Fashion Photography BACP102

In this module, we have been introduced to the world of Fashion Photography and we will have to produce a portfolio of fashion images.

WHAT IS FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY? Fashion photography is a genre of photography which does not focus on the subject in the photo but in showing the clothes and other fashion items. In fact what makes fashion portraiture different from Editorial portraiture is that in fashion, the identity of the person isn’t important as there’s no much story to tell, the aim is just to make the items look good and persuade people to buy it.  Fashion photography is used in fashion magazines but also for advertisements. With time, it has developed its own aesthetic, to enhance the clothes and other items, photographers started thinking not only about the clothes but also interesting locations, props and ideas.

Statement of intent

For this assignment, we’ve been asked to take different fashion shots which have to include 2 final ones on location indoors and outdoors full length and 2 finals studio-based, with coloured backgrounds and also focused on the concepts of lighting, either by using a high key, mid key or low-key. Also, these photos need to be suitable for Spring/Summer 2017, which means I will also have to look into the current trends.

To gain more inspiration and have more ideas I researched into fashion’s history and also studied and explored in-depth 4 magazines, looked at two fashion photographers and two stylists that I like.

To begin with, I had a rough idea of what I wanted my photos to look like and the style. I wanted it to be in the style of Afropunk as it’s a trend and fashion style that has been going on for a while.

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Afro-punk started as a movement in America and in 2003 Matthew Morgan produced ‘Afro-Punk’, a documentary about Black Punks in America. The purpose of this documentary was to give a voice to thousands of multi-cultural kids strongly identifying with a lifestyle path-less-traveled.

With time AFROPUNK has evolved into a cultural movement that reminds the early days of Hip-Hop. Many urban kids who felt like outsiders noticed that they were actually the core of an innovative and fast-growing community.

Unknown.pngSocial networks like Instagram, twitter and Facebook pages have really helped this movement to grow fast, they share stunning fashion and character portraits of a range of diverse people. I love how these photos are so unique and different from the usual portraits. I think photography has been a powerful medium for the afropunnk movement to get viewers and be known in many places around the world. Just as I was impressed when I first saw their photos so many others were attracted in positive but also in a negative way. image.jpgThis is because some think this movement is just increasing racial conflicts between blacks and whites, as it looks like this movement is valorizing black people more than whites. Yes, this movement started off especially for the black youth, this is because many youngers in the black community have always felt inferior to others and restricted, especially in industries like fashion or photography and that’s because we can clearly see the lack of black models, stylist, photographers etc.. And Afropunk is a way to empower all the young blacks not to be intimidated by the current situation and to pursue their goals even if it’s in a predominantly white industry. Also not to forget that Afropunk is also intended for all those who are unique in their own way and many times because of their uniqueness and individuality they are not accepted whether you are black or white. This movement empowers everyone that feels that way.



The videos below quickly show and explain what is the Afropunk movement about.

I researched into AFROPUNK because I’m mainly interested in the style and it is also similar to the new trend summer/spring 2017, Coachella fashion, they are both festival/street style.

Coachella fashion

Coachella is a music festival, it began in 1999, with a two days event in October. It came back few years after changed into a one-day event. However, since 2007, it has been a three-day event and the two-weekend format started in 2012. With years Coachella has become the festival where everyone wants to go, probably thanks to the numerous amount of photos people have shared on Instagram during the event but also thanks to the celebrities that attend this festival. The festival allows everyone to show off their spring and summer style. A bit like fashion week, and the Afropunk Festival on the event there are a lot of different personalities with interesting styles. Many singers and other celebrities attend this festival, wearing their best Coachella outfit.

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Celebrities like Jamie Chung and Kendal Jenner, Vanessa Hudgens.


This year’s Coachella festival is on the weekends 4-16th April and 21-23rd April. Singers like Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar are scheduled to perform and others like DJ Khaled and Bastille. The main style of the event is usually wearing denim shorts or jeans, floral and patterned dresses, cowboy boots, edged jackets and a lot of jewellery. So Coachella and Afropunk are the two styles that I will try to combine and select summer/spring outfits for my models.


