My name is Melissa Kay, and I’m currently studying Level 3 photography at college. I started getting into photography about three years ago, as it started off as a hobby. I would go out around my neighbourhood and take photographs of flowers, trees, such as going into the woods and taking some beautiful landscape pictures only using my phone, which luckily has a pretty good camera to it. I then started to progress, as I started using my mums camera and I was using short depth of field in a lot of my images, such as finding a beautiful and colourful flower outside and having tat completely crisp and in focus and having the background completely blurred out. I then started to love the idea of nature photography, but focusing more on flowers as I found it really interesting and I felt comfortable taking the images as I knew what I was doing. I then came to the end of year eleven, and I originally wanted to go off and do A-levels, not thinking what I wanted to study but in the fact that all my friends were going to do that, so I thought that’s what I would have to do. However, I then came to the realisation that A-levels wouldn’t be for me, so I turned to photography, as it’s something I’ve always loved and had an interest in for years, so I thought I would enrol into Level 3 Photography and do the Extended Diploma. Now looking back, I think that choosing this course was the best thing for me. I will now go onto the second year of my course and continue studying photography. I think that once my course has ended I would like to get into an intern-ship in London and hopefully progress into nature photography, that could be either freelance or working for a published magazine.
For my FMP (final major project) I chose to go in the direction of nature photography. I thought I would take the idea of nature photography and the idea of the pressures of society and create a campaign called the ‘Be Yourself’ campaign, in which I would take pictures of six of the same flowers in different colours, and photograph them up close with a macro lens. The flowers would represent people/society in that we all try to fit in and be the same as everyone else, as us individuals don’t recognise the true beauty that we show. Taking my images up close to the flowers, shows how we may try to look the same to fit in, but when we look up close, we are all different and beautiful in our own way. For example, when you compare a rose to a daisy, the rose would be seen as more beautiful and would outshine the daisy. However, if you look at them separately the daisy is also beautiful and unique in its own way, and shouldn’t be compared to the rose, just like we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, as we can’t all look the same or be as ‘perfect’ as people seen in magazines, as it isn’t a true perception of what people really look like, which then pressures people into looking a certain way. So I’m trying to show that all we need to do is be yourself and stop comparing ourselves to someone we think is more beautiful or smarter than us. As we are all beautiful in our own unique way.
In this shoot the things I think that went really well is the quality of my images, as they came out crisp and clear, which is exactly what I wanted. I also think that the lighting of the soft box was at the right setting, as it wasn’t too bright or too dark. However, the things that didn’t go so well, is after I took all my images, as I had some technical difficulty, in that none of my images were showing up on my camera or computer. However, I had help from IT, and they managed to recover all my images, so I was able to keep and edit them all, which saved me a lot of trouble of having to redo the shoot, as I really loved the images I had taken.
My original idea has differed quite a bit to what it has become. As originally I was going to take all my final images outside, I would have had a flower in the front in focus and have maybe the woods in the background blurred out, as I thought having a natural background would look pretty, which it would have done. However, I changed my mind once I researched Robert Mapplethorpe, as he had done a flower series, which he shot in the studio with a black background. I really loved his images, as they were so simple but so beautiful, they looked really unique and the whole focus was on the one flower. So when looking at his images and researching more into it, I wanted to achieve something similar in my photographs. Which lead me to wanting to take my photographs in the studio, as the main focus was on the one flower, however, if my images were taken outside, the focus may have been diverted slightly as the background would have been a lot more busy outside. Also taking my images in the studio, helped me develop my idea of my ‘Be Yourself’ campaign.
Here is the contact sheet containing all my images:
Here are my final eight images:
I have chosen these eight images as my final, as I think they are the ones that have come out the best in terms of composition. As they are all pretty central and neat. Within each one of these I have edited them on Photoshop. I first started off my using the spot healing brush to get rid of any blemishes on the flower, as there was a lot of pollen on the flowers, especially the dark pink one, I also used the spot healing brush to get rid of any dirt marks, which showed up on the yellow flower and also on the dark pink flower. I then used the magnetic lasso tool, and highlighted the flowers, I then brightened the colour of them, and did the same with the green stem that shows in four of the images. I also then went on to using the brush tool, as I wanted the background to be pure black, so I selected the background with the magnetic lasso tool and painted it black. Although I used a black backdrop, it didn’t come out pure black in my images because of the soft box lighting reflecting off of it. I didn’t want to make any drastic changes to the image, as I wanted to make them look as natural as possible to support the idea behind my images.
Here is my final image that I will showcase:
I have chosen this as the image I will showcase, as I think it is the best, again in terms of composition and lighting. I also really like the way I have edited this image, as I have blemish fixed the pollen that was showing, as blacked out the centre of the flower, which was also speckled with pollen. The flower is central and straight, there isn’t any camera blur which makes it look crisp and clear. The colour really stands out, which brings more focus in on the flower, so will hopefully catch the eyes of some viewers. I really like the individuality of the flower as well, as you can see each petal clearly, and the centre of the flower is also sharp so you can see the individual parts. The stem is also very straight at the bottom which makes the image look neat. The background is also the perfect black, which is what I wanted to achieve in this shoot, even though I had to edit it slightly to get my outcome, it still meets the standards that I wanted. All in all I am very pleased with the outcomes of my images, and I feel confident in the choices I have made between picking my final images and my individual final image.
Here is a link to my Web Portfolio: