This splendid flower is often found in English Cottage Garden designs and are often cut for use in bouquets. They grow to impressive heights between 3 to 8 feet and will bloom in early summer through to early fall.
The magnolia is one of the oldest flowering trees in history. Incredibly, it’s older than the evolution of bees and therefore is only pollinated by beetles! The magnolia is native to North America, Central America, and the West Indies.
The Flora Series is what i will be focusing on for Negotiated Studies 2. This is a service that i plan to offer my clients in each shoot, to have a bespoke image that is individually constructed solely for them.
I plan to use the compositing skills that i have learnt during Negotiated Studies 1 to plan and execute each image for this series:
Planning & Time Management
Studio Shoot – Lighting & Equipment
Meet client brief
Deliver high resolution images printable up to A0
My inspiration for this has been a culmination of looking and evaluating what’s been done before, what appeals to me and what i want to offer my clients. I really enjoyed an online workshop – Newborn Composite Photography by Cleare Photography. My review from this workshop can be found HERE. It is important to her to provide bespoke images to her clients and with the least disturbance to the baby. There is so many newborn poses that can be done, here are just a few:
This is something that is key to me also, as much as i want to create wonderful images i also want my clients to have an equally wonderful experience and for this to happen they need to be as relaxed as possible with what i’m doing with their new baby. So with careful planning, and the use of compositing i will be able to provide each client with a gallery full of diverse images with the least disturbance to their baby.
The process for each composite image will start before the client session. The background plate which will be something from nature, will be photographed up close with a small aperture to retain lots of the detail. It will then be edited in Photoshop ready for the composite. The baby will be photographed during the newborn session and then composited into the image in post.
During each newborn session there is many things that can interfere with getting the composite:
The baby won’t sleep
The baby doesn’t like being in certain positions
The baby wakes up every time it is put down.
Pressure to keep clients happy whilst working to the brief
Unfortunately it is difficult to have a contingency plan in this situation, i can’t re-schedule a newborn session just to get one image unless the client wants to. I have to be prepared for the possibility that it might not work and concentrate on getting all the other images required for that session.
Sadly, we are unable to police the newborn photography industry, there are no regulations or health and safety laws specific to this genre of photography, nor can we sit in on sessions and watch to see how photographers are handling client’s babies. What we can do however is raise awareness amongst both the photographic community, and the general public, that working with, photographing and posing newborn babies requires skill, patience and safety awareness.
It explains to parents the importance of safety in newborn posing and how composites are done. This is also great education for photographers starting out that aren’t yet trained in newborn posing and don’t realise that these precarious looking images are done by compositing several images together.
It’s a lot of pressure to be a parent these days. Pinterest and Instagram have set new expectations of capturing perfect baby photos for your perfect, new bundle of joy. But many people don’t realize that attempting these photos on your own or with an unexperienced photographer is extremely dangerous.
There is absolutely no need for this when a composite could be done with exactly the same final result. Here the blood flow would be restricted in it’s body and especially around the neck which can cause asphyxiation, the branch could snap and the jolt from the fall could break the babies neck and the branch could even the baby when it fell…… how any parent allowed for this to be done in front of them leaves me speechless!!
One mother admitted to English that her baby fell out of a hammock made from a wrap during a photo session. The mum said her baby was OK but it scared her. The photos were being taken by a wedding photographer.
“There’s not enough awareness around it and it is not talked about enough,” English says.
Luisa Dunn, an advocate for risk free creative portraits, designs digital backgrounds which can be purchased for composites.
These digital backgrounds as well as others are made by many other artists and are used widely by newborn photographers to give clients more variety in their gallery.
What i plan to do is similar but my images will be bespoke to each client, designing something specifically for them or working from their brief. This will help my work to stand out in the photography industry and offer a special service to my clients.
Throughout Negotiated Studies 1 i have researched Composite Photography and Contemporary Artists within this field across different genres. I have looked at what they create, why and how through tutorials, interviews and workshops. Using what I have learnt I plan to further my compositing skills and start to build my portfolio and eventually have a substantial body of work worthy of a Gallery.
Before starting this I knew basic compositing techniques but i wanted to fast track my learning. To do this I set myself a 7 Days 7 Composites Challenge. This become a really worthwhile exercise, i learnt so much regarding lighting and how important this is, as well as perspective and how this has to be perfect otherwise the composite will not work. With only a day for each composite, time was an issue and there was definitely days that were a struggle and needed more careful planning therefore more time.