For this assignment we were also asked to study in depth four magazines and identify:

  1. who’s their target audience?
  2. how do they differ?
  3. what are the various stylistic approaches ?

and it had to be:

  • A monthly fashion magazine: I chose to look at Vogue
  • A weekly fashion magazine: I chose Grazia
  • A men’s magazine: I chose GQ
  • An alternative fashion magazine: I chose ID


Vogue is the number one fashion magazine in the world, its first issue came out in 1892 in America and it was acquired by Conde Naste Publishers in 1909.
Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 12.25.46Immediately the main focus of the magazine were women. Vogue is often referred as “the fashion Bible.” This magazine is followed by billions of people who have interests in new trends, fashion and beauty. For a designer, model, photographer or celebrities to work or appear in this magazine is the top-level in the fashion industry.  In fact, well-known photographers like Mario Testino have worked for this magazines and well-known top models like Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer have posed for this magazine.                                                                                     In the First World War Vogue made impossible deliveries to the other part of the world, so they started printing in England and in 1920 the first French Vogue was released and in 1932 the American Vogue had a coloured photograph on the cover for the first time. Vogue became a symbol of a new era in the 60’s under the leadership of Diana Vriland, the magazine became more creative and open.

Vogue has had different editors starting with Victoria Davydova who joined Condé Nast in 1998, she started as and soon became a director in this sector. She actively worked to help with the Russian Vogue and this made her Editor-in-Chief of Russian Glamour. Karina Dobrotvorskaya, President, Condé Nast New Markets and Editorial Director states: “Victoria has profound understanding of her readership; she is perfectly experienced if all aspects of glossy business, immediately caught by the tail all latest trends in fashion industry and journalism stylistic. I am absolutely sure that Victoria will make Vogue a truly wonderful magazine – fresh, trendy, sharp and elegant”. Interestingly, since 2008 the Russian Vogue holds Fashion Nights Out, which are annual festivals of fashion and shopping where Vogue readers can meet their favourite designers, models etc.

Looking at the statistics Vogue is majorly a women’s magazine, with a majority of 85% women and 15% of Men that read and works in it. The highest percentage of age group is between 16 to 34 years whereas from 35 years going up the percentage of readers falls into 16 percent. It also shows that the main audience is made of 64% of workers like business owners, managers, specialists, white-collars and the 78% of people who have a high income. Strangely, I would have thought the majority would have been within the people who buy clothes and shoes, but instead the majority of people buy cosmetics and perfumes. Additionally, 54% of the audience make time to read Vogue and 49% save favourite issues of Vogue.


Vogue, always uses similar iconic fonts, colour and layout and this makes the magazine very appealing. Other magazines like Seventeen, use much more vibrant colours and explosive fonts. Vogue uses large photographs as focal points and including celebrities as the main faces of the magazine attract more viewers. In fact according to Monk “Vogue is very successful in attracting its audience, resulting in continual high readership.” Other fashion magazines, like Elle and Marie Claire have almost the same audience as Vogue, but they are not as high. This is because Vogue focuses on selling not only printed copies but also online versions. In 2013 their sales in printed magazines dropped to 10.4%, but the online views were very high. They create very strong covers to catch the viewer’s attention, as the cover is what will catch people attention, they focus on the photograph but also other elements like colour, fonts and cover lines. This magazine is also very sophisticated, the U.S Vogue issue uses a lot of white in the covers but the Italian and French one uses less. This shows how Vogue changes its layout but there’s still a consistency in all the different publications. Interestingly, A.s Brown criticised “Remember, when you feel thoroughly annoyed by pushing out the same content, that’s the same time you have just made a decent impression in the market. .” This explains how Vogue has created various, different covers etc but always kept the same style. Compared to other magazines Vogue has a larger audience and need to be able to appeal to more people and backgrounds.

I personally love Vogue, many times in the past I have used the magazine as a source of research and inspiration and can say is one of my favourite fashion magazines.

Caroline, D. (2013). What makes a best-selling magazine cover? Retrieved from: http:// er?page=3

Crotty, N. (2012 August). Here are the 10 models who have covered Vogue the most. Re- trieved from: covered- vogue-the-most/


Grazia is a weekly women’s magazine, which originated in Italy but is printed in any other countries like Albania, India, Serbia, Japan, Bulgaria, Poland, Indonesia, France, Croatia United Kingdom and many other places. The Italian edition was first published in 1938 by Mondadori. This magazine follows Italian traditional values such as cooking and child-rearing. During the second World War, the magazine followed fascist rules and, propaganda and it was renewed after. In Italy, it is owned by the Mondadori which later became one of the Ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Grazia is the first Italian weekly magazine to extend its successful formula abroad, creating the most dynamic magazine Network on the market. In July 2015 the magazine published an article about raising family pets to make money to buy better furniture. This got the attention of animal lovers. The British edition of the magazine started in 2005 and is owned in the UK under licence by Bauer Consumer Media.


