NCFE Level 2 Photography

Studio Product and model – Task 2

The Pirate’s Treasure?

(Research and personal images)

RESEARCH (1.2, 3.1, 3.2)

I have found a few images to inspire me.


We’ve been doing a lot of work in the studio, recently. We’re taking images of ‘a product’ and then another of ‘the product with a model’. Ours is a big class, and it’s proving a little tricky to find time (not to mention space!) for us all to work.


You may remember, last term, I did some studio shots, with the floral shoes. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to fit in taking any shots with a model included in the shots. Since the flowers are long since dead, I couldn’t really take more photo’s for a product with a model. Luckily, my trolley holds all manner of photo props, these days. so Ria agreed that it would be okay for me to take some with a new product. Toby (…bless you, Tobes :0 ) “volunteered” to be my model for the shoot.  Although I hadn’t exactly planned my shoot or practised it at home, I had brought with me a pile of costume jewellery, which I thought might make interesting subject matter… I was hoping for some drama, with lots of dramatic highlights and shadows… and, of course,  a bit of bling.


Observing all the necessary H&S regs, regarding making sure everyone was as safe (and comfortable) as could be within the studio environment. We started…

With a little help from my fellow students – John, who is very tall and brilliant for helping with tall things! We set up the lighting rig with a main and fill light, using oven gloves to keep hands safe from hot lamps.  I set up the scene with a black backdrop, a cleverly disguised backpack (for Toby to rest his arm on) and red and black velvet cloths for extra texture and the softness and drape that velvet allows.

(3.2, 3.3)


After taking a few shots with the red backcloth, I decided I didn’t like it at all, I felt it was just too distracting from the jewellery, which was supposed to be the main focus of the images. So, we ditched it….

In the second and third shots, the key light set to 2, and a fill at light 1/3, both directed towards the jewellery, but the fill light was too bright, and my f.stop set too low, so the image is bleached out. I raised the f.stop to allow less light through the lens, and got a better outcome.


Ria wondered why I had chosen to use both lights directed at the jewellery, explaining that the specular highlights (the areas that show up as bright highlights on the pearls) are appearing as two specular highlights as opposed to one, which would look better. We turned the studio lamp away from the subject and reflected the light using a white reflector board and as you can see, it shows up just the one highlight on the pearls and bling-y bits of the image.



My fellow students and I all agreed that perhaps the theme of the image since although it features some more feminine aspects, such as pearls and sparkly things, the tattoos and Toby’s hands reminded us a little of pirates. We decided that a pirate might be a little more.. er… GRRrrrr!……and grasping! So we asked our valiant pirate-y model to turn his hand over and think GRRrrrr!……

Ahhhharrr! Pirate’s treasure? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is my final image for a studio product with model. I really like that you can see the jewellery ‘spilling’ over onto the bottom of the image. I like that the dots of the backcloth are highlighted as little gold sparkles. I also like the juxtaposition of masculine/feminine and the strength of the image.  However, If I could re-shoot this set of images, I think I might ask Toby for a slightly stronger pose. But my heartfelt thanks anyway, dear Toby. 🙂

(p.s. next time, I will use the nail varnish!)


Classmates studio shots:

  • Midori’s Tea Ceremony Shoot

In complete comparison to my somewhat camp and overdressed scenario, Midori set up a beautifully simple backdrop with a Japanese tea service complete with a red folded napkin.


I love the drama of the creases in the folded napkin and the shadow of the porcelain bowl.  Since time was running very short, I’m afraid I didn’t note down the settings on the studio lamps but got two very nice images.

  • Hannah’s Walking Holiday Shoot


Hannah set up her shots and initially the lighting was a little too dark.  I had my ISO too low, and f.stop too high for the first image on the left, which I changed for the second shot and got a slightly better image, but we still needed to adjust the studio lights.  After a little bit of fiddling about with the lights we got it just right, and took some good clear images.


I was the model for Hannah’s shots, so after she had finished, she sat in for me whilst I took my shots of her.

f7.2 1/100 25mm ISO250  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hannah’s holiday

In the image above, I used a wide angle lens but the backdrop is a little too narrow and you can see the classroom wall behind. So I changed my angle to portrait and took some better shots.


