Working With a Theme

by valrac4_a3kqdy
© Allison Liota

© Allison Liota

The Seneca @ York Independent Digital Photography Program is a two-year diploma course that prepares students for a freelance career and provides them with the necessary skill set to work in a multidisciplinary studio. Photo Life is proud to partner with Seneca students to document their journey through the school curriculum. Follow them each week!

Class: Photography II
Assignment: Hi-Tech/Low-Tech
Student: Allison Liota
Professor: Michael Visser
Assignment guidelines: Choose a theme and create two images that support the same theme, one image must be high tech, the other low tech. Each image should have a background that suits the theme and any supporting objects that help communicate the theme and add interest to the image.

Background: I went with a theme I knew about and had readily available, cameras. I had many low-tech or old cameras I could work with as well as many of the older accessories that would help create one of the images. High-tech was going to be a borrowed camera because I couldn’t shoot my own camera. With the low-tech I planned to have an old, rustic feel, and with the high-tech I was planning to have a clean, sharp feel.

© Allison Liota

© Allison Liota

Process: I began with the low-tech shot, setting up the table where the camera would sit. I used a wood base and burlap background to give it that rustic feel. I played with the burlap background for quite some time trying to prefect the wrinkles and where they fell. I also tried many different wood bases, but the cutting board looked best. After getting the background ready, I set up the camera and accessories to help create the feeling of a low-tech image. I played with the accessories and background to make the final image compositionally pleasing to the eye.

I had a medium soft box in the far right corner of my set and a Speedotron with a grid on the side. I eventually added an orange gel to my grid to warm up the image. I also added some fill on the left side to highlight the small case so it stood out from the background. In post-production I darkened the image slightly and desaturated the image to give it more of an old rustic feel.

For the hi-tech image I went for more of a simple, clean look. I started with a tile background but then made my way to more of a metal surface. I decided to shoot more from above than straight on. I borrowed a digital camera and angled it on my metal sheet. I also added in a SD card as an accessory, considering my other image had accessories. Then I added a medium soft box above my set as well as a speedo with a grid on the right side. I played with the placement of the SD card as well as the camera and decided to add a blue gel on my grid to cool the image down and give it a future, high-tech look. In post-production I had to darken the top left corner and around the back of the camera because the metal is very reflective and was distracting. This helped draw the viewer’s eye to the camera.

Conclusion: I felt amazing after I looked at both images. I felt as if I had accomplished something out of my skill range. I was very happy with the results, and I learned so much too. I learned about gels, fill cards and importance of props. All of these things can help give a mood to your image. Pre-planning your shoot is a must or you may not get what you want in the end. Overall I enjoyed this assignment and took many elements with me to use with other shoots and assignments.

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