Professional Practice Diary, Picbod Exhibition Venue Team

During February and March I was on the Venue Team for our Picbod Exhibition. This meant that I got the opportunity to help plan and organise an exhibition. The skills I learnt and developed on will be useful in future. I have now gained an understanding of how to organise an exhibition and will be able to help with future exhibition setups.

I visited multiple venues, asking question on availability, taking photographs for the rest of the Exhibition team, and generally checking out venue suitability. Being on the Venue team was a high stress job as many people were waiting on us to sort a venue before they could start some of their jobs, such as marketing and finance. I have developed on my organisational and time management skills; these will prove extremely helpful in future projects. I practiced my communication skills by emailing, calling and discussing with possible venues. We collaborated with the curating team as the venue had to be suitable for everyone’s needs. The high stress situation was good practice for future group work; this will be a great experience to mention to future employers as it shows I can work effectively in a team, even in a stressful situation.

As well as finding and finalizing the venue, we helped setup. Each person involved in the exhibition put up their own work, however I was also there to help and advise them on suitable ways of attaching their work to the different types of wall (which I had been briefed on previously by the venue owner). On opening night I was handing out voting cards so that each visitor had the chance to vote for their favourite piece of work.

Overall I feel this has been a great opportunity and one I shall mention as a past experience in the future, to help me with my professional career. Having gained the knowledge and practice of setting up an exhibition from start to finish I do not think this will be a part of my main career. However, the skills I have developed are transferable to other careers, such as teamwork, high stress situations, problem solving, time management and organisation.


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Professional Practice Diary: Client work, Modelling portfolios

Today (17.04.14) I realized that client photography is unpredictable as the shoot fell through due to the client dropping out (due to illness). I am still looking forward to my other clients, however I realise that this is a difficult area of photography to be professionally reliant on.


Today (18.04.14) I had a client shoot; I was contacted and asked to help her acquire a modelling portfolio. She explained that she would be applying to agencies with the aim of working for clothing retailers. I made sure that I understood prior to the shoot what the client required. I think this is important, as I want to make sure that the client gets what they want and neither of us ends up wasting each others time. It is also vital that the client is pleased with the photographs so that I receive a good reputation from word of mouth.

Professional Practice Diary: Client work Day 1

Today (05.04.14) I visited a different field of photography to that of which I am used to. I received a request from a potential client about the possibility of creating two pet portraits for her and a friend. As I knew the person in question it was very easy to get details and decide on a location. I was fortunate in that the client had a back garden with a wide open space that was ideal for a simple shoot. The pets were both dogs and were well acquainted with the garden which meant they were far more calm than in a random and therefore alien location to them. I began in the morning with Dex, a chocolate Labrador. Immediately I discovered that positioning animals is far more complicated than positioning a human. Getting them to stand still for a reasonable length of time is tricky which meant I needed input and assistance from the owner. In the afternoon I shot Bruce, a Beagle. He was far more excitable than Dex and therefore we made the decision to keep him on a lead to minimise the risk of him being able to jump up towards the camera and potentially do damage. It also meant he was easier to keep still and the owner didn’t mind the visual impairment of the lead. Both shoots went well and I feel I learnt a lot about the challenges of working with animals. I found that minimising my own movement was helpful as it meant there was less to excite the dogs, I also found that bribery is a very effective tool and treats were on hand as a reward for standing still. I enjoyed this experience but I am realistic and realise this could only really be a side job (hobby) as there isn’t enough money in pet portraiture for it to be a full time job.

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Professional Practice Diary: East Surrey College Day 8

Today (22.04.14) was my final day at East Surrey College. I had come in before Easter for a continuous few weeks, however I enjoyed this so much and received positive feedback from the tutor here (D.Williams) that I decided to come back for one last day after Easter. This allowed me to see the student’s development over the Easter break, and was a great experience. It was interesting to see what advice people had taken on, and how my presents in the classroom had first hand helped the students. The feedback from D.Williams was positive and he has invited me back in future. I feel that my assistance here has been useful to my personal development, the tutor (D. Williams) and his students. Overall I am extremely satisfied of how this experience has gone. I can see that this level of education is a possibility for me in the future. I feel the National Diploma course at East Surrey College in particular would suit my teaching style well. In discussion with D.Williams we have spoken about how we are on the same wavelength. He has said that he trusts me to advise the students on their work and development; this was great to hear and feel that he had trust in me to be able to advise and help his students. I feel that teaching at this level would defiantly be a potential career plan for me.

