Assignment 1: Reflection and Self Assessment

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills:

Before going to location I made sure to take only the lenses I think I will be using because I did not want to waste time searching and trying other lenses on location.  The 50mm f/1.4 lens was my top choice because I wanted the shallow depth of field that non of my other lenses offer.  I put the camera on aperture priority f/2.8 for a reasonable depth of field and I think that worked well isolating my subject from the background.

I was planning to photograph the workers at work doing their job but because of the circumstances I faced as I explained in my previous post Assignment 1: Initial Plan went awry I decided to go with the self-confident workers head and shoulders portraits.  I made sure to leave a space between the subject and myself to avoid any distortion.  I have also done some researches on taking portraits and the 50mm f/1.4 lens.

When I took the portraits, I thought of adding the High Dynamic Range (HDR) effect later in the post process to capture the details of the sweat and make the portraits come alive.  However, I made sure not to over do it as it will shout overcooked.  I also desaturated the colors in Photoshop to give more depth to the photo.  I lean towards black and white but in this series I liked the contrast between the red and blue and the colours add to the portrait but the intensity of it can distract from the subject’s face so I decided to desaturate the colours and aim for a mute finish.

Although the rule of composition is not to put the subject in the middle of the frame; I feel it works better here as the subjects are surrounded by emptiness or basically nothing important to look at in the background and this help isolates the subject and gives no reason to leave much space for it.

Quality of Outcome:

By creating eight portraits that can be viewed as a complete series; I was able to create a photographic typology that classifies the type of the subjects I chose which is the confident hard working construction workers.  I was able to select the final five out of eight and justify my selection (see previous post Assignment 1: Shooting Day and Final Five Portraits.

Demonstration Of Creativity:

Creating a composition is quite challenging using a fixed focal length lens which is here the 50mm f/1.4; creativity comes from moving around to get the right shot and knowing how close to get to the subject.  The slight distortion that the lens might cause adds more attention to the subject and gives the viewer a feeling of them being there unlike the distortion caused by other lenses.  I also managed to add more to the photo in the post processing by adding the slight HDR effect to capture details and muting the colours to focus on the subject.


I have done extensive reading on portraits that can be found here:

Activity and Expression

Location and Light

Portrait Styles

Portrait Purpose, Composition and Posing

Photographing People

Image and Identity in Portraits

However, I was influenced by Bill Bamberger Portraits in Rwanda.  Portraiture is a favourite subject of mine however; I was unfamiliar with photographic typology until I read about it in this section of the course.


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