For future composites having one or two contingency plans will be a necessity because sometimes an idea just isn’t going to work. The weather plays a vital part also, something you can’t control and if planning to shoot outside then several days need to be scheduled just incase it decides to rain or turns foggy (Coronation Blue Project)
The image below is a composite that i created for the KOOKIE Magazine launch which they now have as their Website Homepage:
Christmas Advert on my Facebook Page and christmas cards for clients & friends:
The next project was a collaboration with Roy Barry for his Coronation Blue Project. I was to create something using the Coronation Blue Ink as one of the artists involved, more information regarding this can be found on his website: http://coronationblue.com
Again i learnt a lot, this was a really good stepping stone from the 7 Days 7 Composites Challenge because i wasn’t restrained to the restrictions involved plus i had more time to come up with the concept for my image. In saying that, it still didn’t quite go to plan. Even though i put more time and thought into the theory behind the image when it came to shooting it unfortunately i didn’t have any ‘back up’ days available to re-shoot. The weather has been awful over the past few weeks and i kept waiting for a decent day which didn’t come and then had to shoot on the last day before it needed to be sent off for print. Which lead to a very panicked recovery plan and i had to change the whole idea for the image and shoot it indoors. I was fairly happy with the outcome but ultimately i didn’t achieve what i set out to do therefore i hope to look at this project again in the summer.
Angel Wings is the next project, this involves compositing with more theory behind it. It will be a series of images that will take inspiration from children’s novels & films. They will be a realistic realm of fantasy, my daughter will be the angel with handmade wings and she will be featured in beautiful sunset/sunrise scenes. I will be working with my daughter, as well as making the wings so there will be prop design involved which will have to be researched. It will also require going out location scouting and I look forward to heading off on foot and exploring.
In each project there is always a need for further learning and experimenting, this is important for my growth and shows that I am keen to try new things and always looking to improve. I love taking an idea and turning it into reality and I can see myself working for commercial clients, creating bespoke images for their brand.
When i found out that we had an extra few days before we have to present our images at our Summative Assessment i knew i had once thing i must do….re-edit Coronation Blue. I remover the distracting background, lifted the blacks a little using CURVES, increased the contrast, highlights & added some depth to the blue. I much prefer the image now, Sophie in the glass takes centre stage. Below is the before and after re-edit:
I have had the first image printed A2 and it came out fine in this size, i was intrigued at how the image quality would turn out. Now that i have done a re-edit to where i am happy with the image i will also have to get a re-print done.
Entertainment Tonight (Dec 2015) EXCLUSIVE: Anne Geddes Reveals How She Gets Babies to Pose in Those Insanely Adorable Positions [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=8vmZYGbl8pE [Accessed: 12 December 2017]
This online course is instructed by Aoife (Efa) Millea from Cleare Photography and hosted by Meg Bitton at her studio in the U.S.
Efa runs her business Cleare Photography from her newborn studio in Waterford, Ireland.
I was so excited to find this course because i have followed Efa for a long time on social media always amazed at what she creates. Her work is similar to Anne Geddes with a heavy focus on babies within nature scenes and her attention to detail is immense. Her composites look so real, the lighting is beautiful, great use of light and shadows as well as a warm ambient feel to them.
The course looks at:
Shooting for the background plate indoors and outdoors
Using small items and making them look like large props
Backdrops & Lighting
Dressing and posing baby with minimal transitions
During the Newborn Posing Workshop that i attended with Kelly Brown there was an element to compositing involved for safety reasons, positions that the baby could not be in unsupported so several images had to be taken and layered together in Photoshop.
Throughout my education i am beginning to fine tune what i shoot and how i shoot, compositing has become an essential part whether it is for safety reasons or for more creative freedom.
This Newborn Compositing Course contains new methods that i haven’t used before which i am very excited learn.
‘It’s very important for photographers to grow. I think that if you don’t challenge yourself somehow in the pictures you take you will very quickly become irrelevant in today’s increasingly visual and restless culture’
Given a camera by a relative when he was 12, never planned to be a photographer it was just something that he thought would be a fun thing to do. At the age of 22 flew to US to study photography at the Academy of Art University studying for 4 years to get his Degree. Graduated in 99 with Best Portfolio in the Spring Show. After graduation he did a 3 year apprenticeship and a further 4 years as a Photographer / Retoucher. In 2004 he received an Honorary Degree of Outstanding Alumnus, this was the start of a long line of international awards & clients such as American Airlines, Absolut, Microsoft & Nike.