I like the first image. Now, you may have to use your imagination a little here, but Hannah is perched on a dry stone wall, looking pensively into the distance at beautiful, rolling hills and the dramatic Brecon Beacons, whilst resting with her map and trusty camera.

The image on the right is my favourite, however,  because you can just see a tiny highlight on her glasses, which makes it look just a teeny bit more holiday-like. 🙂

We still have a couple more studio shoots to do, so this post may well be extended, next week.





(1.3, 1.4)

Health and Safety on Location

Do not enter. Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Essentially, as with any other profession, these days, Health and Safety Regulations around photography are mostly common sense.  That, and limiting the amount of hazards as far as practically possible, whilst taking responsibility to ensure one’s own health, safety and welfare, and that of any photo subjects whilst working.


Be mindful of trip hazards, e.g camera bags and gear, or when using tripods, and/or lighting stands outside. Carry out a mental risk assessment before starting to shoot. You can even download a template for a written risk assessment here ( Remember, it’s your responsibility if things go wrong! A keen awareness of Health and Safety will also reassure clients, subjects and members of the public that you care about creating a safe environment for them.

  • Identify hazards eg. decide if anyone is at risk.
  • Evaluate risk and put precautions in place
  • make notes if necessary about the situation for later reference

If you’re in a public place for example, be aware that a camera bag, or tripod represents a trip hazard not just to yourself, but also to passers by.  Having tripped over them myself on several occasions now, I realise the importance of this one!  N.B. Also lookout for traffic, (no matter how good the shot! …I’ve been beeped at more than once.)  Watch out for cyclists, and kerbs too (yep…tripped over those.) and especially people.  This ‘spatial’ awareness should also extend to waterways, and steep slopes. It’s a good job Tripod Carrier is also my lookout, and very practised at catching me when I’m off balance!! (a rather unfortunate effect of my ill health:( ).

Common sense would dictate that you do not obstruct the pathways, and not just because it is a legal requirement not to do so.


We often see this sign now, and although it may not be a legal requirement, it can mean that photography will be objected to. Sometimes, quite strongly!

Image found on Google

Members of the public do not need a permit to take photos in public places. TFL has rules about photography on train station platforms, as do most airports, unless for personal use.  Some Public landmarks e.g. Nelson’s Column have by-laws protecting them also. You can always check their respective websites first if you’re unsure.

You do not have to ask permission to take people’s photo’s, but it’s probably better that you do 🙂 A winning smile, and a compliment go a looong way. 🙂  If you wish to take photographs in a private place and publish them, you’ll need to obtain permission, and/or a ‘model release’ or consent form. You can obtain a copy of a model consent form from the Association of Photographers, here: (  In this day and age, it seems a little obvious to say that if you wish to take photo’s of other peoples children.  You must obtain permission from their parent or guardian.

Bear in mind also that a reaction to photography can be different in many societies and cultures. Even if there are no legal restrictions, people may object quite strongly to having their photo taken. Reactions can range from complaints and even to violence!  Recently, a woman in Richmond became quite agitated when I took a photograph of her bike as she walked away from it.  It was a really pretty retro, baby blue bike, there were bright flowers in the basket, and she’d leant it up against a yellow brick wall. The light was perfect and I took the shot. She stormed back towards me, and demanded to know why I had taken the photo!  Yikes! I explained I was a student, produced my student card and offered to show her what I’d taken. She checked my camera, and then explained that recently, her husband’s bike had been stolen… evidently, there is a gang that go around taking photo’s of bikes and then stealing them. At this point, she had calmed down and when I offered to delete the image she agreed it was okay, although she didn’t want me to put it online… just in case. So I am respecting that wish.

You must be aware that whilst you have rights to take photos, if the police regard you as a terrorist threat (a little unlikely in my middle-aged-Nanna-person) but they can stop and search you.

You cannot (and should not..) trespass to take photo’s. If you want to take photo’s on private land, ask permission. If you are friendly, polite and professional, most people will grant permission.

