Shoot with Richard Austin

Meeting Richard was extremely beneficial. As a documentary photographer, I usually stay clear of props, set up shots and baskets filled with daffodils (at least I know theres a commercial back up for me!!). However, I learnt a lot on this shoot, from being behind the lens to post production so I can’t thank Richard enough for giving up his morning to spend time with me and the reds.

I have never been the most confident with ‘camera settings’, often shooting several of the same shot until I get it right, so it helped me having an expert by my side giving me confidence and reassurance in what I was doing. It meant I could concentrate more on my compositions and thoughts, rather than buttons and dials. In hindsight I should have avoided the “No food or drink” sign (I thought it would be ironic to have a squirrel eating next to the sign) and the daffodils, and shot with a broader range of the enclosure, showing the squirrels in their habitat and less in human contact. After all, this was a set up shot so the squirrels are not usually sniffing the flowers! I had a coffee table book in my mind and so was trying to get the balance between “pretty pictures” that people want to see as they flick through bright coloured pages but I also wanted to get hard hitting facts and issues across – which I certainly didn’t achieve in this shoot. I also got side tracked by the ‘early signs of springs’ and could almost picture my own Easter card being produced! I felt rude to be ignoring Richards encouragement to get the shot as the squirrel jumped through the basket handle, “A Flying Squirrel! People LOVE this stuff”; but not the audience I wanted to engage. It wasn’t a waste of a shoot by any means however, as I felt more confident with my camera and was pleased with some of the shots I did manage to get (daffodil free). One thing Richard hammered home was to focus on the eyes – which I knew already but had somehow lost its significance in my mind, so I thank Richard for bringing that back into the foreground of my thoughts. In terms of post production, Richard introduced me to the Feather tool which I had not been aware of and quite frankly its changed my life!! Cant believe I didn’t know about it!! But I feel whilst I am confident of PhotoShop, there is SO much I don’t know. You’re not given “PhotoShop Lessons” in life and whilst I don’t want to make drastic changes like in the fashion world, learning a few more skills is always beneficial and there is always something knew to master.

Overall I am happy with how this shoot went, I just lost sight a bit of my final outcome so I’ll need to go back and shoot again with a more “documentary” head on. I have to admit though, it was fun photographing these cute little guys and the bright daffodils in the early morning before the general public attacked.

Austin Shoot Contacts

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Filed under Major Documentary Project

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