Transport your emotions and feelings into your pictures and you’ll really have something. If you don’t challenge yourself you won’t go anywhere.
Inspiration comes from everywhere, not just imagery. There’s inspiration in music and in words. Reading helps conjure up pictures in your mind and then you’re not privy to something you have seen before.
Input equals Output, inspire yourself with music and books.
Cultural influences that you are faced with, help carve your style
Use your surroundings, make the most of what you have around you and draw inspiration from that.
No1 in compositing – same light quality and same light direction for the different pieces and correct perspective.
Strive for images that look seamlessly put together and don’t look like composites.
Design Approach – When he looks at a landscape he will ask:
What does this place feel like? How does it make you feel? Lonely, Quiet, Provocative, Awe-inspiring? Decide how to bring that back into the photograph then analyse further.
Does it remind you of anything, anyone? Film Actor etc? Put them in the scene and work with that, adjust the colour palette to suit the mood the scene sets.
Erik Almas has a beautiful book to showcase his work with high gloss pages and weighing 36lb it’s seriously impressive! In the interview he talks about the process behind them.
In this image he took the sky plate first, this was taken from an aeroplane. He always shoots his own backgrounds and is a collector of skies. 100% of the components in his images are his except for small details like birds & smoke etc. The grounded blimp with the model inside was photographed by Erik who climbed up a 16ft ladder to get the right angle for the shot and then both images were put together in post production.
To create large commercial images he takes several images and stitches them together to build a bigger scene (plate):
I often wondered how his images contained so much detail and now i understand it is because he takes long exposure images for the plate and then stitches several images together creating files at least 60MB.
In these images below he shows how he adds all the different elements in using in the layering process :
Again he shoots the landscape (plate) first. You can’t change the way the light rises and sets on the landscape so you shoot everything in relation to that. If the sun is rising setting in the left of the image then all the other components you shoot to put in the scene have to be taken with the light coming from the same direction.
I absolutely love his work, such clever thought and application. They are really pleasing to the eye and all have a feeling of serenity within.
I am used to making newborn baby outfits and miniature beds and other newborn related props for my own business but never made wings before. So this is going to be a challenge and i love trying new things i haven’t done before.
Not one for taking my time with anything i was just planning on going straight into making the full size wings. Thankfully Karen Heald suggested making a a smaller model first…. which makes much more sense, no doubt there will be lots of mistakes to make along the way.
Here is my mood board for this project:
The wings i plan to make are folded not outstretched as in flight, because when Sophie is wearing them she will be sitting or still in the images so the wings need to be relaxed. I researched bird anatomy to look at the structure of a birds wing and how the different feathers lie and fold.
There is several layers of feathers of different sizes that overlap each other. The image below shows a couple of options, i can either have the wings separate to her arms or her arms can be a part of the actual wing:
Having her arms separate from the wings is the way i will make them, she doesn’t need to be a half bird human, fictional angels and fairies all tend to have separate arms:
To begin i looked for a set of wings that i could print and use as my template, the ones below from Deviantart were exactly the shape i needed so printed them onto 2 pieces of A4 paper. I used one set to cut smaller which was going to be the wing base for sticking the feathers onto and the other set was for feather placement reference:
Once i was happy with the template i cut it out of thin card, i didn’t want to use anything too thick because it was important that i could bend and shape it. The next step was to sort out the feathers into size order, the ones i had were all around 7 cms with a few longer ones which were going to be for the Primaries.
Using the reference images on my mood board and my helper Rolo (who leans against me during all tasks …. it must be to make sure we both don’t fall over?!)
I carefully set to sticking on the feathers (and making a royal mess with hot glue everywhere) and soon realised that the 100 feathers that i bought for this were quickly running out. I wasn’t going to be able to finish both wings at this rate so i decided to sacrifice a wing and concentrate on making one complete one…as this was only a gauge anyway.
This was the final wing, covered on both sides because this will be required on the large set.
This is why it is good to do a practise run because it makes you realise what might go wrong … in this case, i had totally under estimated the amount of feathers this was going to use.
The large feathers that i purchased for the large wings cost £11.50 for 100, you can see these in the image below:
These will barely cover 1/10th of the wings (front & back) so i’m estimating i would need to spend another £100 to get enough which isn’t feasible.
So unless i can find a big bird to donate its feathers to me i am going to have to think of another idea!!
There’s always cardboard or paper plates 😐
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Angel Wings Project will carry on into Negotiated Studies 2