If you’re setting up business as a Photographer, you may decide to make a Health & Safety Policy for your business. You can download a template from

I found a really helpful article on Street Photography and the law here:

Public Liability Insurance – If you are being paid to take photographs you need to take out public liability insurance, which should cover you for any liability for damage caused to another person, or property, whilst working.


If you set up business and go on to sell your work, you’ll probably need to know the difference between commercial and editorial use. An editorial picture can be used to illustrate an article, or educational text but not to promote or sell a product. ‘Commercial use’ pictures can be used to sell, or promote something or to raise money for a cause.


Most photographers, as I now know, spend long periods of time hunched over either, a camera on a tripod, or a computer.  You can limit the potential issues of injury through back strain, by being aware of how you lift, and carry your photography equipment. Don’t overload yourself, and bend at the knees rather than bending your back.  When both editing photo’s and writing my blog, I can spend a considerable amount of time at the pc. It’s important to take regular breaks to reduce headaches, and eye strain. Rather like Goldilocks & the Three Bears story, the chair I’m sitting in, right now, dear reader, is perfect for Tripod Carrier, but causes me some discomfort, so getting up and moving around does help. You may be relieved to hear that I have an ergonomically designed wrist, and mouse pad and, a very comfy foot rest. 🙂  Be aware of screen glare, use brightness and contrast settings to reduce flicker.


Cameras are expensive items to replace. Insurance is a good idea, especially if you intend to take photos in an area where you might expect to be robbed (mmm hmm… I know… perhaps you think you wouldn’t be?) but if you are taking photo’s whilst away on a trip somewhere abroad, for instance, it may be a consideration… better safe than sorry, eh?  Don’t make a big show of your marvellous camera. Try not to ‘advertise’ your very expensive camera, don’t make it obvious! Keep it in a bag that doesn’t advertise its’ value, use a secure strap, and don’t leave your camera bag unattended.

Another good reason to be careful whilst shooting, is dropping expensive camera parts.  A while ago, when shooting at Kew Gardens with a fellow student I dropped my lens!! EEEK!! For a heart stopping moment as I picked it up, I feared the worst, but thanks to some sound advice to buy a UV filter to protect the lens, my lens was safe whilst the £6 UV filter was completely smashed… lesson heeded and learned.

So, there you have it… all the basics of ‘elf n’ safety for photographers…..




Research and resources from:

No photo’s sign from Google




Postcode Project  Unit 1

Final Five re-visit  (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)

On our last day of term, we all got together to show photo’s for the final 5 part of the Postcode Project.


It was amazing to see everyone’s work all laid out and I couldn’t help but smile and think how far we’ve all come.


It was interesting to see how much difference the layout made to our photographs, with texture, pattern, rhythm and colour being almost as important as the image itself. This was something I hadn’t really considered before, but will consider more carefully in future.

It was good to both give and get peer feedback too, there were some strong, valid opinions and thoughts expressed, as well as congratulations and praise.

Something that became clear when looking at the prints was that many of us had felt somewhat disappointed by the printed image, feeling that they were a little ‘dark’. This is when Ria said that we were now discovering the difference between ink and screen. It’s  something I wasn’t prepared for… I have become so used to scrutinizing the images for many hours on my PC or camera screen, which is backlit, that the printed image was a little bit underwhelming. Perhaps it would be a consideration to lighten our photo’s in post edit? I am beginning to understand now, just how much post editing goes on in this digital age!

Ria commented that although my images were “beautifully seen” that I hadn’t entirely fulfilled the brief as far as the depth of field images were concerned so I am in the process of re-printing them for something that although technically correct, is really rather boring…. (just pictures of some of my vintage cameras) not half as visually exciting or interesting as the ones I’d chosen to show but at least I’ll be keeping to the brief…. and maybe even getting a pass mark!

I also decided to re-edit one of the ‘movement’ photo’s because of a small detail in the background… There is a little piece of white litter in the background that is actually quite distracting to the image. To be honest, I hadn’t even noticed it until it was printed!!

A little bit of Photoshop magic and Ta dah! …..Makes a difference, doesn’t it?