In November of the same year, its edition in the United Arab Emirates was first issued and the French version was first published in August 2009. Grazia readers are women aged 25 to 45 year and it has more AB profile readers than Vogue and Elle. An article describes a Grazia readers saying: “She’s a savvy, affluent, confident, busy and modern woman who actively participates in the world around her”. Grazia magazine include couture catwalk to the latest high street/designer collaboration, from the front rows of Paris to the pockets of east London. The magazine is very interesting also for the mix of features it contains, different debates and talks about politics, hard-hitting reports and real life stories from women behind the news. Grazia beauty has become synonymous with leading the trends and driving the news. Grazia had a circulation of 374,213 copies in 1984 and in the first half of 2011 it rose to 382,000 copies. During the same period, the British edition produced 219,741 copies. The magazine also has an app with interactive content from weekly glossy, which can be scanned to select pages in some issues and unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and extra interviews. I can say Grazia magazine has really evolved in every aspect especially in the way it promotes itself and had made it quick and easier to access the online source.


Gentlemen’s Quarterly is one of the few magazines that offers reports of latest men’s fashion and style news. It was launched in 1931 in United States as Apparel Arts. It was initially a men’s fashion magazine for the clothing trade, aimed primarily at wholesale buyers and retail sellers and it had a very limited print run.                                                 The popularity of this magazine spurred the creation of Esquire magazine in 1933. In 1958 the name Apparel Arts was changed into gentlemen’s Quarterly and was re-branded as GQ in 1967. In 1980 Conde Nast bought the magazine and the new editor, Art Cooper changed the course of the magazine and made GQ a general men’s magazine which was in competition with Esquire. justin-bieber-gq-0316-cover.jpgYears after, when Jim Nelson took over he worked both as writer and editor and made some changes that made the magazine more suitable for young readers as it included more casual styles. GQ works closely with Metro-sexuality and works with well-known photographers like Terry Richardson and has a close access to celebrities. The magazine also features an exclusive interview by world celebrities like Justin Timberlake and James Franco. GQ is published in Australia, France, Italy, India, Brazil, Japan, Germany, China, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Turkey, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Latin America Russia, South Africa and Mexico. The magazine layout starts with a section which gives a must-read brief overview of the world arts, from ballet to hip hop, from art exhibitions to TV shows. It also includes debates over the most popular topics of the month. Arsenal is the top trends in men’s fashion and other material interests like cars, watches, sports, food and sex. GQ does not only have a printed version but also supplies the online one too which keeps readers up-to-date on latest events and reports any new events immediately about politics, TV shows and fashion brands.


They also have a tablet version which includes videos, interactive contents and extended reports. I think what makes this magazine really interesting are not only photographs but the content, is full of news and interesting topics that men are more likely to read and this will attract more male viewers to read it. Since 2005 GQ publishes the rating of “100 most stylish men of Russia and the World”, selected by the jury of fashion editors, designers, photographers and high-life producers.

Looking at the statistics in the U.S. 73% of people who read this magazine are men and the 63% of them are single. Also, 65% of them had an annual income of $50,000 and 25% had an income greater than $75,000. In Britain, the 63% of readers are males and 37% females. 34% of them are ages 16 to 24 and 43% are 25 to 34 years. From the age of 35, the percentage start decreasing from 15 % to 8%. Of these readers, 80% have a high income and 81% of them work. 66% of them are managers, professionals, employees. The 48% of the audience is willing to pay extra for the desired brand, 62% prefer to stand out against others and 42% trying to keep up with latest fashion trends.


