to the last few finals I have had in photography, we were told to pick a theme to go around and incorporate your pictures in it. We were also given a few photos we have to take such as a studio portrait, a slow shutter speed, and a large depth of field image. The rest were our choice just as long as we have a total of 10 including those 3. Also he wanted us to make a portfolio of our 10 best images from over the years. We were to choose wisely what we think is our pride and joy, then write why we like it, what makes it so amazing, how it makes us feel, etc. If you want to read the full assignment post the link is here.
Obviously I have been around for this theme a few times and I have had music, vintage, and death as my themes in the past. It’s hard coming around a 4th time because choosing a theme is always difficult, especially when you have done it 3 times already. I decided I definitely wanted to shed some light on this final because it is a happy time in the year to be coming to the end and summer sun is coming in. I did death as my last final and some people thought it was not necessarily the happiest of endings, therefore this time I will do an opposite of death, life!
I came to the conclusion that there are so many different things that you can do for the final of life, therefore there is so many possibilities with my photos. I needed to narrow it down a little bit to make it less broad. Thinking, thinking, and thinking…I finally realized who better of a life to do then my own. Graduation is coming, the time is ending, and you readers out there may not even know me. I will for my final be doing my life as I know it. I will be taking pictures of the things that make my life livable, how I get through the days.
I had a wide range of inspiration for these pictures because I had so many different things I wanted to work with. One inspiration was Michael Ray who primarily works on food photography. So many of his pictures really stuck out to me. In each of them it is not just the main food but the little things in the background that really make the picture. Just sometimes adding a cup in the background or a little plate of salad really makes his pictures. His attention to detail is what really gets me because you can tell he puts all his effort into arranging the main course and sides on the plate so that they are just perfect. I noticed that in most of his pictures put the food on a white plate, I’m just going out on a wim here and guessing that was maybe so he could be sure that colors or designs on the plate do not take away from the main focus on the food. Here is that website if you want to take a look, http://www.foodportfolio.com/. I wanted to do my favorite food and drink therefore that inspiration was a lot of help. Another part of my final was a lot of still life photography. Many of the things I captured were favorite objects of mine. When working with the objects you have to be sure to get the right lighting as well as the right angle to make the object shine at it’s best. I wanted to see some great examples of still life photography to give me a few ideas. I found a blog called The Photo Argus which had a lot of pictures from different photographers that were amazing. A few of them really stuck out to me such as the image of the pomegranate. Not only did the photographer take a picture of the subject, but he also added in a nice background and decorations such as the fork to make the image more life like. He had a lighting that was perfect as well! Another one I liked was the bear on the berries. I love the contrasting colors the image has and the way it is such a simple picture but yet there is enough going on to keep you interested. Lastly, I had to do a couple portraits of the people who mean most to me in my life. For that inspiration I used my favorite photographer Brady Campbell. I know that I used him on just my last project and I have many times before, but sometimes when you find your favorite and you are so inspired you can’t think of anybody else to inspire you. I know there is much more out there, but I honestly just haven’t found anybody I like as much as Brady Campbell. His style is so close to mine that it’s perfect. I looked around at his pictures and got ideas of poses, places, and lighting that I really liked.
For my portfolio it was extremely difficult to pick out ten images. At first I had a hard time because there was so many images that I am in love with that I didn’t want to just pick ten. I picked about fifteen and then narrowed it down to ten. That was even harder because I had to look at the flaws in my pictures and decide why one must stay or go over another that I really loved. It was difficult, but I somehow managed to complete the task. So here is my best, well at least I think so. They are not in any sort of order from favorite to least favorite.
This picture was used on my death final last semester if you can recall. I chose this one for my portfolio because it quite possibly may be my favorite photo up to now that I have taken. I love the peaceful, elegant, and simple look to the photo. It is not something you just glance at then walk away. Everybody I have chosen to show this to has taken a second look and pondered on the photo for a few minutes. It rises so many questions in peoples’ minds. Why is she drowning? Why does she have clothes on? Is she dead? What does this picture mean? My answer is yes. Just as my wise photo teacher has taught me less is sometimes more. Sometimes in life you have to figure out the pictures on your own and if I don’t tell you what I think you will instead make your own thoughts on the picture and it will hopefully mean more to you then a picture I fully explained. I love the way this picture arises a lot of questions. I also took this picture with me to regionals for SkillsUSA and it had a part in helping me win gold.
