I shot the entirety of this brief in Cardiff City centre. This was my choice of locations from the 5 on the module brief because I know the area well, so I felt more confident in approaching potential subjects to ask for their portrait. My main reasoning for this style of street photography was to improve on two areas that I generally struggle with; talking to strangers/ asking for strangers’ photos and using flash. I thought that the full length portrait style would help to show the diversity in Cardiff, as well as how fashion can change between people of different generations, genders and social surroundings. I was pleasantly surprised at the general response from the people I asked, as I received very few rejections, and most people were happy to stop and have their picture taken.
For these shoots, I used either the Canon 5D or Canon 6D with a 50mm lens and a flash gun attached to the camera. I decided to use the full frame cameras as I used a Canon 70D (not a full frame) for a test shoot in Cheltenham and found that I had to be considerably further away from the subject for the same framing, and the flash wasn’t as obvious because of the extended distance. I found that the continual use of the 50mm lens worked well as the depth of field in all of my images is almost identical which makes them work more fluidly as a set.
The main difficulty I found was exposing the images to look the same. This was because of the varying times of day and types of weather I shot in. It made it more difficult as the settings weren’t the same every time. The only resolution I had for this was to go to my previous settings and adjust them accordingly, although this wasn’t very reliable. Generally, I was shooting with an ISO of 160 and aperture ranging from 10-16 depending on the brightness of the day.
All along I intended on presenting the images in colour with a border as I thought the boarder would give them more uniformity and look more professional. I thought it was important to present them in colour as it’s one of the most important attribute of the series, and it is how a lot of the images related to each other. The style of the person is one of the key features being displayed in each picture, and the colour is important to how that person, and their style is portrayed.
Overall, I’m very happy with the outcome of this module. I have become a lot more confident in my ability to use flash effectively in portraiture, as well as approaching people generally which is a key part to photography. I think the background in my images clearly displays my chosen city of Cardiff, but the use of flash makes the subject of the image the main feature, as opposed to the city. This was one of my aims for this module, as I wanted the series to be about the people of Cardiff; not the city itself. By shooting in the same locations, I created a narrative for the series and provided more context and continuity. If I was to re-shoot this whole project, I would try and approach more people, and focus more closely on the framing of my pictures to make sure they were all the same. This could’ve been done using a marker on the floor etc. to have the same background in every image.