I-D is a British fashion magazine dedicated not only to fashion but also music, art and youth culture. It was founded by designer and former Vogue art director Terry Jones in 1980. The first issue was published in the form of a hand-stapled fanzine with text produced on a typewriter. Terry Jones was born in 1945 in Northampton and studied graphics in Bristol but dropped out as a protest when his favourite tutor resigned. He set this magazine up with his wife, Tricia. He did not want the magazine to promote fashion products but to celebrate the street style and youth culture. The first issue was released in 1980 and it just sold 50 copies.
Terry Jones believed that the lack of sales was because the magazine consisted in “street style” a concept which has now grown a lot in popularity since i-D has become more well-known. The writing was typed up on a type-writer and the models were members of the British public. The first few years for this magazine were called controlled chaos because at the time there was a different creative aspect to designing for more established magazines like Vogue and by creating such a magazine, i-D was a creative risk to Terry.  He states:

id.jpg “The idea was to break down the pigeon-holing of identity and fashion; to go beyond the facade of fashion, so you could play it as a game. So you could inject more fun into the codes of fashion.”

 He wanted to do something different and bring something new to the market, at the time it could have been a very big risk as it wasn’t something very seen and would have broken some rules  but now it is really popular as street style and cultures are very seen in today’s society and even though the magazine has changed from a hand stapled fanzine, into a mature glossy magazine, the original theme street style and youth culture, still remains the focus of the magazine and this makes it different from all the other magazines and after years the content in this magazine still surprise and inspire the audience.

The wink and smile on the front cover is a graphic representation of the magazine’s logo and it have become part of ID’s identity. This has attracted many celebrities like Madonna, Lil’ Kim and Naomi Campbell’s attention.

I-D include people in fashion, music, art and every other creative field, and has prided itself for discovering talents like Wolfgang, Nick Knight, Dylan Jones and Craig McDean, who all started their careers with this magazine. Again celebrities like Madonna, Kanye West, Victoria Beckham, Tom Ford and many others have appeared on the cover of i-D magazine.

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ID magazine does not include a lot of text, instead, it has lots of white spaces and few images in a larger dimension.

The average age of i-D magazine readers is about 15-26 years old, both male and female, they are likely to be part of a subculture and follow a specific fashion street style. Statistics indicates that readers with a mid-high salary are being targeted. Watching the magazine interviews I noticed how they always interview new upcoming talents rather than already known people and this could suggest that students, recent graduates and young professionals that work within the creative industry have the chance and position to work for this magazine. What I love about this magazine is the variety of faces, and different models from different nationalities they use this show how open this magazine is compared to all the other magazines and it is not likely to discriminate.     The reason I chose to look at this magazine is that I’m very sure I will find a lot of inspiration from it as the style is very similar to what I was researching into earlier. I will look at the work of some photographers who have shot for this magazine.


For our fashion brief we have to photograph four different shoots, Location indoor and outdoor and in the studio using white and coloured backgrounds. I started off by looking at two photographers. For the location ones I looked through inspiration from Tim Walker’s work and for the studio ones, I looked at Mario Testino’s work.


He was born in England in 1970 and his interest in photography began at the Condé Nast library in London where he worked on the Cecil Beaton archive for a year before university. He studied BA Honors degree in Photography at Exeter College of Art and he was awarded the third prize as The Independent Young Photographer Of The Year. He started taking photographs as a teenager, after moving to Devon with his parents and brother. In 1994, he worked as a freelance assistant in London before moving to New York City as an assistant to Richard Avedon. He returned to England and he initially worked on portrait and documentary work for British newspapers and at the age of 25 he shot his first fashion story for Vogue, and since then he has photographed the British, Italian, and American editions, and for other magazines. In 2008 he published a book called ‘Pictures’ and also had his first major exhibition at the Design Museum. In 2010 Walker’s created his first short film, ‘The Lost Explorer’, thanks, to this he won the best short film at the Chicago United Film Festival, 2011.

He opened his exhibition ‘Story Teller’ at Somerset House in London and in the same year he also published another book, which was always called ‘Story Teller’. In 2013 he released a unique collection of portraiture and illustration celebrating grandmothers. In 2012 Walker received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society.

The Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London include Walker’s photographs in their permanent collections.

