Photo Life is proud to partner with Seneca students to document their journey through the school curriculum. This week Kei Umezawa shares about learning how important it is to communicate with collaborators.
Class: Photography III
Assignment: Public Service Ad
Student: Kei Umezawa
Professor: Marc Crabtree
Assignment guidelines: Produce a vertical poster for a charity organization or as a Public Service Ad. The image must be lit using strobe but not on-camera flash.
Background: This assignment is to produce an image using at least 1 person that is composed or shot in a way that will communicate a story about a PSA (Public Service Ad) or charity, to either raise awareness or raise money or both. We have to think about location, wardrobe, styling, camera angle, and focal length, etc.—everything that goes into producing a complete image. We can add type, but the story must be communicated through the image to be considered successful. Also we need to print the picture to help us understand the importance of seeing our images reproduced on a large scale.
For this style of photography, we need to have a DSLR camera, a power pack, a strobe light, a light modifier (I used a soft box), a light stand, a light meter and radio slaves. Having these pieces of equipment will be extremely useful for location shooting.
Process: I really wanted to make an outstanding image when this assignment was handed out because I am interested in unfair trading practices in the world, so I came up with this image. This model, a friend of mine, is actually from Zimbabwe and doing trading business between Africa and Canada. So, I thought this could be a perfect assignment for me to connect my idea and the skills which I learned.
It was my first time to rent a lightening kit, and the kit was much heavier than I thought. I think the hardest thing of this shoot was getting to the location which was model’s house because I had no assistant and no car to carry this equipment. Also it was rainy, and I had to keep the equipment dry. I used the TTC subway and bus to get there, but it took twice as long as usual. I was exhausted when I arrived.
When shooting, I was really concerned with how I could make the image technically sound. I tried to shoot a lot with different lighting; however, I could not to decide what the best image was. At that time, the model gave me the advice that I should ask the model what his or her favourite image is. I then realized that I didn’t ask his preference and didn’t explain my ideal image. As a result, I managed to shoot this image smoothly because of his cooperation. He helped me a lot and understood my project and my goal.
When I was making the final image after shooting, I didn’t edit a lot of details because the original image was closer to my ideal. Finally, my model and I got the perfect image and are really satisfied with it.
Conclusion: I learned how it is important to share the final image to the model and to communicate well in order to make it easy. No matter how hard it is to explain the photographer’s idea, we need to share. It was a great learning experience.
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.