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My Work Experience Week by Hester Sharpe


A week in the life of a Photographers assistant, is not all about saying cheese!

I’m Hester Sharpe, currently at JCC but took a week out of normal school life on work experience to be a photographer’s assistant and learn the bits behind the camera, photograph and the process to get to the end result.

During my week of work experience in photography I have learnt that there is a lot more than just taking the pictures and printing them. The steps in between are the key to getting the perfect photo. For example the photos have to be cropped, tweaked, edited, colour corrected. That is just a taste I have had in the processing of the photos and there is a lot more than just those things. Those processes are the most time consuming part of the photograph and a tremendous amount of detail is put in to the picture but all the hours spent are paid off with the end result; a perfect picture.


It isn’t just how the picture looks; presentation is a key to photography too. Selecting the best way to present the images is key, as the aim is to give the customer the best experience, whether this be a DVD on which is a slideshow accompanied by music, or a small keepsake album.

I also got to experience what it would be like working with clients during my week, particularly working with children. I was invited to go to Cadeby Stepping Stones’ playschool with Christina and Andy. Here I experienced setting up the equipment for the photos to take place. I even got to take pictures of the children myself while they were playing and posing! This taught me how to use the camera and made me realise that I would have to capture moments quickly before the children moved. I certainly got used to taking pictures quickly!

However, that wasn’t it for that day; I had more photographs to take later in the afternoon when my sister came over to have a photo ‘shoot’. We got home from the playschool, grabbed a bite to eat (you don’t have long to eat when you have a schedule to follow!), and Christina left me to set up the studio like it was at the playschool all on my own. I did quite well, with only a little help from Andy. It’s essential to be a quick learner in the world of photography, having to learn about the camera and having to grasp the complex photo editing packages. Once I had finished shooting my sister, it wasn’t long before the next client came round for her photo session, my friend Emma. We took a few photos in the studio with the white back drop but earlier in the day we had found some great blue doors that Andy showed us when we went to look at the turf he had laid the previous day, so Christina packed her equipment in the car and we took a trip over to the blue doors! Another thing I have learnt is that it is near impossible to travel light when you’re a photographer, first of all the camera is quite heavy but all the different extras you need like reflectors and flashes, if its gloomy light, and tripods all pack into a small suitcase which has to be carried round. We got to the doors which were in an industrial estate, people must have thought we were quite dodgy taking pictures against some worn blue doors but they were perfect for Christina, she loved them. I enjoyed taking pictures out and about in the environment and we made great use of the things around us. The doors would look rough to anyone else but to a photographer they are the perfect background for a natural photo.

The photographing was fun, but I spent the whole of the next day processing the images and a whole day wasn’t enough for me. It took me a whole day to process a small number of images compared to school photos or a wedding album, then to process all of a schools images it takes a week if not more of intense work. Christina has showed me that photography isn’t all about relaxing around in your own home or studio, its about keeping to deadlines and on top of your photos and placing orders so the images arrive in time for clients and she has showed me about the business side of the photography too as we went to meet her local framer in Hinckley and her printing lab in Coventry.

I have certainly experienced a working week and I have thoroughly enjoyed my week shadowing Christina and also working on my own taking and processing images. I have learnt a lot about photography and I think this week has benefitted me a lot. Being a photographer can also benefit your family as you are quite flexible as to when you want to work but, when you do work, it is very long hours. I have enjoyed this week an awful lot and I think it is a career path I would consider. Through my experience I have learnt that a lot of work is involved in photography. It’s not all glitz and glamour!

Comments

Hester, it was a pleasure working with you and I am really glad you contacted me about doing your work experience with us. I never would have thought I had that much to offer.

You did so well throughout your week and I think you did a great job on your blog entry. I am very impressed with all that you have learned and subsequently written about. Your photographs are of a very high quality regardless of your level of experience and I am very proud to have them displayed on my blog.

So thank you so much for everything, your help, this experience and my goodie bag which is nearly all eaten now.

Keep in touch.

Sincerely,
Christina
Unknown said…
Knowing that Hester was pursuing her work experience in the field of photography, we knew that she would give it her all.

The photos and commentary are very impressive and it sounds as if this was a great experience for both Hester and for Christina.

When Hester travels to the USA we will look forward to some more skilled camera work.
Great job Hester!
Alison and Khaled
eswall said…
From Granny and Granfy.
It was a great pleasure reading your blog Hester.We had no idea what your your work experience week would entail. However,you seem to have packed in a great deal and learnded a tremendous amount under Christina's guidance.It was a wonderful experience and we are sure it will benefit you in so many ways. Well done Hester.We look forward to posing for you soon!!

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