Portfolio – Website Research & Development

Objective

The foremost role of a portfolio website is, as the name implies, to show off your portfolio. With that in mind my idea for the website is to keep it simple, displaying a handful of my best works – in this case, photographs.

With that being the main objective, a secondary intent would be to get people visiting the site to connect socially. The central method of doing this would be to link them towards my social networks, i.e Instagram, Facebook, and encourage them to follow and connect using those platforms. The reason for this is because social networks will inevitably get far more updates than a website would, simply because they are so much more convenient. In addition to more frequent updates, social networking also enables me to interact with my audience, to a greater extent than the website would allow.

Perhaps at some point, I could offer the option to purchase prints or even a book using the website, but at this stage, it is an unnecessary addition that would require extra, unwarranted time and effort.

Inspirational References

Below are three notable examples of popular photographers’ sites.

Eric Ryan Anderson

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Eric’s website is a simple, vertically scrolling list of albums and their titles. The unique about his website though is that after clicking on an album, you can scroll through all the images contained in the album horizontally. This creates a very intuitive and natural way to browse through his photos.

Jeremy Cowart

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The first thing that stands out in Jeremy’s website is the sheer amount of content it presents. Clearly Jeremy is not just a photographer, included in the categories on the website, he is also an artist, teacher, speaker, and more. Personally, the website at first looks really crowded with an overabundance of pictures and text. However it is in-fact quite well laid out, with the photos forming a neat grid under their respective categories.

Ryan Michael Kelly

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In a similar vein to the other websites listed, Ryan’s portfolio is very simply laid out grid of photos. Categories listed at the top of the webpage help organize the photos into the style you want to view.

Design & Implementation

The chosen design is inspired by the above mentioned websites. The main page will be a grid of photos, with a splash screen preceding it. Organizing the photos by category is something to be considered, although that will require considerably more pictures than I have currently uploaded. As for the menu, there is the usual “contact” and “about” pages, with social media links as well. I would like to emphasis the social media links though, as they are an important part of the website, as mentioned in the objectives section.

The draft mockup can be found here.

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Platform Selection

It’s 2017. There are – for better or worse – an overwhelming amount of website creation options. For the draft version of the site WIX is used, however I found the interface somewhat sluggish and unintuitive to use. Never mind the annoying pop-ups and banners advertising WIX.

For the final website, the plan is to use Squarespace or something in a similar vein, such as Format and 22Slides – both of which are created with photo portfolios in mind. The only disadvantage to such platforms, is obviously the subscription fee required. Most of these platforms do offer a certain period of trial though, so I can test them out and explore the best option. If for some reason none of these platforms workout, the last resort is to use WordPress.

Interview – Mahesh Ravi

Mahesh Ravi is a Multimedia Generalist, currently residing in Bangalore, India. He works in various mediums, including photography, filmmaking and design.

Below is a short transcript of the interview. The full interview can be found at the bottom of this post.

How did you get into the field you are in now?

Since my childhood, I’ve been really interested in visual design. I’ve always wanted to study film design, but at that time I didn’t even know there was such a discipline. It was at that point I realized that I was an artist and wanted to do something really creative. The main reason I chose multimedia was the leverage I would be getting to work in mixed media, which I’ve always loved to do – and still do. I love the combinations of analogue and digital media, and combining film with an aspect of design, and photography with an aspect of typography.

What motivates you to keep doing what you do?

I think when you’re in this field, your motivation is what’s happening in the world around you. You’ll constantly be in touch with what your competitor is doing, what your friends are doing, what’s the latest in technology and art. It’s a very competitive world and if you want to be on top of something you need to continuously push yourself beyond your limits. It [motivation] can be anything, from a good piece of music or a good photograph.

Could you imagine yourself doing any other job than the one you’re doing now?

I can imagine myself in another title that’s not connected to the creative field, but I know for a fact I won’t be very good at that.

If you could go back in time and do something differently what would it be?

It’s very difficult to answer this question, because every artist who is constantly improving would want to go back and change something in a design or film that they’ve made. I can’t say one particular decision that I’ve made in my life, which I’d go back and change, it’s not my way of thinking about what I do. I’d rather use my time to focus on the future than thinking about changing the past.

