As the main aspect of this unit, we were required to take part in a ten days of work experience. This could be anything in the creative industry, from assisting a photographer to doing your own freelance work for other business’s. After looking at my options I decided that doing freelance work was the best option for me as it reflects the kind of work that I want to do in the future, and it also gave me the oppurtunity to explore many different avenues of photography and different environment to work in.
I worked freelance for five different companies over the placement period, each place came with its own challenged and assignments. The first job I did was actually working alongside a photographer for Volksworld Magazine. I assisted on a feature of a Volkswagen Camper Van at a country home in Leicestershire. My work for the magazine was spread over two days as I spent a day on set and another whole day editing and selecting my images. I found this shoot really interesting as it was nothing like the shoots I normally do, and I have never photographed a motor-vehicle before. I was hired by the magazine itself to help the photographer that was booked, however the photographer was really welcoming and friendly and allowed me to take my own images as well as helping him with lighting and equipment. This shoot was most helpful it recapping me on how to use and set up portable lighting kits. Despite only being there to assist the already booked photographer, the magazine asked to see some of my own images, and after the editing and selection process, I sent some of my images over to them. When the responded they were really impressed with my work and actually want to use one of my images in the Volksworld Camper and Bus Magazine. I found this first aspect of my work experience to be extremely helpful in terms of learning new skills and just watching how professionals work and how they approach and solve challenges that arise on set. It was also incredibly rewarding to know that the magazine liked my own images and will be using one in the feature.
My work printed in the pages of the latest issue of Volksworld Camper and Bus Magazine. It may not be a big deal to most, however this is a very exciting time as my work has never been used in any kind of publication nor have I had any recognition for it. It feels so rewarding to be in the magazine as I was just there to assist the photographer that was booked. It honestly feels great to have someone like my work and not only that but use it for their magazine as I have never felt overly confident in my own skill.
In order to find work I approached small business’ and companies and simply offered them photography work to use on their own websites and social media and to use in my portfolio, I found it relatively easy to find enough work over the period of time as I found every business I approached accepted my offer. Through doing this I spent a day in an opticians, ‘Respectacle’ shooting, each shoot I did I would take over 500 images, therefore it would take me a whole separate day to go through the editing and selection process. I spent day three and four of my work experience working for ‘Respectacle’, this is a small opticians and working in this environment came with many challenges that I am not used to facing. Lighting was the main problem to over come as their was daylight flooding through the windowed shop front, yet many corners of the shop were dark and others lit with florescent lighting to show of the glasses on display, this was as well as the tungsten lights on the ceiling of the room. It was hard to find the right light balance throughout the shop due to these many aspects. There is also a lot of reflective surfaces in the opticians due to the glasses and the glass shelves and cabinets in which they are displayed. Working with this was a challenge that I am not used to, but also something that I learned to work with and that helped me learn how to over come problems whilst shooting in an artificially lit environment. Although this shoot was challenging I enjoyed doing it and overcoming the problems, It was also helpful shooting on my own with no direction as I learned more about my personal style of shooting and how I handle challenges myself.
The same way I booked work with the opticians, I approached a beauty salon and proposed the same offer. This was the next segment of my work experience, again I spent two days working for this business, a day to shoot and a day to edit and select images. Working in the environment posed similar lighting issues as the opticians with multiple light sources lighting the rooms. The lights in the salon were mainly very bight and white, but parts of the large main room were day lit mixed with tungsten light. The clients in the salon were also posed a few issues as i didn’t have complete free range of the beauty facility, many of them, understandably, didn’t want to be photographed, and rooms like the massage rooms were completely out of bounds. However the owner of the salon did give me more direction whilst working there, unlike the opticians, she knew what she wanted in the images and gave me specific tasks and objects, products and rooms to shoot. She also prepared all of the employees so this eliminated any problems with them not wanting to be photographed. I really enjoyed my time at ‘Naomi’s Nails and Beauty’, it gave me the opportunity to shoot in an environment that normally i would not, and I had the chance to do some product photography, which again, is not something I would normally do. I felt like I learnt a lot in the process and it was interesting to get a mix of different style images from the same place.
The fourth place I went to for work placement was ‘Flow’ a Pilates company, the owner of this company actually approach me after seeing my work and offered me work experience at her business. She simply requested images of her classes for her social media pages and website, in the same way I worked for the other companies, I spent a day working with the client in her business environment and then a day going through, editing and selecting my images from the previous day. This aspect of my placement I found challenging as I am used to taking a creative approach to the images that I take, but for this assignment this wasn’t possible. I have never done any kind of sport photography before, and I actually found it difficult to take simple pictures of the class participants and show of the pilates classes in a clear and simple way without trying to make my shots too creative. Despite this, the conditions to photograph in were not an issue at all, I had plenty of room to move around the studio without disturbing this classes to much and the lighting conditions were simple day light thought the windows so it was a very easy atmosphere to shoot in. Again the instructor/owner had also pre warned her class attendees so there were no issues with people not wanting to be photographed. Overall this shoot was interesting as again it was something that I had never done before and a new avenue of photography to explore.
My last few days on placement for this unit I spent in an independent coffee shop that again wanted images for their social media pages and website. ‘Blend’ asked for images of their food and drinks, and just general photographs of the cafe. This was by far the most challenging of all the companies that I worked for. This was the hardest place to photograph due to the constant changing of customers and those of which that were reluctant to be photographed. It was also difficult as the staff were busy so although they were making food and drinks that were presented beautifully to be photographed, they were in a rush and had to be taken to the customer immediately ready to make the next thing on the order. Due to these difficulties, I actually spent around 4 or 5 days in ‘Blend’ in order to capture the staff at different times and to find quieter times where the staff had a chance to make food purely to be photographed. It was an enjoyable experience and I liked the challenge but it was definitely the most difficult of all the places I photographed. I feel like I learnt the most from the this experience though, as I learnt to deal with frustrations when you can’t get the shot that you want, and it also improved my patience as I had to go back day after day to get the images that I needed, as well as going in early in the morning before the coffee shop actually opened to get clear shots of the food without being in the way of the busy staff.
Overall I think that I have learnt a lot of the my placement period. I am happy with my decision to do freelance work, although it came with a lot of challenges, I think that I have learned so much from the different companies that I have worked for and I have done so many things that I have never done before. I liked that it took me out of my comfort zone and thatI go the chance to work in way that I have not yet been able to. I have found the whole experience very rewarding, especially getting good feedback from the clients that I have worked for. I have learned to work in many different way and overcome problems that I have been faced with. I also found it very helpful approaching different companies as putting myself out there is something that I have also lacked confidence and been nervous about, so overcoming that has also really helped me. Overall I think that it has been an extremely rewarding experience, and also a great way to expand my portfolio.
Public Liability Insurance Numbers-
Respectacle Company- 080X5785609/N71
Naomi Nails and Beauty- TULCSX00408016
Flow Pilates- FP44335012
Blend Coffee Shop- 38/RX/13244060/08
Imogen Watt- ANART/17/001