Unit 11: Job Reviews

Portable Studio Photographer

In the interest of providing an unusual service that is unavailable elsewhere, I am contemplating the concept of a horse box conversion into a studio. Large horseboxes can be available cheaply second hand, including a small living space for additional comfort of clients, offering a place to offer consultations and meetings to discuss available options, both pre-shoot and post shoot. Kitchen and toilet facilities are also often built into these boxes, creating a convenient location to take quick breaks from shooting if required, both for photographer and client.

Not only is this structure convenient for those unable to access a studio, but also allows a studio environment potentially to offer at events, including fairgrounds, livestock shows or sporting events, for example. These locations offer high amounts of footfall, both in terms of people (including parents and children) and animals (especially dogs at livestock shows) which may be seeking family based photographs or beloved pet portraits. This can eliminate the initial struggles of achieving clients, as well as allowing your name to circulate among event organizers and producers whom may lead you to future business.

Studio equipment such as backgrounds will be required, including spares for regular replacement due to damage or marks caused by both animals and children. Studio lighting such as soft boxes will be needed, alongside an electric generator to produce a source of electricity, powering lights or further electrics required. Alternative equipment that may be required include props, such as pet toys and beds, particularly when focusing business at events whereby pet owners may have nothing significant to hand. Assorted treats may also be helpful in order to manipulate the behavior of models accordingly.

Costs that will need to be factored into shoot rates include fuel and travel costs, event pitch costs and replacement or replenishment of equipment, including damage to lights or simple replacements of bulbs and backgrounds, or tatty props. Insurance for vehicle, equipment and clients will also need to be considered. Image production and a reasonable wage for time spent editing are also to be considered when forming a cost. While clients will happily pay large expenses for quality portraits of their pets, focusing business at event locations may appeal further to people looking for a budget photo as a souvenir from their outing.

Hired as a Studio Photographer

Studios are a commonality in most urban spaces, such as town or city centres, and offer generic shoots such as family portraits most commonly. These make ideal gifts, particularly for parents or family members, and so holidays such as Christmas are typically going to attract more attention than your general day-to-day work.

While this may be a steady wage for you as the photographer, a studio may offer little stability if the workload is not covering the expense the studio needs to cover. It is important to find a studio that receives a good amount of work and ideally some positive publicity or advertising campaign.

When hired as a studio photographer, the company or owner of the studio will typically maintain the studio, including replacement equipment and any replenishments or repairs to things such as lights etc. However, a photographer may be required to cover their own insurance costs.

Photography Assistant

Being a photography assistant is a possibility across the wide range of photographic fields, but is particularly common in event or wedding photography, or studios. Often these roles are filled by apprentices, however the higher class photographers will often seek more experienced help.

The wage for positions such as this can vary – while an apprentice wage is below the minimum rate, it can allow for progression with your photographer or the company, a privately employed professional in the role of assistant may receive a fair wage that has little opportunity to progress. This role will always offer a lower pay than that of the photographer you work with, and may not involve photography so much as handling equipment, carrying and arranging models.

Similar to retail work, the position of assistant consists of your presence at work and no more, with no insurance or personal equipment likely to be required (provided by yourself).


Self: Final Shoot Plan & Outcomes

For my final series, I will be producing outcomes based on the positivity of social media, and my personal use of it recreationally, as well as tying in a shoot that refers to my personal interest to pursue pet portrait photography as a future career. This incorporates my earlier experimental shoot featuring pet portraiture, based on dogs. I will be developing my abilities and skills in this field of photography, using an alternative model and props.

The shoot will take place in a studio environment, allowing me to control my lighting as well as contain my model in a confined space. This will also allow for non-distracting backgrounds which give my outcomes a stronger impact, drawing tones from my model that may otherwise go unnoticed with a detailed environment to detract from the dog.

I will require my D7100 for this shoot, as well as my macro and 18-55mm lenses. My tripod will also be present, in case it is required. Studio equipment required includes a black background and two soft-boxes, and further props include a chair, costumes and toys. Dog treats may also be required to manipulate the behaviour of my subject.

Abby Malone is my biggest inspiration for this shoot, with her variety of pet portraits incorporating dogs in a range of locations. I endeavour to replicate her ability to portray personality within her photographs.



This shoot portrayed my model in a variety of costumes with assorted props, all shot in the same studio-based environment. Matched with the unpredictability of the dog, this scenario created a wide variety of results with varied successes.

My aspirations to pursue a pet portrait photography career is very clearly attended to in this shoot, linking to my personal goals within the photography field. However, with reference to my previous themes and research represented within my Self project, the concept of a dog sustains my ongoing link to social media and personal recreation.

Using Photoshop, I was able to reduce imperfections in my backdrop as well as further enhance my models’ colouring and details, including sharpness within the eyes and fur texture. These effects were achieved using tools such as burn, dodge, clone and sharpen.

More intermediate effects, such as manipulating the reflection within the dogs’ eyes to appear natural, were also applied using the marquee tool (to mask a circular shape) and then cloning the existing reflection in order to create rounded shapes. The edges were feathered (Select, Modify, Feather) to reduce the starkness of the false reflections’ edge.

Many of my images are rich in tonal differences, both in colour and greyscale variations, due to the costumes and rich coat contrasts. The brown tones in Max’s coat are more obvious in the colour outcomes, however, whereas the black and white images tend to be more tonal around defining areas, such as the muzzle and eyes.

Costumes with vibrant colours, such as the red and green antlers, are more effective as overall photographs when presented in colour, whereas more subtle tonal differences can become empowered through the use of the greyscale effect.