If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do anything differently, I’d just take my camera, shoot a couple of scenes, come back and claim it as the most realistic and most authentic retro film ever made.

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One piece of advice you would give someone starting out in the creative field?

If you want to be in the creative field, no matter what discipline – it can be photography, design, film – it is really important that you get enough exposure about what’s happening in that particular media. Even before you start something, you need to have done some research on it. Keep yourself updated with what is currently happening in your field. Be very good observers and choose your artistic integrity wisely.

More information about Mahesh and his work can be found at his website.

The full interview can be found below.

Style Analysis – Bobby Vu

Introduction

This is the third post in a short series that will focus on forming an analysis on a selected photographers works. The idea behind this is to form a better understanding of various photography and editing styles and methods and to eventually create my own style. The end goal of this series is to eventually create my own unique style of photography whereby I will at a later point create an Instagram account to showcase.

Point to note – photography is subjective. This is not a post pointing out what I think are “good” and “bad” photos, rather I’m trying to take a fairly objective view and simply examine the techniques and style preferences of the photographers.

Bobby Vu

Bobby Vu is a film director and photographer based in Los Angeles. His photography can be found on Instagram @kingvuddha while his latest film project can be found here. More information can be found on his website.

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Vu, (2017)

Photography

Bobby shoots portraits, around the city and during his travels with a distinctly old school vibe. His photos tend to reflect the feel and style that he creates his videos in. For his photography, he uses a Nikon D750 with lenses such as the 35mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4.

  • Color

The first thing about any photo that I notice is the color. Most of Bobby’s photos have a desaturated look, with all the colors toned down. However a lot of his photos incorporate neons, or other light sources and in these cases the color of the light is made to pop just a little bit more. Another point to note is that the blues are usually edited to be more aqua, which seems to be a popular Instagram look these days. Lastly, the photos lean ever so slightly to the green side of the tint slider.

  • Model

Bobby’s photos are almost exclusively portraits, and as such the model plays an important part in the frame. The model is almost never made to smile, rather maintaining a more neutral expression. In certain shots the model looks away from the camera, conveying a distant, dreamy expression, while other shots have the model looking straight at the viewer. Both of these looks portray a sad, moody emotion.

  • Composition

Composition-wise, the photos are relatively simple. The subject is usually centered and the camera is placed at eye level with the subject, making the person look “real” instead of the over dramatized look provided by positioning the camera at very high or very low angles. The background is very plain and in a single color for studio shots, while outdoors a large aperture is used to blur it out and create bokeh.

Conclusion

These are a few key points that I have noted from Bobby Vu’s photos. As usual, this is not meant to be an detailed analysis, but simply my observations, meant to help me develop my own visual style. Did you notice anything else? Leave a comment if you did!

Refrences

Vu, B. (2017). [photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/kingvuddha

Style Analysis – Sam Kolder

Introduction

This is the second post in a short series that will focus on forming an analysis on a selected photographers works. The idea behind this is to form a better understanding of various photography and editing styles and methods and to eventually create my own style. The end goal of this series is to eventually create my own unique style of photography whereby I will at a later point create an Instagram account to showcase.

Point to note – photography is subjective. This is not a post pointing out what I think are “good” and “bad” photos, rather I’m trying to take a fairly objective view and simply examine the techniques and style preferences of the photographers.

Sam Kolder

Sam Kolder is a traveling film maker and photographer from Canada. His photography can be found on Instagram @sam_kolder while his videos are hosted on his YouTube channel.

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(Kolder, 2017)

Photography

Sam’s photos are usually portraits of himself as he travels to different places. As a result his portraits are designed to showcase the place or background more than the person.

  • Composition

For Sam’s photos the background is as equally important, if not more important, than the person in the frame. To accomplish this he uses a wide angle lens with a smaller aperture to keep the background in focus. Another point to note is that the camera is almost never at the same height as the person, it’s usually either higher or lower. This helps provide the photos with their dramatic vibe.