His work really attracted Vogue and many other magazines attention. By looking at his work, you immediately understand he is trying to tell a story and it reminds me of fairy tales and childhood cartoons. It looks like he portrays his imaginations and ideas in his photos because all his photographs evoke wonder.  I think he is really good in recreating his imagination to us because his photographs feel true because of accurately he creates the settings.  He states: “I think I was interested in pictures from the day I was born, I always loved the illustrations in children’s books more than the stories themselves. Photography was, and is, a way to communicate. I could see things in my head that I wanted to express, but I didn’t know how to communicate them if they didn’t exist. It was a mood I could feel, or a mixture of a memory and an imaginary thing that I wanted to…”

I looked at his photo storyteller and was very inspired by the setting of these photographs and made me think about having my interior shoot in a similar setting but a different style.



He is a Peruvian fashion and portrait photographer, with Irish, Spanish and Italian backgrounds.  He attended a Catholic school and wanted to become a priest when he was a child. He then studied Economics. In 1976, he decided to move to London to study photography and abandon his studies of Economics. During apprenticeships at the studios of John Vickers and Paul Nugent he made his first attempts as a photographer. At the time he was working as a waiter and his first work appeared in Vogue in 1983. For most of his work, he was inspired by the British photographer Cecil Beaton. Hi has worked internationally for magazines like Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair etc,. He has also worked for brands like Gucci, Burberry, Versace, Micheal Kors, Lancome etc.. Not only he is a photographer, Testino has also worked as a creative director, guest editor, museum founder, art collaborator and entrepreneur. In 2007, he formed MARIOTESTINO+. The Observer described him as “the world’s most prolific magazine and fashion trade photographer”. He has now become one of the world’s most well-known and celebrated fashion photographers. He has worked with many stars, musicians, supermodels and artists. He has also photographed royalties like Diana and Princess of Wales in 1997. Testino was also the official photographer for portraits of the engagement of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. PRESS_06-e1417802320159-1400x1126.jpgThanks to the fact that he always photographs Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen this has elevated their status to supermodels. GQ awarded him as the Man of the Year Inspiration Award. I looked at his work to be inspired by the studio based work I will have to make. I really like the way he used complementing colours instead of using colours that would stand out from each other he used the yellow background and the model was wearing a yellow coat on top of it. The same he did with the red car at the back and the red heels. He could have swapped by perhaps letting the model wear a red coat and yellow heels, I would think it would stand out more as the colours would have been in contrast but even in this way you can still see details and it stands out.



I looked at Panos Yiapanis, A.P.C, TESSA, Alexander McQueen, Moncler etc To have more inspiration for the outfits.

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I organised a shoot with a model just to test the lights, so I did not look at any inspiration regarding the style etc but I looked at different poses that would suit a male.

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Final 1


For this photos I used a Speedlight and the Quadra kit. I used the Speedlight more as I felt it was much easier but this shoot gave me the chance to experiment using the Quadra Kit and be more confident with it. Also, I normally don’t do any research on how to pose my models but this time I did and it was a good idea to have a sketch of poses as it helped me to direct him well. So for my next shoot, I will look at poses and keep practising so I will become more confident with the equipment and other technicalities.


I then planned my interior shoot, looked for my model and started thinking about props style and location.


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For this shoot, I used the Quadra Kit, unlike the first shoot I was more confident, so I did not face any lighting problems. I just realised after that I had a focusing problem as my images did not look very sharp. During this shoot, we had to be really careful as it was a store and had many delicate objects that could have been hit very easily. Some places were very dark too and the mistake I did most of the times is that whenever my image was looking dark I increased the ISO and this made some of my images look very grainy. I worked well with my model and already planned my poses as I did with the previous shoot and this made everything much easier and saves time too.


My next shoot was on location outdoors, decided to use a different model and I looked for outfits and make up in the style that I wanted that would suit her.


I decided I wanted to shoot in a place that included graffiti so I looked where I could find such places around London and decided to shoot in the ones in Peckham and Stockwell.

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For this shoot, I used the Quadra Kit, unlike the first that was indoors this was outside so I had to be extra careful with the equipment and also had another person to assist me. Shooting outside was much more challenging. Because you can’t just focus on your model but other people and elements around you. In fact, one problem I faced was the weather, it was very cloudy and was hoping it did not start raining but at some point, it started raining slightly and I had to pack everything so the water wouldn’t damage the equipment but luckily it did not rain for long and stopped after some minutes. Unlike the previous shoot where the place was very dark, this open place was very bright and many times the background was overexposed. I worked well with the model and made sure she was fine, not too tired or too cold as the weather wasn’t the best and we travelled a lot around London that day.