This photo was used this time last year on my Vintage final. The thing I like most about it is the view that I got on it. I used it as my creative viewpoint photo because the view is not one you would normally see unless you are laying on the ground as I was taking this picture. I love the joy this picture holds of my model having a good time on the bike she loves. Back in the days where vintage was in there was not much to do aside from playing outside. Riding bikes was a pure joy of anybody and you can see it in the face of my model. I also love the lighting and lighting effect that I put on it because it is not too harsh, but not too soft. The path she is on and the trees really make the picture pop as well.
I used this picture last year on a spring flowers post. I love it and since have used it to compete, to hang up in the photo room at school, and for a fundraiser. I love most that this picture because unlike a lot of flower pictures it is not just a simple flower, but it also doesn’t have too much going on. The way I captured it with the first bleeding heart in focus then it slowly leading back to no focus and the flowers in the background not focused was pure excellence. I love that the background has a different branch of flowers that are not in focus because it makes it to wear it is not plain.
I took this picture for my best friend for her engagement portraits. I love that as soon as I look at this picture I get an instant “Aww” moment in my head. This picture really portrays the happiness and love they have for one another. The sweet kiss on the cheek with her true smile are breath taking. I remember trying this picture in color and in sepia and the sepia just works. It gives even more of a warming touch to the picture.
I took this picture of my niece, Annabelle, last year for my sister’s family portraits. I love the happiness that you can see in her eyes and the huge smile on her face as she was laughing. I love that you can tell it is not a staged picture. The lighting that day was perfect and made the picture that much better. It has a warm, sunny look to the picture which makes everybody happy. I really like the background too. I know many people may not look at the background but it is very important it looks good just incase. The bridge really adds to the picture and gives that picture different textures with the wood.
I took this picture of my friend Lexy for her senior portraits. I love the angle that I got at and the way I had her positioned on the bench. One thing with doing portraits is you never want to take one that makes the model look bad. The last thing a client wants is to look fat in a picture they want to look back at one day. In this picture the downward angle enhances her features and makes her look gorgeous.
This picture was also in the pictures I took for my sister and her family. That is my brother-in-law with my niece. My favorite thing about this picture is the love and laughter that it shows. You can see that Annabelle loves her daddy and she has so much fun with him. This is a picture that one day when he is gone she will look back and see that the love she and him had for each other was precious. I love the background as well because it contrasts the dark colors both of them are wearing.
I took this picture for my vintage final last year. I used it as my natural framing photo. The natural framing aspect is definitely the best part of this picture because the way that I captured the model in the mirror and you can see the blurred back of her is perfect. The look to the picture has a simple elegance to it and makes me want to jump back into the 50s. This picture for me and I hope many viewers gives the makes the thought of going back in time and getting ready for a night out on the town or a special dance. Too many of the elder generation I hope it would bring a sense of memory as well as a sense of joy to thoughts. I love the lighting of this picture as well because it looks like it was professionally done in a studio while in reality I just used a natural lighting in the kitchen.
I took this picture for my friend Lexy for her senior pictures as well. I love the angle I shot down at because as I said earlier it is a more flattering view. Props are one thing that can make a picture thats good, great! That is exactly how I felt about this random chair we found in an alley way. Instead of sitting on the ground or standing it gave us an alternative and made the shoot a little more fun. I love the position I put my model in and the lighting and editing that I did.
This picture I took for my sister’s family portraits as well. My niece Abigail decided she was cold and wanted to wear her daddy’s big air force coat. I love the way the coat makes a sort of frame around her face. I also love the lighting of the picture. It is light enough that you can see all of her features yet dark inside the hood.
So that wraps up my portfolio for my final. Now to the actual final pictures 🙂
Studio Portrait: For one of my ten images I have to take for the final, my photo teacher wanted a nice, clean studio portrait. For mine I used a model and the studio at the school. I went over and set up an umbrella to the left of my model that was only about a foot away from her. I then placed a reflected on the other side so that the light would not be so split on her and the other half of her face would be lit as well. I put a separation light in the back right corner to light up the background and the back of her. Finally I put a gel light in so that the back drop got a little color to it to make the picture more exciting. I did little editing on this picture because the point of the studio portrait was to see that you could use the studio correctly and get results that up to par. Editing the picture and changing the lighting a lot would defeat the purpose of showing that you can take the portrait correctly in the first place. I did retouching editing though to enhance the model by making her teeth whiter, a few spot corrections, and sharpening of the eyes.
Large Depth of Field: Another image we were assigned to take was an image with large depth of field. For those of you who may not know what that is, essentially it means that from the foreground to the background everything you see is clear. It’s the exact opposite of a macro image. For my large depth of field I decided to take a picture of the beach in Coeur d’Alene. It goes well with my theme of life because it is one thing that I couldn’t imagine not having in my life. Throughout my childhood I went to that beach so many times I can’t even count. Without that beach my past and future wouldn’t be the same.
