- What did you learn?
Throughout the duration of my project and curating the portfolio with photos that all had a deliberate theme, I learned a lot about editing styles that bring together otherwise unrelated images. The focal point for my project was my passion for music, but I wanted to show different stages of, perhaps, the songwriting process, or how I make music. For instance, one image is a still portrait of myself with a guitar, and another shows a close-up of my MIDI keyboard. In order to make both pictures look similar in content, I played around with layers and opacity to have two pictures in both images with overlays. Here’s an example of this…
- What was easy?
I think the easiest part of the process for me was picking a theme that displays my personality. I like to think that I wear my passion for music on my sleeve, and I saw this personal-portfolio creation as an opportunity to show that to my classmates or anyone who is interested. Since my room in Buffalo is pretty much a home-studio, it was easy to grab my music gear, set up a tripod, and try to capture some of my interactions with music production in a genuine way.
- What was challenging?
The challenging part of this project was trying to keep all of my images in the same world of music-making. I feel that there’s only so much you can shoot of the same idea before things get redundant or less intriguing, so I eventually branched out for the last few images I shot, and turned to different subjects that would show my personality (e.g. coffee mug, rubix cube, etc).
I also found that some editing took a long time to perfect, and I get very particular in retouching my photos, taking careful consideration of exposure, color-correcting, levels, saturation, and so on. Even though this editing in Photoshop was challenging, it’s also what I love about shooting, so I’d say it was worth the extra time spent on smaller details.
- How could your submission be improved?
My submission could surely be improved with more editing. While I think it is important to edit a group of photos that belong together simultaneously to ensure they look as if they’re a part of the same project/portfolio, there are often times where I’ll go back to my finals and see some error or editing mistake that I either could’ve fixed or done differently. Albeit, I’ve also learned that editing photos is an imperfect science; you can never really “finish” the photo, but you can get it to a point where you believe every possible technique that is applicable has been applied, and so you submit that best attempt.
- How could the professor improve the assignment for the next class?
I think Professor Dunkle made our first project really engaging and fun, since the subjects/theme can be anything we want. That freedom is something I thrive off of, and I think it was a perfect first project to tackle. That being said, maybe in the future, the assignment could also feature some vector images to go with our camera shots to add some dynamic that extends beyond photography solely.
- How might you apply your knowledge in future assignments or work scenarios?
Adjustment layers, adjustment layers, adjustment layers. This is ESSENTIAL for photo editing. For years, I kept editing and retouching my photos right off of my original layer, which was destructive. The benefit of using an adjustment layer is that if you don’t like the edits, you can simply delete that adjustment layer and start over. It is a super simple and effective method to retouch photos, and I will surely never not use them again.
- How did a specific reading or video inspire or help you?
I really love Brad Heaton’s work. He is the photographer for the band, Twenty One Pilots, and I referred to his Instagram page for inspiration. His handle is this for anyone interested: @bradheaton