I now had to work on my studio-based shots. I started with the coloured background one, I started by looking at different outfits and makeup.


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This shoot was in the Media Studio using the yellow background. I initially wanted to use 4 lights, two softboxes at the front and 2 dishes at the back but because of a technical problem on the BX kit I had to use only 3. I used 2 dishes at the back, flagged them with 2 poliboards and a big octagon softbox as my key light. My back lights were set at F8 and the key light F11, I had to change the power few times as any time the model moved in a different place the lights were changing. I worked well with my model, although we did not have enough time as she had to go somewhere after and when she there I was not done setting up the lights because of the issue I had with one of the lights. Fortunately, I had all the poses ready and was able to direct her and take enough photos in the short time we had.



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This shoot was in the product studio. I used the same setting I used for the previous shoot, with 2 soft boxes at the back and the octagon at the front without using poliboards this time. Thanks to a number of times I have been working in the studio this semester, I have become more confident in fact it did not take me long to set the lights, it could also be because it was on a white background so it was much easier than the coloured one. My model and I planned the poses and outfits in advance and she was very confident and knew what she was doing, probably because she is into fashion. This was also the only shoot which I planned with my model as she wanted to help me in suggesting looks and styles. Everything went well with this last shoot and I’m happy with the final result.


my final 4 images 


For this fashion project we were required to produce a series of imagery centred on fashion, by exploring the styling casting and direction of our model. I had to study in-depth four magazines, and analyse them by looking at how they differ, what are their various stylistic approaches and who’s the target audience. I decided to look at Vogue for the monthly magazine, as I thought it was relevant to the style I wanted to create and find inspiration, I looked at Grazia for the weekly magazine, GQ for men magazine and ID for the alternative magazine, I chose to look at this magazine because of the content I definitely knew it would have inspired me for this fashion assignment. In fact, most of my ideas and inspiration came from I-D magazine. Through this magazine I was able to find which photographers, stylist and collections to look at and I ended up looking deeply into Tim Walkers work and Mario Testino. For the style I started off by looking into the Afropunk and Coachella style, I did a bit of background research as they are both collections but also movements and festivals, I researched into them but what I took from it was the style. The reason why I chose this two themes and combined it is because those are the big trends for Summer/Spring 2017. It was also really interesting to research about 2 photographers in-depth and know about their story. During this assignment we had fashion week where we had the chance to work together with models, make up artist, hair stylists and commercial photography third and second years students on a location shoot in Pentillie Castle. I was initially very excited about this experience, but it did not reach my expectation, it was a productive day and a new experience I definitely did learn something new but I thought we would have been much more engaged in working together, as a team and having lots of work to do but that did not happen as my group ended up splitting up and many times some of us found ourselves doing nothing. However, thanks to this fashion week I was much more confident when I had to shoot my interior photos and we also had many workshops in studio and outdoors and they all helped me to be more confident and understand how it works as when I had my shoots I was alone but knew what I was doing. My first test shoot went well, it was just a shoot where I was testing the lights so did not really plan the shoot I just looked at some poses to direct him and this revealed to be really helpful, in fact for all the following shoots I had a series of poses already prepared and this saved a lot of time and helped me direct the models well. My second shoot was an interior shoot, which I shot in a vintage shop, I relly enjoyed this shoot as we had plenty props we could use and create interesting photos. I then had the outdoor shoot, which was in London, where we shot in different places but had to be careful with the equipment because of the weather and the city is very crowded. My other shoots in the studio went well too and made me realise that I have become much more confident. Overall, I am really happy with the final results, I did try to put effort and make time for all these shoots which I really enjoyed. I initially was very worried that I wouldn’t have been able to work out the equipment myself but I was able to do so even because most of the people I asked to assist me during the shoot were just friends who were not into photography so I had to figure everything out and the same in the studio, For my last shoot I set up the lights and everything by myself, this shows how this assignment has improved my technical knowledge.

Notes from lessons

Reading images

In today’s lesson, we looked at how we are surrounded by visual culture and how to analyse an image in detail

Image analysis allows us to understand how we perceive the world around us. The object of image analysis is to understand the meaning of a work of art/design.