Professional Practice Diary: Steve Trewhella (wildlife photographer and environmentalist)

Today (11.04.14) I have been based with Steve Trewhella who is a wildlife photographer on the south coast. He is an environmentalist aiming to capture the public’s attention on issues such as pollution and animal welfare in his area. At first I found the subjects of his images quite shocking, but he explained that it was all a part and parcel; wildlife is affected by the shocking attitude that humans seem to have in the world. The first beach that I encountered was littered with all sorts of rubbish, from eye drop bottles to cigarette packets and syringes. Some of which was traceable (a skill that Steve taught me), a surprising amount of litter was long haul; this shows that it is a global problem and not just local. Other than the obvious ways to track where the litter had come from (for example labels) Steve taught me that anything with Goose barnacles on has come across the Atlantic and isn’t local. This was an eye opening experience, I now have a deeper understanding of the effect of what we are doing to the earth; most things we use we can not be reused, we throw them away and they end up in the sea.

I had the opportunity to photograph Steve whilst he dissected a Fulmur. Fulmur feed on the surface of the ocean. For the last 50-60 years we have been throwing plastics in the sea. This has lead to the Fulmur eating unnatural things. Plastics attract toxins like sponges, this is extremely bad for the Fulmur; the plastics alone can lead to their death. The dissection that Steve undertook proved that the bird had died from eating plastics; his stomach was completely empty apart from unnatural objects.

I asked Steve how he sold his images, and we discussed a few ways that were possible for this this type of environmental photography. One way was to contact the Newspapers himself and sell his photograph, or sell a article/story along with his photograph. A few other ways Steve uses are his website, his Facebook, and image libraries online (stock photography pages). In the future I shall keep these ways of selling work in mind.

I had the opportunity to borrow some of Steve’s camera equipment. I was lucky enough to get to use his lenses for both litter (close up) and birds (further away). The fish eye (10.5) was great for incredibly close up work; the 60mm macro was also brilliant for litter. I used my 24-70mm for overall photos, but it was great to be able to use some of Steve’s specialist kit. This also meant that I learnt what he would use each lens specifically for. I later had the great opportunity again and was able to use his Sigma 50 500 lens and Canon 500 L lens. It was great to use this and I was able to capture some brilliant coastal birds on camera.

Steve also taught me about camouflage and patience, I realise that these are important skills to acquire for wildlife photography. I am extremely appreciative of this experience. Having done this I realise that perhaps this isn’t the job for me and there may be other photography jobs better suited. However this experience will always stay with me; my views on the way we treat the world (as humans) have changed. I shall keep this in mind for future projects and perhaps could touch on these subjects again.

Professional Practice Diary: Freelance Studio shoot

Today (27.04.14) I worked in the studio for a Fine Art student. I was approached online and asked if I would be interested in photographing for his Art project, my photographs would be reference works for his art. We spoke and exchanged ideas, culminating in a decision of a style he desired. I had to do background research and preparation work before I undertook the studio session, I realise that this is important to be able to pick up new techniques, as clients may require something that you have not done before. The skills I pick up and add to, will be helpful as well as being able to learn quickly on the job. As a freelancer I am beginning to realise that client work can sometimes be stressful as planning and organisation is a two way street between you and your client.

Professional Practice Diary: Frederick Bird week 10

Today (Friday 4th April 2004) was the final Frederick Bird afternoon Child University session. The children had enjoyed the photography workshops and seemed sad to see us go. I have valued the time spent running these workshops, as they will prove to be an enormously beneficial experience in the future. I plan to apply for a summer job as an activity leader on a summer camp; recent experience will be advantageous to have on my application. This summer job will look great on my CV for future, as I am leaning towards studying a PGCE and becoming a teacher.