5 Favourite Photos & Evaluation

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In the assignment ‘
30 Days, 30 Pictures’, I was given the task to take a photograph everyday and talk about it. At first it was challenging but throughout the 30 days, I have enjoyed putting my creativity to the test every single day. I have learnt quite a lot because it has made me think on the spot and come up with lots of different ideas each day even though it was difficult to include a variety of photography styles. E.g. many times it was more effortless to take the easy option of photographing something inside and close up, whereas other times I am proud of myself for thinking outside the box and venturing out to take a more interesting photo.

It has definitely improved my organisational skills by having to upload something every day and quickly catch up if I had missed a day. The project has helped me be more self disciplined as well with it being time consuming and demanding.

I believe having done this assignment, I will benefit in the future for other projects because I am able to experiment with different ideas for a theme and use trial and error to get a good shot. Overall, I am more experienced as a photographer after this unit and hope to continue using my improved skills for future challenging tasks.

Day 30 – Self-Portrait


lol eye

Date taken: 22/2/13
Location: Bedroom
Settings: Shutter Speed: 1/25 | Aperture: f/5.6 | ISO: 400

This is my self portrait and I took it right by the window so that I had enough light. I made it by adding two photos together and super imposing the eye from another photo onto the other picture of me. I enlarged the eye and used the transform tool to rotate it slightly. Then I used the erase tool to get rid of the edges and blend it in. I like it because I have created an abstract photo by making the eye look bigger than it should and it makes me look like a bug! I think the composition works because without the big eye the photo was a good portrait as I took it of just half my face which is already an interesting picture and you wonder what I am looking at. With the weird eye on top it adds something else and really changes it because it looks a bit scary with that big googly eye staring at you..

These are the two original photos that I used:

_MG_3588 edit _MG_3597

You can see that on the original picture, I’m looking in a different direction so putting the eye that looks straight forward onto it adds to the weirdness. The first photo was taken in colour and the second was in monochrome with a purple filter. In Photoshop, I desaturated both to make them blend together more easily. I edited the curves on the eye image making it lighter to match the other image.

Another thing I edited was the blur round the face and hair. I used the quick mask to select the area where I wanted the gaussian blur:

Other self-portrait experiments:

BLEH warped face blah

For those images, I was experimenting with Photoshop techniques such as duplicating layers, the transform tool, adjustment layers, the warp tool, blending modes, gradients and also with compositional elements like symmetry.

Day 29 – Refine An Idea



One point perspective

IMG_1420 chloe IMG_1420

I did like my original ‘one point perspective’ photo but it was an old picture. I made it into a portrait on Photoshop by super imposing an image on top. However I wanted to take the photo again and look for a one point perspective in town.

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It took me a while to find a good enough location to take my one point perspective photograph but when I saw this small street I thought it would be a good example. I like how it isn’t completely about straight lines because of the curves in the foreground. The lightest point of the photo is the building in the centre and the lines also draw you in to that area. To emphasize that, I edited the image on Photoshop with the burn tool and darkened the edges and corners of the image. In addition, I added two adjustment layers as different filter effects. I wanted to make the image look a bit older because I thought it would look good with the old fashioned buildings in the picture. I did this by desaturating it with a black and white adjustment layer.

blue< Colour Balance adjustment layer to add blue shadows, making it more mysterious and moody

black and white < Black and white adjustment layer

both< Both black and white and blue adjustment layers combined = interesting spooky filter

This new photo works better than my old one because it has a better narrative. It says more e.g. the colours and trees without leaves suggest it is a cold winter’s day and there are lots of bricks which are cold too and there is no green/nature to depict summer or warmth. The burn tool helped create a gloomy effect and the curves in contrast to the straight lines add mystery to the photo as well.

Day 28 – A Line From Your Favourite Song



“I’m at a payphone trying to call home..”

Date taken: 20/2/13
Location: Nottingham
Settings: Shutter Speed: 1/160 | Aperture: f/4.5 | ISO: 200

This is my first idea for a line from a song. I was in town and I realised I could depict these lyrics with this old telephone box. I framed it so that the telephone box was in the centre and took it in portrait to compliment all the vertical lines in the photo.