Questions to answer when analysing an image:

  • Who or what do you see?
  •  When was this photograph taken?
  •  What is happening in the photograph?
  •  Where was this photograph taken?
  • Why did the photographer select these particular elements to include in the photograph?
  • What don’t you see?
  • Why did the photographer emphasise certain elements and not others?
  • What’s in focus? Is only one person or element in focus, or are many elements in focus?
  • Why did the photographer take the picture at this moment?
  • What happened before or after this picture was taken?
  • Why did the photographer take the picture from this angle?We also looked at the photographers William Eggleston, Larry Clark, Tom Hunter, Martin Parr, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, Kevin Carter, Steven Meisel.

Introduction to Portraiture

In today’s lesson, we looked at portraiture. How important the portrait was in the 19th Century was and it was a reflection of economic growth driven by the Industrial revolution. We looked at the renowned portrait photographer Felix Nadar. To have your portrait taken at the time meant you were in a high social class. The more affordable form of portrait photography was the Carte de Visite, a small photograph mounted on card 2.5 x 4 inches in size which was distributed among family members and were also used as business cards. In the same century, the practice of photographing a deceased loved one started evolving. This was a way of remembering them.

We looked at the work of Julia Margeret Cameron, Man Ray, Edward Steichen who stated: “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”

I also loved the quote by Yousurf Karsh: “Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer, it is my task to reveal it if I can. The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world”. Which says how can a portrait reveal something about a person. We looked at many other portrait photographers but the last two that stand out to me were Richard Avedon who states: “My photographs don’t go below the surface. I have great faith in surfaces. A good one is full of clues” and Rankin who photographed the queen in a very simple way, different from how photographers shot her in the past years.

Annie Leibovitz also photographed her but in a very different way, showing more her royalty and environment where she is, whereas Rankin just placed the flag at the back which just represents what the queen is standing.

Environment portraiture

An environmental portrait is a portrait, which does not only focus on the subject but the environment also has to say something about the subject so the picture could be taken at the person’s home or workplace. It has to show subject’s life and surroundings.

Photographers we looked at Yousuf Karsh, Georgia O’keaffe, Dennis Stock.

“The act of portraying, depicting, symbolising or presenting the likeness of something. Language, the visual arts… and media such as photography, television and film, are systems of representation that function to depict and symbolise aspects of the real world.

Representation is distinct from simulation, in that a representation declares itself to be representing some aspect of the real, whereas a simulation has no referent in the real”

Sturken & Cartwright, 2001

We also looked at Robert Frank, Diane Arbus’ work and Mary Ellen-Mark. These photographers took many environmental portraits between the years 1950’s and 70’s documenting different personalities in America. editorial-street documentary shows the pro and cons of Vietnam war.

We also looked at the environmental portrait in: – music photography Anton Corbijn. -Fashion editorials Anthony Kurtz.

(Photo stories: Charlie Clift, Seamus Ryan, Jon Enoch etc)


The language of advertising

In this lesson we looked at

  • Capitalism: which is based on an ideology of free trade, open markets and individuality.
  • Commodity culture: which are goods marketed to consumers in a commodity culture
  • Consumer society: which emergerd in the late 19th century
  • Advertising:  One of the primary ways in which the exchange of goods is promoted in commodity culture/consumer society

“The essence of advertising photography is to turn something mundane into an exciting and arresting image. The advertising photographer is selling dreams and aspirations. Commercial photography of this nature means painstakingly creating an elaborate yet intimate image that invites the viewer to almost imagine a story rather than just see the objects in the shot”

This quote talks about how advertising photography takes pictures of products in a way which would attract the audience to buy this products, they elaborate images to make them look perfect.

Adverstising has a very big influence on how we see the world today and everything made in this field has to look perfectly good for a reason and the reason is to sell and make money.

We also examinded The hierarchy of needs- basic needs, safety needs, belongingness, love needs, esteem needs, self actualisation


Image result for The hierarchy of needs-

Advertising uses a lot of ways to attract viewrs attantion. These are many of themes they use: They catch the audience attention by visually staging products to appeal, Brand familiarity/ loyalty, Positive association/ connotation, The use of shared culture values, Humour, Shock Tactics, Visual references to art/history, Metaphor, Metonym, Stereotypes, Celebrity endorsement, Romance, Sex, they address the consumer, they use difference and individuality, which are unique but also seen a lot of times. They want the audience to envy and desire a certain product. They used interesting and emotional narrative.

