Hi, my name is Ellie, from John Cleveland College, and I have spent a week with Christina for my work experience as I am keen to continue with photography in the future and to develop my skills further.
Initially, Christina introduced lighting, including the use of natural light and reflectors, to Cerys and I and how to effectively use it to produce a successful portrait. Cerys and I spent time perfecting our portraits of each other by experimenting with different positioning, for example facing towards and away from the light. In addition, Christina educated me on the different settings and how to use my camera, including adjusting the aperture to decrease or increase the depth of field and also the ISO and when it is best to use a high or low ISO, which was extremely useful as I can now produce much better quality photographs- it has opened me up to a new world of photography I didn't know existed. I felt this helped me hugely to improve my current skills and I will also be able to take this further with me as I improve with photography throughout my life.
In addition, for the majority of photos we had taken, that we were particularly fond of, we got to process and perfect them further. We used programmes such as photoshop, lightroom and colour efex. I really enjoyed doing this as it helped me to see which effects looked best for different types of images and also to experiment with lots of different ideas I had. Also, I learnt the effect of increasing and decreasing parts of the photographs I had taken by adjusting the exposure, clarity and vibrance, saturation and occasionally the contrast; this helped me to understand the best ways to edit different kinds of photos. Overall, my favourite aspect of this was having the ability to be creative with my favourite images.
Due to having a project at school based on Cindy Sherman, Cerys and I took photographs which we could use for this. We researched the style of images Sherman had taken, the untitled film stills series, and attempted to recreate something based on this with the skills Christina had previously taught us. Using the techniques Christina taught us on editing programmes, I added film grain and black and white filters in order to create a Cindy Sherman styled image. I particularly enjoyed doing this as, whilst being away from school and doing something relatively new, I still got to base my week of work experience on my school work and can continue working with my projects from Christina’s studio when I am back at school.
Throughout the week, I was fortunate enough to experience the other parts of being a photographer, as well as taking photographs, by sitting in meetings Christina had with customers such as: a meeting at her studio discussing a young child being photographed in the future and visiting a school to discuss the possibility of doing their school portraits for staff and children. I liked doing this as it gave me a taster of what would be to come if I did continue with my aspiration to be a photographer and gave me more of an understanding of the way running a business works.
My favourite part of the entire week was by far photographing the LOROS colour fun mile in Hinckley town centre. This gave me a real experience of being a photographer and made me realise how enjoyable photography really is. In particular, I loved the atmosphere and how excited people were to be photographed giving me more inspiration to be a photographer. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great however this certainly didn't hinder the excitement and the incredible atmosphere. I, personally, loved this event as it was in aid of LOROS, a charity which has once cared for two close relatives of mine in their last few days during their brave fight with cancer.
On our last day with Christina, we decided to complete the week with a photoshoot using studio lighting where we experimented with different shots and got to edit our favourite images as we wished. I liked doing this as I felt I could use all of my skills I've learnt throughout the week to complete a final product that I can look back on and use and remember how great this week has been.
Overall, my week with Christina has been so so amazing and has given me so much more experience which I can carry with me in the future- I am so grateful of Christina helping Cerys and I this week and allowing us to do our work experience at her studio. I loved every second.