Comments from my peers were that the image of the Syon clinic building was not as striking as it had been on screen, and I have to admit that I agree, so I am re-editing the final 5, and changing a couple of the images. I’ve sent them off to the print labs and hopefully, they’ll be better.  I’ll submit them at college on Tuesday for Ria’s approval.

I only really have to replace one of the original images, I think I’m leaning towards the last one…. How about you?.

I’ll let you know.




Carmela Presents…  JOHN FRENCH  – Assignment 2, Task 1

(1.1, 1.2)

A course requirement is that we give a 15 minute presentation, with supporting material on a studio photographer of our choosing.

*Takes a bow*

Without any further ado, I present to you,  the amazing, Mr John French.


I have really enjoyed everyone’s presentations, and have loved finding out more about these influential, and inspiring photographers.

More next week…… 🙂





(1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)



Syon Clinic, Gt West Rd. This image has been converted into B&W apart from the architectural detail of the tiles. Whilst I like this image, if I was to change something about it, perhaps I could have pulled back a little to include the top part of the building that has been cut off.


The Hive, by Wolfgang Buttress, Kew Gardens – this stunning installation was built as a short term structure but, a year and a half on is still delighting visitors to the gardens. I love the drama of this beautiful structure.


This shot has been edited to best show the colour of the sky and clouds, and also to  exaggerate the shadows and reflections. I like that there are few colours in the image but that what’s there is very strong.


This sign is on an old and, slightly wobbly building next to the dry dock on Brentford Dock. I love the 1950’s font of the sign, it clearly hasn’t been re-painted and everything else around it has been left to rust and deteriorate. If I were to change something about the image, I might have tried to get the entire sign in.

Disused buses, Brentford Dock

These buses belong to a local company that are renovating them to use as ‘event’ buses. People can hire them for weddings and parties. When finished, these Routemaster buses look beautiful, but these poor ol’ buses are now retired and are waiting patiently for some love and attention. I really like the faded colours and tiny hints of chrome, even the hint of an old advertising poster with the promise of a fun night out. (…it is, I’ve seen it 😉 ) It might have been a nicer image if the sky were blue and the fence were galvanised as opposed to green, but that really was out of my control.




Brentford, Brentford so good they named it once.

An ongoing project this term, was to explore, and photograph within the double page spread on an AtoZ map of our postcode area. We were to make studies and notes showing evidence of our research and investigation.  We’re asked to view our environment with fresh eyes and finally, to select 5 images, and have them printed for our exhibition at the college.

BRENTFORD RESEARCH (1.1,1.2, 1.3, 1.4)

How do I feel about Brentford? I came here from a small village in Hertfordshire, almost 3 years ago.  Our main criteria was to find a together home, with a garden, and within 15 mins of Tripod Carriers workplace. We had friends in the area. Brentford was affordable, and apparently starting to regenerate.

So, What’s the story? What does Brentford say?  In lots of ways, Brentford has so much… Longevity, indeed a huge amount of history, including Julius Caesar, Famous battles, connections to Royalty, and great change during the Industrial revolution.


It was a relatively bright day for the outside shots, so I used a low ISO, but kept a shallow depth of field because I wanted to focus on just a small part of the object I was photographing.

For the interior photo’s,  I used a higher ISO, which varied depending on the level of natural light available, again, I wanted to focus on specific parts of the detail, so varied the focal length, for framing and kept the aperture quite low.

Perhaps it would have been easier for me to take photo’s using my tripod, but I was mindful of a small hoarde of schoolchildren, which meant H&S had to come first, so I settled for resting my camera on various railings, and bars, structures. I was happy with the outcomes of my day in the Kew Steam Museum, well worth a visit.

In my research, I have discovered connections to Charles Dickens, Van Gogh, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Pocahontas even! There are wonderful green spaces, Kew Gardens, Syon Park, Osterley House.




and yet.. It has no heart. Or perhaps it’s just lost it for a while… Brentford has a long standing tradition of boom and bust.   Today, the town centre is desperately run down, and depressing, the shops are almost non-existent. Even in the short time I have been here, more have closed down. For a short while, we had a small, but popular farmer’s market, then politics got involved, and the market was moved out of the way, causing most of the stall holders to give up. The market now consists of just a handful of stalls. People prefer to shop and visit with our wealthier neighbours, Richmond and Chiswick.

