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 I
Assignment: MAJOR 2 “Big and Beautiful”
Student: Anna Costa
Professor: Ray Steinke
Assignment guidelines: Photograph anything that you are interested in and make a print on 17x22in high quality paper. The only rule is to create a picture with a camera, not with software.
Background: This was during our first semester, so we had to think about what kept us excited about photography. We had to print the picture to help us understand the importance of seeing our images reproduced on a large scale. It was also an opportunity to practice what we had learned in Colour Theory, changing the settings in the printer to suit our needs and comparing how the colours look in the computer verses on the paper. I chose to do a portrait.
Process: It was raining a lot during the week the assignment was given. I kept thinking about how it would be nice to get one of someone who stepped outside with an umbrella for a smoke in the rain. I wanted to go for a melancholic look, to match the mood of the day. I talked about the shoot with a friend, discussed the wardrobe, hair and make up. She agreed to be my model. We set up the location in an alley near Dufferin St.
On the day that we scheduled for the session, it was really sunny with blue sky, no clouds and absolutely no rain. There was no way I could take the picture I had thought about. But I decided to bring the umbrella anyway, because it could work as a nice prop.
Arriving at the location, we walked around to find a place where we could use the sunlight to our advantage. We found a nice wooden fence next to a tree with the sun coming from behind it. I realized I could take a photo with the light shining through the umbrella, with some flare, and backlighting the smoke from the cigarette. After taking a few shots like that, I started to kneel down to hide behind the fence and get rid of the lens flare. That’s when I saw how the branches in the tree were making a nice frame around her that created contrast between the fall tones, the blue sky and the red umbrella.
Conclusion: Even though I had to change my approach due to the weather, I liked the way the images turned out. It was a great learning experience having to come up with something new at the last minute. And the fact that we had the freedom to do pretty much whatever we wanted really helped in this situation.