I feel this shoot was clearly inspired by Abby Malone, and techniques of hers were subtly incorporated into my own work, the clearest of which being her monotone black backdrop. However, my pieces including powerful interludes of colour which was a personal choice selected apart from Malone’s work.

Overall I find this shoot to have been successful, as my outcomes are well executed with clear deference to my previous experiments and concepts, with a relation to myself both aspiration based and with themes geared towards what I enjoy doing recreationally.

Final Collection


Self: Project Evaluation

For this project I was required to produce a series of four outcomes with relation to the theme of ‘Self’. My concept was to portray aspects of my social media, as inspired by Brendon Burton’s photographic diary, which held relevance to my thoughts, feelings or parts of my personality. This created a strong tie to myself, since the shoot directly correlated with my online presence.

I decided to tie this link with my positive recreational use of social media, incorporating the frequent stream of dog based images shared on my feed. This was particularly interesting to me as one of my aspirations within my career in photography is to become a pet portrait photographer, so whilst this shoot tied well to my previous concepts explored in the project, it also tied in an aspect I would like to have in my future.


Throughout the project I explored a variety of techniques, including use of moving and still props and alternate models, such as dogs, of which I had not photographed before. These proved to be successful experiments, with strong outcomes being achieved across my selection of techniques.

My most powerful experiment was that using flour, in which instance I was able to carefully capture the frozen motion of my subject, showing the substance both in a mist effect as well as depicted as the powder that it is. These effects were later strengthened using Photoshop, enhancing their sharpness and brightness.

Laura Williams

Using my test shoots, I experimented using the studio as well as natural environments to portray unique effects. While the studio offered stronger control over my lighting, using soft-boxes and synced flash, my outdoor experiments resulted in equally strong outcomes.

However, I later opted into capturing my final series in studio based environment. This was because it was important that I reduce the variables in my scenario, as my control over my subject was significantly lessened. Having soft-boxes synced to my camera allowed me to capture sharp images quickly, as required when the dog modelling for me was posed correctly.

Kyle Thompson

I feel that my final series is strong as a whole, portraying a varied selection of poses, costumes and lighting that allows the collection to stand together without appearing monotonous or dull. This is reinforced by the incorporation of a greyscale image, which evidences the tonal differences in each image in a way that may not be so closely conceived when displayed in colour.

Abby Malone

Alternate Experiments of Final Outcomes

If I were to re-shoot, I would like to incorporate trick shots, such as rolling or begging, in order to replace one of my lying images. Furthermore, I would incorporate more of my previously used techniques, such as the flour or mirrors, to create additional impact and relevance to my previous work.


Final Outcomes

In conclusion, I consider this series to be a success as I have created four well executed pet portraits, which relates to my personal aspirations to become a pet portrait photographer, but also with the link to my initial themes of social media whereby I created links to dogs and animal themed images, which I frequently share during my time spent using social media websites. My outcomes also show clear relation to my inspiration of Abby Malone, and her studio based pet portrait business, and also has an underlying link to Brendon Burton, where I initially created the link of a diary and social media as a concept to follow within this project.

Self: Shoot 6 Plan & Outcomes

In order to meet my project proposal, and therefore my brief, I will be producing an outcome that portrays a variety of my successful experiments. In order to do this successfully, I will be using the technique of multiple flash exposure, replicating myself and any alternative props or models in one image multiple times.


My biggest inspiration remains to be Brendon Burton, with his concept of a photographic diary, however my most successful experimental shoots have been those incorporating flour, mirrors and dogs. The photographers who have inspired me for each of these shoots are Kyle Thompson, Laura Williams and Abby Malone.

My camera of choice for this shoot will be my Nikon D7100, accompanied by my 18-55mm lens. A tripod will be used to stabilise the camera, maintaining a level and still background when creating the outcomes. Further props include flour and a mirror, as well as an alternate model (dog). Editing software, including Photoshop, will be required during the post production process.

I will be shooting in a studio environment on a black background, using soft boxes as my light source. In order to maintain control over my lighting as required in multiple flash exposure photography, the lights will be flashed manually.

For this shoot I will require assistants, including one of my peers who can manually flash the lights and press the shutter release on my camera, and the owner of my secondary model (dog) to avoid incorporating him into parts of the shoot that he is not required for, as well as catering to his needs (water, short breaks/walks etc.).



This shoot was my second attempt at multiple flash exposure, and a first using multiple props and models. This proved difficult, as in the dark it was difficult to predict the composition of the final outcome.


My concept of combining these techniques was to be an effective representation of my concept, portraying themes from social media that suggested confusion and disarray, as well as the comfort of an animal. However, the execution of these photographs was poor, as none of my concepts were clearly represented.


I went on to use Photoshop in the post-production process to crop my outcomes, since my backdrop had not been adequately sized for the space consuming shoot, as well as creating a stronger contrast in an attempt to draw out the details within the photographs.


Due to the darkness in the studio, each outcome varied completely, with little structure to their composure. However, one commonality of all of my three outcomes was that the dog is not definable, and has little impact on my outcomes. However, the mirror frame proved to be a strong aspect to my images, and is clear and sharp in each photograph.


My outcomes were typically more powerful in colour, however the tonal differences in the black and white outcome which I produced in Photoshop allows my models to blend into their areas of the photograph, creating a more harmonious piece. Due to this, the above outcome is my most successful outcome from this shoot.


I would not consider this to be a successful shoot, as my technique of multiple flash exposure photography was not well executed to clearly portray my experiments. However, the messy outcomes have a strong relevance to my confused concept of mental health, which allows the pieces to play towards my theme when appropriately conceived.