Slow Shutter Speed: One more assigned picture was one of slow shutter speed. I love the city lights at night. I happened to go to Seattle for a long weekend and got an excellent picture atop the space needle. I had a very slow shutter speed so I could catch all the lights without a blur.
Music: I chose to take a picture incorporating music because it is one thing that I would not be able to live without. Whether I am happy, sad, mad, or just indifferent there is always a song to describe how I feel or to make me feel the way I want to. Music is my anti-drug that I use to cope with difficult situations. A break up for instance, instead of crying for days and days, I turn on some Taylor Swift because I know she probably has a song about a boy that relates to my boy troubles, never fails 🙂
White Dalmatian, Oh Yess: I recently discovered my new favorite drink from Starbucks. I was on pinterest and found a Starbucks secret menu. On it I found some interesting drinks. The one I thought sounded the best is called a White Dalmatian. This is a White Chocolate Mocha blended with Java Chips and Chocolate Chips. This creation is heavenly on my taste buds. I went to Starbucks and ordered this delicious creation then snapped a shot while I was sitting down in Starbucks. It is actually a nice place for pictures because during the day they have a lot of natural light coming in from all the windows. I had a few people looking at me weirdly as I snapped pictures of my drink, but it sort of comes with the job sometimes. I got the drink at an angle with a slight tilt on it to make the photo more appealing to the eye. I feel sometimes just a straight on shot at an image and no tilt is a little boring.
Pure Delight: One indulgence I cant help go after is Coconut Clouds. These are a cake cookie that are made with coconut flakes. They are delicious, easy to make, they cook fast, and they bring a smile to each and every person who has tried them. For this photo I didn’t want to do the norm of taking the after picture so instead I took a picture while they were baking in the oven. The lighting inside of an oven of course isn’t ideal, but sometimes in photography you have to work with what you got. Doing food photography is hard because everything has to be so perfect to look tasty. I must have redone this picture with different amounts and sizes of cookies a hundred times. It’s worth it though because I got the picture I wanted in the end. I did it at a side shot angle so it is not just straight on and captures attention a little better. It also has better focus on it from the front to back cookies that the straight on shot did.
Seattle, WA: I went on a quick trip over the weekend to Seattle, WA. It is my favorite place that I have ever been to. When in Seattle my boyfriend and I did an assortment of things such as the Aquarium, Pikes Place Market, and the Space Needle.
Sunsets: A sunset is one of my favorite things to see. I like to think that sunsets show that each day ends on a happy site and that no matter what happens in life there is always some sort of beauty to look forward to.
Photography, of course: Well it’s obvious that photography is a huge part of my life. On days where I am mad, sad, or indifferent I sometimes take the camera and just drive somewhere and take pictures. It is something I do that relaxes me. I love photography and without it I wouldn’t be able to capture the moments and memories that I adore. For my picture I decided to take pictures of some camera equipment since that is a main component of photography, who knew? 😉 I sadly am still working to build my photography equipment collect therefore I don’t have much. My photo teacher though has A LOT of photography equipment, old and new. I asked nicely if I could borrow some of the ones I like most and take them to the studio for some nice studio pictures of them. I had to make sure to get the right set up as well as the right lighting for this picture. I shot at an upward angle for two reasons. One; because it is more appealing then shooting at a straight on angle. And two; because it makes the cameras look bigger and more important to me. When I photograph things at an upward angle they always seem to be more powerful to me. That explains perfectly how photography is to me, powerful.
Flowers of Life: I took this picture of one of my favorite flowers, a Fushia. I used a rule of thirds approach because I like the off centered look and that you can see that beautiful background in it. I edited it in lightroom using a direct positive preset that made the colors pop even more than they already do. This picture to me has a double meaning. The obvious meaning is that I do love flowers. They are so pretty, elegant, and beautiful to capture an image of. Also though I wanted to get the double meaning that it’s sometimes the little things in life that matter. Some people take flowers for granted when they see them on the side of the road or when they pop up in the bushes. They just think “Oh, cool,” but they don’t truly appreciate them and think of what life would be without them. That is sadly how society views a lot of different things. As the expression goes I think people need to stop and smell the roses metaphorically and physically. Life is too short and we shouldn’t take anything for granted.
Well that wraps up my final. I hope that many of you got a little insight into my life as well as a little lesson there at the end. I want to thank all of the people who read my blog for being inspired by me or just liking my photography. I do plan to keep this blog going outside of high school because photography will always be a huge part of my life and I want to share it with others. Although the posts may not be as often, I will be sure to try to post one AT LEAST once a month 🙂