On Photoshop, I added a black and white adjustment layer to decrease the saturation. This made the red in the centre stand out more. I also made the shadows a bit more blue on a colour balance adjustment layer. I improved the framing with the burn tool round the edges and also sharpened the telephone box and blurred the surroundings with Gaussian Blur.

Day 27 – Friendship


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Date taken: 17/2/13
Location: A church
Settings: Shutter Speed: 1/60 | Aperture: f/8 | ISO: 400

This photo was taken in a church where it was a bit dark and there was no direct lighting. This meant I had to edit the curves a bit to lighten the image and add some contrast. My camera had a filter on that made the picture appear a bit blue so I also edited this on curves by switching from RGB to blue and taking the blues out.

It works well compositionally because the children are in the centre of the frame and they posed for the photo which is really cute! It makes a good portrait because they are both looking towards the camera, the flash was on so the subjects stand out from the background and the background is blurry as well. I edited it to make the background even more out of focus by using the Quick Mask, painting the children red then inverting the selection and using the Gaussian Blur. I also sharpened the subjects in the foreground with the same masking method and going on Filter > Smart Sharpen (5.0 pixels).

screenshot mask< Quick Mask with paintbrush tool

Test Shots:

_MG_3089< This was a test shot, testing out the lighting in the room. The light was coming through a window on the right which looked quite good. I would have liked to have taken a portrait photo here because of the lines on the carpet – after looking at one point perspective pictures, I noticed that these lines would have been very effective if I’d have had the children at the other end.

_MG_3114This photo was taken just before my final one and you can see it’s a bit dark, so after this I put the flash on.

Day 26 – Family


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Date taken: 17/2/13
Location: Hotel (The Roman Way Hotel)
Settings: Shutter Speed: 1/100 | Aperture: f/5.6 | ISO: 400

I really like this family photo because it is a bit like a social realism photograph – it’s a natural shot and the people are not aware of the camera. I think it works well because of the facial expressions – they are interacting with each other and I captured them laughing and smiling which is good because I captured that moment.

I took some photos before as test shots as I had to adjust the camera settings appropriately to fit the lighting conditions in the room. I got some overexposed shots and underexposed ones:
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In the room where this photo was taken, the light was very good due to there being big windows all the way round. For this photo I had the ISO on 400 but I probably didn’t need it that sensitive because there was enough light. I probably could have afforded to have a lower shutter speed but 1/100 was good for this kind of shot because I didn’t want any motion blur. Additionally, the image has a nice shallow depth of field and I like how the drinks in the foreground are in focus. Your eyes are drawn to them but still the main focus of the whole photo is the people behind. I could have made the aperture smaller for a wider depth of field but I think the way it is gives it an interesting aesthetical feature.

On Photoshop, I edited the levels and curves to add some contrast. I also added some filters to give it a nostalgic feel to add to the ‘family’ theme. At first the photo was in black and white and then I added a layer with a solid colour fill but changed the blending mode and decreased the opacity.

black and white < Black and white
blue < Blue (blending mode ‘Lighten’. Opacity: 30%)
sepia < Sepia/orange (blending mode ‘Overlay’. Opacity 70%)
both < Both blue and orange combined.


Day 25 – 3 Examples of Fashion Photography


Andrew G. HobbsAndrew G. Hobbs

I like this photo because of the contrast of the colourful background and the black outfit the model is wearing. I also think the soft lighting is effective because there are no harsh shadows and the background is soft with the way the colours blend into one another.

Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton

This photo is quite old, taken by Cecil Beaton, a famous fashion photographer in the 1950s. I chose it because I like the rule of thirds and how the subject is at the bottom of the image and the top two thirds is all negative space. I like the use of white and black and the contrast between the black dress and everything in the background. It brings your eyes to the subject. There is also good use of shapes in the photo because they are all squares and lines which contrast with the curves of Marilyn Monroe. 


Alex SainsburyAlex Sainsbury

This photograph really interests me because I love the round shapes and curves and how they are central in the photo. The background is dark and the subject lit up well with few shadows and dressed in white so she stands out. It is a good example of fashion photography because to me, the focus is on the jewellery as the rest of the attire is plain and not detailed – the hand has been made the focal point because it’s in the centre, she is holding it up to her face and she’s holding onto her necklace.

