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.