I had two different ideas originally, before the final product of my photo essay. My first idea was to capture the different fashions around Washington DC that make this city so unique. I wanted to show how these different fashions represented all the different cultures and people in DC. Although this seemed like a good idea at the time, with the time frame and workload I had, this idea was not feasible. After encountering this minor bump in the road to my final project I decided to drop this idea and go in a totally different direction. I went towards something that was a bit more doable but was still able to bring out my creativity.
This is my first semester at American University and I have made amazing friends since transferring here. They are an amazing group of girls that are unique in their own way and have so much going for them. This is where my second photo essay idea came into play. I wanted to do a photo essay that would show my friends in their own element while still showing how they all have something in common that brings them all together. In the photo essay I wanted to have all the girls doing their hobbies and talents that make them unique, while all wearing this same red shirt. This red shirt would symbolize unity and sameness. The unity and sameness that brought this group of girls together and made them best friends.
After pitching this idea to my professor she told me that the shirt was not needed. She felt that the concept of showing the girls in their own element made this project cool in it’s own way. The shirt would just take away attention from the girls themselves. After having this meeting my third and final photo essay idea was created. This was an essay about seven girls all best friends yet all unique, and what make them the beautiful people they are.
During production I let every girl pick out an outfit that made her feel the most comfortable and in her element. By doing this I knew it would tell my audience exactly what kind of person she was and this would also reflect on her personality. I also let all my models choose the setting or background she wanted to be shot in. I wanted everything in my photo shoot to be natural and all about the model. By doing this it also made the girl so much more comfortable, making them more open to more poses as well as making my job of photographing them much easier. The execution of my project was the most fun for me. I got to capture the essence of all my friends in a enjoyable and creative way.
During the actual execution of my project I did come upon a few bad encounters, the main being time management. This is due to the fact that I was shooting photographs of seven different girls, and had to work around their schedules. During finals week this was especially difficult to work around. However, despite this I managed to shoot them all and get the shots that were needed for my project. Also another factor that affected my photo shoot was the weather. A lot of my photos required the outdoors as a background, and due to the unexpected rain this sometimes ruined my shooting schedule.
After finishing up with the shooting editing was my next challenge. This is because I wanted to add the perfect effect to the photos that would flatter the girl, her image and also personality. Additionally, because I used a digital camera I wanted to get the pictures to look high quality and professional. This took me about two days but after working hard and long hours I finally got the pictures to exactly how I wanted them. After the editing was finished came the least favorite part of my project. This was the actual printing of my photos and putting them all together on a board. Also coming up with a title was a little difficult to me as well. Finding one phrase or title to sum up my whole project and concept was challenging. Every project has its setbacks but every good project manager sees these set backs as an experience.
In my postproduction there are some things that I would have wished to do differently. I wish I would have had more time to do my project and had better planned my time frame. There are many cool things I could have done to play with the pictures and models to have been able to make my project a little more creative and artsy. However I had to put this aside and work with the time I had at hand. Also I wish I would have had access to a better camera. I feel this would have allowed my photos to have a better quality.
Because all the photos were shot on my campus I had a limited background and scenery. If I would have had a better shooting schedule and managed m time wiser I could have taken the girls into the city and shot the pictures in places that brings out who they are. This is probably one of the big factors I would change if I had the opportunity. The things that I would definitely keep the same are the models I used for my project. These seven girls are the best models a photographer could ask for. Another thing I would keep that I really enjoyed, was the whole concept behind my photo essay.
Throughout this whole project I learned many things. Photography is not as easy as it looks and it is a profession that I feel that is much taken for granted. I also learned that organization is key to being successful at creating a well-put and creative project. This photo essay taught me how to tell a story by capturing a person’s personality and essence without using words. Photo essays help people understand the story in a more emotional way. There’s a hook that keeps them asking “what is going to happen next?” and yearning for more. Also each one of your viewers may have a different interpretation of your essay.
Despite all this I feel that I did a pretty good job. This was my first time doing a photo shoot and I feel that for a beginner I did pretty well. I had a few challenges through this whole process but I was able to overcome them and make the best of it. Through this project I was able to expand my creativity and do things that I don’t usually get to do and was able to learn many new things. I found this project to be very enjoyable and am very glad that I chose to do the photo essay as my final project.