I was tasked at college with producing a series of images that would be used for English Heritage social media platforms targeting a younger contemporary twenty five plus age group.
In the English Heritage values section of the website they speak of being imaginative in the way that history is brought to life and thinking creatively using the most effective means, surprising and delighting people. They also said they want each experience to be vivid, alive and unforgettable.
Me; as the photographer for this assignment, thought straight the way that I can and should use post processing techniques to the best of my ability to bring the images to life in a vivid way while still keeping the images looking real, I actually had my Nikon DSLR set to vivid in the image settings to save a little time in post.
After reading their comments on the website and the client brief supplied by the college regarding responsibility I realised I should not have any slogans, symbols or other designs visible which may have political or religious connotations and or risk the reputation of English Heritage. And no copyright/trademarked logos, text or other legally protected designs are to be visible.
Fun was mentioned on the website so I decided to use colour as colour is more fun to most of the younger generation. Quality goes without saying, I need to capture images that I can be reasonably proud of , although this part can be very difficult sometimes as an artist.
I decided to take my tripod as I would be shooting at least one long exposure and landscape photography and architectural photography is usually best done with a tripod. I also took a selection of filters with me namely a ten stop neutral density filter, some graduated filters and a polariser filter. The grads were used to try and not blow out the sky (overexpose) when shooting long exposures and the ND filter was so that I could expose for longer in light conditions without overexposure. This was to create the milky water effect on the fountain instead of freezing the droplets with a higher shutter speed as in the image below. I also took my flashgun incase I wanted to shoot any images where there was not enough natural light.
I checked the Met office website for the weather for the day of the shoot and luckily the conditions were perfect for this type of shoot, a mixture of overcast and sunny with fluffy clouds. I needed to know if I would require rain covers for the camera or if it should be postponed altogether. Postponing a shoot for a client is exactly what you do not want to happen but if the results from the shoot are not possible to match the brief then, it is pointless carrying on until another time when conditions are more favourable.
This fountain image looks ok to me now but, I made a lot of corrections to it in post. This is because I only had time for one shot as the fountain was being turned on and off all the time every hour and they day was coming to an end. My mistake was the fact I was waiting for one of the other fountains to spring into life with my composition setup already but it never did so, I had to rush over to this one and try and get the shot. In the original image I had shot, the sky was almost completely blown but I managed to pull some detail back in Lightroom using the graduated filter tool and knocking down the exposure somewhat. I cropped the image to a balance of a standard 380×253 in dimension as this was one of the requirements of the client brief. The other dimensions required were letterbox style 438×90 (I imagine this would be for a twitter header) and square 80×80 presumably for Instagram. The files required are Jpeg and this is pretty standard for photo transfers for screen based images. No model release forms were needed for the shoot as there were no people in the images.
The above screenshot shows me adjusting the aspect ratio in the custom settings of the crop tool.
I also used the transform tool in Lightroom to adjust the way the images looked so that the buildings looked straight with less distorsion caused by the wide angle lens I was using. The transform tool made the images look more uniform and less untidy as a series of images.
Here is the transform tool window you can use in the Lightroom develop module for straightening buildings, I just clicked on the vertical box but you can alter your images in a variety of ways.
The image above was liked in my peer feedback because of the leading lines making the viewers eyes wander around the image and the strong shadows on the gravel which were caused by the sun peering from behind the clouds which I waited for before pressing the shutter. I tend to agree. I also used the graduated filter in Lightroom to make the sky look more saturated in colour to aid the aesthetics.
Another requirement on the client brief was to enter metadata for each image here is the window from the metadata section with the images details entered with the file name, title, copyright owner, creator and dimensions. This was done to all the images by using a sync button in Lightroom that alters all the images at the same time although the file names had to be altered separately.
There are strong leading lines in this image also and that is probably what makes the image look better than some of the others. Saturation and clarity is also increased as in all of the shots to aid in making the images look more striking.
My peers said this image above had good reflections and I am pleased about that as that was my main intention, something different I thought.
Leading lines again in this image make the aesthetics pleasing to the eye and I had included some of the garden and flowers to ad a different angle to the series.
Here is an example of the letterbox style image.
Moody clouds over Whitley Court
This image of the gardens was heavily cropped to try and make it more pleasing to the eye, my feedback was that it had no focal point which is pretty true although I put it in the series as it is one of the few that I shot with a wider aperture creating depth in the image even if not a lot else. Personally I would not use it in a campaign but maybe someone else would.
This image above in square format shows the view of the entrance as you walk into the ruins.
This image shows the entrance to the main building and would be used near the front of a photographic narrative.
Above is one of the images heavily manipulated with a light leak effect using 3 graduated filters in Lightroom and adjusting the tones and colour temperature, this was to make the image appeal more to the younger social media savvy generation. I also used Mobile Lightroom’s ‘Charm no 4’ preset and strengthened it to make the image more dramatic. I think this works well and if needed by the client, all the images would be manipulated in this way. Obviously I would have to be very careful to get all the images to look like a balanced set and not go too far with any of them.
Overall I feel I could have done better in this assignment although I think I ticked all the boxes of the client brief. I could have done better by exploring more unusual angles to shoot the images and I could have spent more time trying to get a great shot of the fountain although post processing has helped the image a lot. If I had a second shot at producing the image of the fountain I would have exposed for a shorter time and maybe put an extra ND grad filter on as well. Grads are new to me so I’m still learning a lot about them, they are a great tool for Landscape photographers and I would encourage anybody shooting landscapes to try them.
I used a small aperture for most of the images and perhaps could have varied that a little and not got stuck in the rut of thinking Landscapes only as a lot of landscape photography is shot at F8 or higher F16 and F22 is commonplace.
What a good tool Lightroom is if you are not completely happy with your shoot, I am pretty sure if I had another go I would make a job of it I am even more proud of (in camera).