  • Model

Just because Sam’s photos are captured to show-off the grand backdrops, doesn’t mean that the person in the frame isn’t important though. One of his styles is the way he poses for the camera. His head is nearly always faced away from the camera, not looking at it directly. And the expressions – well there isn’t much. He keeps a straight, neutral face throughout most of his photos.

  • Color

Lastly there’s the color. Sam’s photos lean toward a warmer, almost brown, color tone. The oranges and blues especially are given added attention in editing making them pop a little more compared to other colors.

Conclusion

And those are my observations of Sam Kolder’s photos. This is not meant to be an detailed analysis, but simply my observations, and as such I might miss some things that you might have noticed. So did you notice anything? Leave a comment if something caught your eye!

Refrences

Kolder, S. (2017). [photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/sam_kolder

Style Analysis – Brandon Woelfel

Introduction

This post is the first of a short series that will focus on forming an analysis on a selected photographers works. The idea behind this is to form a better understanding of various photography and editing styles and methods and to eventually create my own style. The end goal of this series is to eventually create my own unique style of photography whereby I will at a later point create an Instagram account to showcase.

Most (if not all) of the artists featured here will be from Instagram as that’s the platform that I use most for photography purposes.

Point to note – photography is subjective. This is not a post pointing out what I think are “good” and “bad” photos, rather I’m trying to take a fairly objective view and simply examine the techniques and style preferences of the photographers.

So now onto the post.

Brandon Woelfel

Brandon is a freelance photographer based in New York. He’s on Instagram under the handle @bradonwoelfel where he has over 1 million followers. More information and photos can be found at his website – www.brandonwoelfel.com

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(Woelfel, 2017)

Photography

Brandon shoots portraits with a very distinctive feel and vibe. Below are some samples of his work.

Listed below are three key points that make Brandon’s photos distinctive.

  • Color

The first thing that stands out to me are the colors he uses. Brandon usually favors a more cooler tone with a lot of blues and magentas. This provides a great contrast between the colors and shapes his unique style.

  • Bokeh

The second thing of note is the shallow depth of field, or bokeh. There’s a lot of that. Brandon shoots with prime lenses, such as the 85mm and 50mm, with the aperture wide open. This allows him to obtain the gorgeous bokeh, and as a bonus the large aperture also helps keep the camera ISO down when shooting in places with low light.

  • Props

Finally, Brandon uses various props to achieve his style. Scrolling through his Instagram feed you can see that nearly every picture has fairy lights and oversized retro glasses. The fairy lights work to help create the bokeh mentioned earlier, and the glasses subtly reflect the light sources in the picture. Brandon also uses CDs and prisms to create reflections or “rainbows”. Lastly he also incorporates neon lights, signage, and sparklers into some of his works.

Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive breakdown of Brandon’s photos or his shooting style. But it does note several key points that I observed. The aim of this brief examination is to observe the styles of various artists and draw inspiration from their works.

If you do want to explore in more depth how to recreate Brandon’s style there’s a great video done by Mango Street (2017) that shows you how.

Refrences

Woelfel, B. (2017). [photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.brandonwoelfel.com/photography-1/

Mango Street. (2017, July 10). How to shoot and edit like Brandon Woelfel [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7Mk-C8un6E

Inside My Camera Bag

I’m a photographer. I love looking at pictures. I love taking pictures.

So for this blog post I thought that I’ll take a look at what inside my bag. It’s not a lot, and there are loads of gear that I would love to acquire at a later time, and I’ll mention a few of those in here as well, but for now this is what’s inside my camera bag.

Camera

I got my first DSLR around 8 years ago. It was a Nikon D50 – it first released in 2005, as a starter/midrange camera. It sported a 6 megapixel CCD sensor which could go up to a blistering ISO 1600. Not that I’d ever recommend using ISO 1600 on it – images on that setting were pretty much unusable. I eventually figured out to stick to around ISO 400 or 800 at most. Compared to today’s cameras, image quality and resolution are almost laughable, but under ideal conditions it can still take pretty amazing shots. I used that sturdy little camera until 2015 – the workhorse had seen the better part of 10 years by that time. I still have it and it still works, but it’s mostly confined to the top shelf of a lonely cupboard nowadays.nikon_1543b_d750_dslr_camera_body_1237482

