Evaluation of my photo essay

Overall, I think my photo essay went well considering I am not a professional photographer. I loved the topic I’ve chosen and it was a good experience.

When I started to take photos as I planned, I had a few issues that I solved with using material that I had with me at that time (I’m talking about missing tripod). The biggest problem I had with taking photos was the technique called ‘panning’. When I tried to do that, I asked my sister to help me with it as I could not take it myself. I did set up all settings needed on camera, explained her exactly what she had to do, I sat at the piano and started to pretend to play it. We tried it a few times but it wasn’t working at all, all images were blurry. Then I thought we might swap, that she was doing something wrong with the camera. I tried to take photos myself but somehow, it was not working well at all. Maybe it was lack of space to move hands as keyboard is only certain size, maybe it was the settings I did set it up to…This is the biggest problem I had during the full project and that is why I haven’t got the picture in my photo essay.

I have learnt quite a lot about the camera, settings for it, lighting and I understand now how it all works together and how hard it is to get nice photos.I liked correcting colours and contrast in Photoshop CS6 and I also have a lot of new amazing photos for my website that I’m planning on updating. So I am happy with the final result of my photo essay even thought I know it is not perfect but I know I did my best as always and this makes me happy.

Evidence of understanding the basic techniques covered in semester 1

As a part of my assignment, I have to show evidence of understanding the basic techniques that we have been looking at in semester 1.

These are:

*Aperture: *Small aperture = wide DoF,
*Large aperture = narrow DoF
*Shutter speed
*Using aperture and shutter speed to control exposure
*Depth of Field
*Compositional devices (‘rule of thirds’, leading lines)

I explained photoshop techniques in my previous post.

*Image quality (use of levels in Photoshop, awareness of colour balance)


Before I started to take photos, I set up my camera into ‘Manual mode’ (little button on the lens of the camera). Then I chose ‘S’ mode which means ‘Shutter speed mode’. Because the camera was set up to ‘manual mode’, I had to focus on objects manually.


For this photo I set up settings to ‘Shutter speed’ – 4, ‘Aperture’ – F5.6 and ‘ISO’ – 100.

As you can see, It took a photo of the blurry background and focused on keyboards. This photo could be even nicer if I set up Aperture lower to F2.8 as the background would be even more blurry.

I also kept in mind ‘rule of thirds’ and used ‘leading lines’ to help me to get this image in the right position.

Another great example is this photo here:


With this image, I set up setting to  ‘Shutter speed’ – 2, ‘Aperture’ – F5.6 and ‘ISO’ – 100. I focused on the background and I took this lovely photo. Again, I kept ‘rule of third’ in my mind and used ‘leading lines’ to help me to get this image in right position.

Correcting photos for photo essay in Photoshop CS6

When I have chosen photos I want to use for my photo essay, it was time to correct them in Adobe Photoshop CS6. Like I said in my previous post, I intend to have them in black/white colours (read my previous post to find out the reason why).

Screen shots of my working screen:

1. After I cropped the chosen photo, I selected ‘Adjustments’ and then ‘Black & White’.


2. It came up with quite a lot of different ‘Presets’ so I went through them all and chose the one that I like the best – ‘Maximum Black’.


3. I thought it was a bit dark for my liking so I selected ‘Adjustments’ again and then ‘Levels’ to control levels of black and white colors in the photo.



4. When that was all done I still thought that I could do a bit more to make it a bit lighter so I selected ‘Curves’ and made it a bit lighter.


5. All I had to do at this point was to save it and the job was done.

 Final version of the photo

DSC_0206 - uprava

I corrected all my photos by choosing the same settings.

Taking photos for my photo essay

Today was the day when I started to take photos for my photo essay.

The camera I used was ‘Nikon D3200’. (picture downloaded from Google)


It was quite difficult to do if I’m honest – try to take photos from different angles, make sure that the light was OK etc. While taking photos, I realised that I had a little problem as quite a lot of them were blurry. The problem was the MISSING TRIPOD!!! That’s why I had to use other things I had in the room with me like a chair, table, even a bottle to support my camera so I could take nice photos. It was like a little adventure that took more than 2 hours to finish.

After I got home and had a look at all photos (85) on my laptop, I wasn’t very happy about them as a lot of them were very blurry but I could still choose 17 great ones.

Overall, it wasn’t a too bad experience and I was quite happy about the photos that I’ve decided to use for my photo essay.

Research about the topic for my photo essay/photographer

It is always a good idea to do research before starting to do any work. So this is what I did.

I typed into Google ‘ composing of music’ and it came up with so many different pictures but here are examples of a few of them that I would like to do myself. All of these pictures have techniques that we have been looking at in semester 1 and have to demonstrate in our photos.

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By taking photos with this topic I would like to show  to the viewers my passion and love about the music as it’s been a massive part of my life since I was 8 years old. My photos are going to be black and white as it is symbolic to black and white keys on piano.

Photographer that I like

The photographer that I have always liked is Lindsey Byrnes. She takes great photos of celebrities and music groups, her photos have emotions and this is what I really like about her work.

Few photos downloaded from Lindsey Byrnes’ website:

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On our lesson we learnt new technique of taking photos of moving image. It’s called ‘panning’.  Instead of taking photo of frozen image by auto sport mode, we set up our cameras on  slow shutter speed (15) and take photos in this mode.

This is photo that I took:


Photo essay – ideas – composing of music

My task is to create photo essay (photos put together telling a story without words) on any topic I want. After talking to my teacher about my ideas, I decided my topic to be ‘composing of music‘. It is my big passion and I’m good at it.

How I intend to do it: 

  1. take a photo of piano, guitar and violin separately as instruments (maybe different lightning)
  2. take a photo of me sitting at the piano and playing
  3. shoot of me writing music notes (medium shot)
  4. shoot of music sheet with a pencil (close up)
  5. shoot of me with the laptop and the piano (headphones on)
  6. shoot of me working on the laptop (able to see screen+music program)
  7. shoot of the screen and music sheet with pencil (close up)

This is how I’d like to do it but I’m sure it’ll change so many time while working on the essay. Keep looking at my blog to find out how it all goes 🙂