You will noticed that all these characteristics I’ve mention come to six important aims:

  • To attract attention
  • To spark intrest
  • To explain ideas
  • To trigger Emotion
  • To create desire
  • To initiate action

Semiotics: A sign must have both a signifier and a signified. A sign is a recognizable combination of a signifier with a particular signified.

Representation in advertising + the media

In this lesson we discussed about

  • how people are represented in the media,
  • how it rappresents gender
  • it portrays  women and men in different ways, it makes women inferior to men.
  • The extreme use of photoshop on women, to slim them down way too much.
  • Women’s bodies are represented in fe*shized body parts
  • Glamour is always central theme
  • a woman interprets these advertising photos in a different way from how a man would interpret it.

The evolution of fashion photography

In this lesson we considered how fashion has changed, initially and mostly now fashion is about the clothing and selling it. We looked at 6 key areas in the fashion industry which are:

  • Culture
  • Class
  • Communication
  • The body+ identity
  • Sex
  • Aesthetics+ art

Photographers : Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, David Bailey, Edward Steinchen, Horst P Horst, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdi, Terry Richards etc.

Fashion photography started in France, influenced came from royalty and aristocracy and moved to the States during war time and moved back to London in the 60’s. Swinging london of the 60’s, the Trio photographers: David Bailey, Duffy and Donovan (fashion, twiggy, mini skirts}. Now the fashion capitals are Paris, Milan, New York and London. Coco Chanel 1883-1971 one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. This industry isn’t diverse as it has a majority of european roots many models are white and there’s a minority of models of color and other backgrounds like Asians.

Theorising fashion photography (Part 2)

In this lesson we talked about Body and identity, sex aesthetics and art.

Holly McGlyn’s work.

  • Body techniques: they are the product of specific discourses interacting on different levels of power and knowledge and in different realms, such as social, political, aesthetic and psychological forms of knowledge
  • Body language.


We looked at how do you pose your model, fashion gender, women models are the majority. Femininity and masculinity, for women create certain looks with their bodies and it authomatially becaomes an object for a male gaze whereas man body communicate power and authority

Photographers: Helman Newton and Guy bordin portrayed women as objects and that’s from a male point of view on the other side Emma Summerton portrayed women in a different way, I think with more respect.



  • On Monday 24th we had a one-day colour workshop, we were divided into groups of four and we had to work in different studios and look for our own models. My group and I had the red coloured paper to work with and were able to find 2 girls from the fashion department to pose for us.


It wasn’t as easy as it looks to get a nice and even background we had to use about 6 lights. 1 problem we faced and that we had 2 honeycombs at the back and they were focusing lighting but we had to diffuse the lights by using umbrellas. We used 2 BX Kit, soft boxes and poly boards.



This workshop helped me understand:

  1. To be more confident in using light meters and the rest of the equipment as the more we do studio based workshops the more I understand, technicalities and other things in the studio.
  2. Understand what needed to be changed in other to adjust any issues with the lighting.
  3. Team-work
  4. Work to deadline
  5. Also, after this workshop I personally think is much easier to shoot on a white or black background than coloured.
  • On Monday 13th March we all went outside to shoot using the Quadra Ranger Kit.

We had to photograph Sky: 






This workshop helped me understand:

  1. how to use the Quadra kit
  2. Be more confident in using light meters and the rest of the equipment
  3. Understand what needed to be changed (Shutter Speed, aperture, iso)
  4. Shoot outdoor with flashlight
  5. team-work


  • 28/02/2017

We had a whole day to plan 2 shoots, the first one using high and low lighting. We were all assigned roles and had to plan the whole morning.

beard badger-082-Editbeard shoot-058-Edit

This workshop helped me:

  1. Be a little bit more confident in studio
  2. Be more confident in using light meters and the rest of the equipment
  3. Understand what needed to be changed (Shutter Speed, aperture, iso)
  4. Work out of my comfort Zone, as I was appointed as the lighting person and I’m not very good in setting lights and understanding what needs to be changed if it doesn’t work.
  5. Be organised, and work to deadline.
  6. Team-work, although I felt like as soon as we were given roles everyone was doing their own work, without noticing that perhaps other ones were struggling and could have helped even if it wasn’t their roles.
  7. Work with a model, making him/her feel comfortable.