I think there is a narrative because it reminds me of a hospital patient with that thing on her head and she looks a bit sad… or mad.

Day 24 – Photographs by Berndnaut Smilde



Photographer: Berndnaut Smilde
Date taken (approx): 2010
Location: Unknown

This is an interesting photograph because it gives the feeling of peace and tranquillity. The cloud is the central focus of the image and the way all the lines of the room frame the cloud gives it good composition. It also looks like a one point perspective picture with how the lines point to one end of the room. It makes the room appear very big as well. Other narratives could be entrapment, enclosure, global warming, man vs nature etc.

The image has very simple, block, primary colours which reminds me of a children’s playroom. These colours could give the connotation of a flag as well. The walls are blue behind the cloud and that makes it look like a sky. The cloud is lit up from underneath and behind which illuminates it making it the lightest area of the photo so your eyes are drawn to it.

I could learn from this photographer’s work because he uses plain colours, lines, square shapes and perspective to frame a subject in the centre to give it importance.


Photographer: Berndnaut Smilde
Date taken (approx): 2007
Location: Unknown

Regarding composition, this photograph is quite simple with a basic rule of thirds arrangement as the bag is positioned in the centre. There is also a vertical line of symmetry especially due to the peg at the top. Also, all the lines are straight and going vertically or horizontally, apart from the tiny satellite dishes on the windows.

For the narrative, the meaning of this photo could be about how delicate humanity is with the use of a fragile brown paper bag. The photographer has depicted a building and how it is hanging on a line, or hanging by a thread.

The way the bag is folded at the top looks like a roof and it is lit from above which is like the sunlight.


Photographer: Berndnaut Smilde
Date taken (approx): 2009
Location: Unknown

I chose this picture because I like how the perspective and angle at which it was taken emphasises how many of this sculptures/installations there were. I found other photos which captured just one of those windows showing the sculpture inside but I prefer this way of showing them.

The sculptures inside the windows are made of foamboard. I like it because it reminds me of a sci-fi film where there are aliens floating and growing in a test tube type tank.

Day 23 – Nature



Date taken: 
Location: Garden
Settings: Shutter Speed: 1/160 | Aperture: f/3.1 | ISO: 320

This photo works well because of the shapes. The circle in the middle gives it a central focus and all the lines that go across the image horizontally are a good compositional feature because they contrast from the round shapes. The photo has the rule of thirds because there is a subject in the centre and the top and bottom half show light and darkness.

The photo was taken with the macro setting on the camera. I like the reflection you can see in the water bubble of all the leaves behind it. I put this photo up because I really like close ups but if I were to take another photograph for nature, I would probably try something different, e.g. a field, animals etc. Something that is taken far away maybe.

Day 22 – Food


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Date taken: 14/2/13
Location: Next to a window
Settings: Shutter Speed: 1/250 | Aperture: | ISO: 100

For this photo, I wanted to try something different and not an obvious food photograph. My experiment was taking a close up of a lemon slice inside a glass jar with ice and fizzy lemonade with it. At first I tried with the standard lens but I didn’t get very good shots as it wasn’t close enough. I put the extension tubes on and was able to get the detail in the bubbles a lot better.

The photograph has good composition because of the way I framed the lemon slice, putting the centre of it in the top left corner and having it take up most of the picture. It has a small amount of negative space on the right but your eyes are drawn to the centre of the photo because that’s where the focus is. One thing I would like to change is to have a wider depth of field but with the extension tubes, it’s hard to change that. It would be a lot better with a proper macro lens.

For lighting, I set up the jar next to a window where the natural day light came in. I also put a white card behind so that the light would reflect off it and light up the fruit from behind. As a result of such good lighting, I was getting some overexposed photos at first. To change this, I put the ISO down to 100 and had quite a fast shutter speed (1/250 sec).

On Photoshop, I adjusted the curves to add contrast and changed things like the vibrance and colour balance to make the fruit look a bit more ‘punchy’. I also wanted to make the bubbles look more crisp so I adjusted this on the smart sharpen filter.