There are some beautiful buildings, and stunning architectural details along the Great West Road, and some shockingly run down 50’s shops and towering blocks of flats that need demolishing.


I set out to say something about my postcode, but I love the broken, faded images of decay around Brentford. It was a cold and grey day, but the soft light added something to the coolness of the colours, washng them out, adding to the rundown feel.

What makes me uncomfortable about TW8? There seems to be a lack of community.. Cliques of disparate ethnicities, an undercurrent of racism. One of the few places that seems to bring people together in Brentford, is the football club, which has a large following. The pubs also bring people together, and I discovered that previously, Brentford had a reputation for brawling and drunkness!! Perhaps that’s why we had such a large Magistrates Court, which has now been developed into a snazzy coffee shop?

Brentford has strong transport arteries.. The Thames, The Grand Union Canal, The Great West Road.  All of which brought great wealth in their time, and going forwards, there are plans to create a supercycle highway.



Everyone I have spoken to about this regeneration tells me it’ll never happen.  Brentford has seen these promises before. There have been many attempts to rebuild Brentford.. All of which have failed.  Brentford is now very jaded. Once a bustling, well-to-do Victorian town, there is little evidence of it now.

There are new plans to build and rejuvenate the canal side area, and the south side of the High Street, but there’s a great deal of opposition, and everyone involved seems to be dragging their heels. Nothing has happened yet… People seem to be very sceptical and disapproving. I’m not quite sure what they are afraid of losing?



Thousands of shiny new flats are being built, but there just isn’t the infrastructure to support so many people.  Plans have been approved, land has been compulsory purchased, but it has a very long way to go before Brentford has a thriving community. For the time being Brentford is…

f..5.6 1/25s 45mm ISO500OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For my final photo’s I wanted to recognise this current stagnation whilst celebrating earlier boom periods when Brentford was the site of West London’s water pumping station, and when the Great West Road was bustling with modern factories and future promise.

The images above are some of my favourites from this project, but have not been selected for the final 5 for various reasons. Perhaps they show an interesting detail or texture, but would not be instantly recognisable as descriptive of TW8 to a wider audience.

My next post will show my final 5 images.




I like to move it, move it…..

SHUTTER SPEED – MOVEMENT (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)

Along with depth of field, this has been the toughest part of the course for me. I’ve struggled to find ways to portray movement. I can see it in other people’s work, and enjoy it, but capturing it seems to elude me. Perhaps because I’m not the outdoorsy type, and most of my hobbies are slow, quiet things, maybe it’s just not that important to me, who knows?

In my efforts, I’ve stood on every windy corner, in sun, rain and wind. I was even out in a near blizzard with Tripod Carrier, this evening. Both of us shivering with cold and stamping our feet to revive them. Me, behind the lens and he, patiently taking direction in an attempt to capture light and movement. Waving his mobile phone around to make lights trails over the Gillette building. People drove past us, and I wondered what they were thinking…?  Taking photo’s in this weather? Below zero degrees, pitch dark? They must be bl**dy mad!  Well mad probably, but it must be love too. Love of photography for me, and love for me from Tripod Carrier. 😁

There really are only a few photo’s I’ve taken that I can use to explore movement. I know I do need to work on this aspect of my photography skills, and I hope that as the Spring comes, it will bring lighter evenings and the chance of more movement shots, al fresco.  Fortunately, we only need 3 for this assignment. So here we are my chosen 3:

At the beginning of this course, I was still struggling with camera controls, and being able to capture exactly what it was that I wanted to capture.  So, whilst I am still battling with panning techniques, (it’s all still a little bit hit and miss) it is getting easier to portray what I want. Perhaps I have somewhat chickened out by using these images (above) but despite hundreds of ‘failed’ images, I have yet to really succeed with panning and movement techniques. (I’ll persevere with it though…..)


I do, however, think my final shots convey a sense of movement. Perhaps traffic is just not my forte 😉



Update June 2018

Well…. A lot more practice and I’m getting it, I really think I am now!

(1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)