That leads me to the reason for my old camera’s sad fate – the Nikon D750. I upgraded to this one in 2015, after much contemplation and research. Originally I thought I’d jump ship to Canon (gasp) and their 7D Mk II, but eventually due to my Nikon lenses I stayed with the yellow and black. Originally I was planning on getting the D7200 – Nikon’s best DX camera at the time (the D500 was still being a dream at that time) – but through a turn of events I ended up going full frame. And I’m glad I did. The D750 is a marvelous piece of gear. It has 4 times the resolution of the old D50 so image detail and clarity was amazing. And the ISO comfortably goes to a usable 12,800. ISO 51,200 exists although, that’s definitely not something you’d want to use. I could go on about the camera – the autofocus, dynamic range, etc – but this isn’t a review, so I’ll digress.

And so, moving on to the lenses.

Lenses

  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8
  • Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8
  • Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6

So first of all the 50mm. A 50mm if pretty much a must in every photographer’s kit – that’s just the way it is. Almost every photographer you ask will explain the merits of the lens and why you must have it. It is without a doubt the sharpest lens I have and the large aperture makes it a boon in low light situations. However, I don’t like 50mm. That’s probably just me, but I find it too tight for wide angle shots, and not tight enough for the portraits I take. This is just personal preference, but I’m more inclined to a longer or wider focal length. If I were to replace this lens I’d probably get a 85mm f/1.4 – it has a more useful (for me) focal length and an ever so slightly faster aperture.

Which leads me to the next lens, the Sigma 28-70mm. For some reason there isn’t a lot of detail about this one online that I could find – no reviews, nothing for sale. It’s like it almost doesn’t exist. It’s a general purpose lens, but it’s probably the one I use least. This is due to my shooting style, I don’t often shoot wide angles, it’s reserved for rare occasions or places where space is at a minimum. Quality wise, at f/2.8 it’s not ideal. Images aren’t sharp and there’s significant chromatic aberrations in photos. Stop it down it f/4 and things are significantly better. The main reason I use this lens is for its wide angle of view, so if I were to upgrade it, I’d simply go with a wide angle prime such as the Sigma 20mm f/1.4.

The last lens on this list is the Sigma 70-300mm. According to the Sigma website this is the cheapest lens that they currently sell. However that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It has great quality and sharpness, and I prefer longer focal length compared to my other lenses. This is without a doubt the one lens I carry around with me the most. Although due to the aperture and the lack of any image stabilization means, it’s less than ideal in low light – that’s where a 70-200mm f/2.8 would really shine.

Conclusion

And that’s it for what’s in my camera bag! There aren’t any accessories such as tripods, stabilizers, flashes, etc. because due to some reason or other I currently don’t have any – any that work at least. So for now I’m slightly limited by what I currently possess. But that doesn’t create an excuse for bad photos – after all it’s not the camera, but the person behind it that matters.

About Me

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had an interest in art and design. It started out with drawings and sketches – I would draw almost anything that I saw, although it was mostly limited to cars and animals. Later when I got my first camera my focus turned into photography. I carried the large – for 12 year old me at the time – black camera everywhere I went, clicking pictures as if my life depended on it.

Gradually, as time passed, I got into videos, music, graphics, web design, UI design and more. Eventually this led to pursuing Multimedia Design as a degree.  During this time I worked on several projects, including doing an graphics design for CanOfJuice, a company that showcases designs from various artists by selling products and home accessories with their artwork. I also recreated the Facebook app in my own way as part of UI/UX design, and later created mockups of my own app.

While I did designs and projects for all of these different areas, my main focus has always been on photography and videography. It could be because with a camera you can go out and capture real people out in the real world, as opposed to the other mediums, which are more “digital” so to speak. There’s just something about a good photograph that I simply love.

The way you’re able to capture people’s emotions in one picture is, for me, amazing. And videos are able to do even more! A video is a continuous set of photos, and combine it with great music and sound, and it has the ability to make a person cry, or laugh. In the end that’s what I aspire to do with any of my art. It’s to evoke emotion. To me that’s what makes art what it is – the way it can lift people up, encourage them. The way it makes people feel.