Updated Project Proposal

303 - Final Major Project Proposal – Rachel Gardiner

For my final project I originally wanted to continue my previous project and focus on doing all fashion and beauty editorials and putting together a magazine. Realistically taking my headaches/migraines and stress levels into account I agree with Gem’s comments when I presented my original proposal, about it being quite a lot to take on. The original idea would have been too much work to take on by myself, as I would have to produce a substantial amount of content to justify and fill a whole magazine. I have also recently decided that I no longer want to solely focus on fashion photography and be more of a general commercial photographer, who specialises in fashion and family portraiture, whilst also doing commercial/event work and video as well. The next step is to create a strong portfolio that represents the different areas I want to work in.

For my final project I plan on focusing on family portraiture, as I already have a lot of fashion work in my portfolio that I feel are strong enough and I need to bring my family portraiture work up to that same level. The family portraiture work will also incorporate pets too. I plan on doing shoots both in and out of the studio.

(Shots from my previous Cake Smash shoot)

One of the styles of family portraiture that I want to do is ‘Cake Smash’ shoots. This type of shoot will be set up in the studio and will feature a variety of props and decorations and of course a child and a cake. I have only done one cake smash previously and although I like the images I want to replace the ones currently in my portfolio with much stronger shots. The shoot I have done previously also was styled very simply with only a few props, as they wanted to keep it quite plain, therefore I want to experiment with styling the set with more decorations and props. The shoot is usually split into 3 parts, the first part is a nice mini portrait session either alone or with family, the second part we bring out the cake and leave the child to eat away and make a mess whilst capturing all the fun and the third part is the cute bath tub set up at the end. For these types of shoots I shall have to source all of the props and not only set up the studio but also dress and style the background ensuring that the colours and themes work well together potentially with the help of an assistant. Luckily some of the decorative props only need to be brought once and can be reused if the fit the clients colour theme. One of the negative sides of this style of shoot is if you are doing it for free it can work out quite costly having to buy helium balloons and backdrop paper. You can go through a lot of paper backdrop, as after every cake smash you will need to cut the paper, as most of what will be rolled out will become unusable due to not only having cake on it but also get wet, as the children tend to splash in the bath part of the shoot.


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(Example of what I want to do by Melanie Monroe)

Another area of family portraiture I want to explore is working with animals, I had some experience photographing dogs when I was the photographer for the first open day fundraiser shoots and I really enjoyed it. I want to experiment with shooting cats and dogs in the studio, as simple portraits, as well as potentially doing something similar to the cake smashes but with dogs. You can get dog safe recipes to make ‘pupcakes’ and I think it would be good to arrange a day where I photograph a variety of dogs taking it in turns to individually eat the cakes. I hope that I will be able to get some funny and cute shots, which are a little bit different to your standard pet photography. I shall have to make sure that the owners sign a document that states all of the ingredients used in the cakes and agree they won’t hold me accountable if their pet becomes unwell after eating anything.           

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(Example of what I want to do by Clint Bargen)

My portfolio is really lacking location portraits, therefore I plan on doing some with families and potentially an engaged couple on location too. I know that I can confidently shoot on location using natural lighting, however most of my current location work is fashion based. The only thing that could prevent me doing these shoots is the weather and the availability of the families. For these shoots I will need to look at what local photographers are producing and demonstrating in their portfolios to give me and idea of what appeals to local clients. I shall also need to do some location scouting; however I already know a few good spots such as Cockington, as it has lots of scenic places that look nice no matter what season it is, as well as local parks and beaches.

My brand name has been RJGMedia for a long time and I choose media over photography because I also want to do video work. I used to make YouTube videos and enjoyed filming and editing them all myself, however I haven’t got much video work that could be represented in a portfolio/show reel. I have recently got a big on going client who I am photographing and filming multiple events for, as well filming and editing educational and promotional videos for. Hopefully from this work I will be able to put together some kind of show reel to demonstrate my filming and editing skills. Also if I find I have extra time during any of my shoots I could potentially do some filming as well. The first three videos are for a recruitment company and are educational videos demonstrating mock interviews etc. Another one of the videos is for a care company advertising a dog visit service.

For all of the studio shoots I will likely be using my own studio and equipment located in Marldon, as although I am always careful, some of the shoots will get quite messy and potentially wet and do not want to risk damaging any college property, whereas my stuff is insured if the worst were to happen. I have not yet decided whether my official portfolio is going to be one mixed arranged in an order that will flow and feature both fashion and family portraiture or keep the two separate, which is how they are currently. I plan on keeping my portfolio digital and possibly producing something small but I do not want to spend a lot of money on a book of multiple prints, as I have done this previously and discovered how quickly these can go out of date and you cannot just simply add in or take away images in a book. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident about this proposal, I feel that the previous one is best suited as a personal project where I don’t have as much pressure and a deadline.