Assignment #3 – Formal Portrait

Photography 210
Scott Groller
Spring 2018

Assignment #3 – Formal Portrait
Due: Wednesday, March 28th

Create a deliberate, formal portrait of someone you know well. Control the subject, control the situation and control the environment to create a portrait in a setting which is appropriate for your subject and which aids in the expression of their personality.

Create or use lighting within your means and comfort level. Use light to control mood and enhance the personality of the subject.

You will shoot at least 72 photos of at least three different poses, and will be very aware of lighting, the setting and background, clothing, hair and makeup, sharpness, composition, and especially style. Above all, you will be aware of your subject’s expression and energy, and will work to capture that emotion in your photograph. Your final image will be projected for the class at the critique.

You will turn in:

Your flash drive containing all unadjusted images, your PSD file, and final image for the critique
Upload your choice for the critique to StuData
Your grade will be based on the following:

Fulfillment of the assignment in both form and concept – 20pts
Capturing expression – 20pts
Control of focus and motion blur – 20pts
Ability to create a pleasing composition – 20pts
Use of light to create clarity and mood – 20pts
Please be sure to have your name on all parts of your assignment. Work will be critiqued on the day the assignment is due, and all students must attend the critique.

Assignment #2 – Engagement Session

Photography 210
Scott Groller
Spring 2018

Assignment #2 – Engagement Session
Due: Wednesday, March 14th

Make photographs of two people which demonstrate their relationship while expressing something about their personality and your photographic style. Choose a public location which is appropriate for your subjects, resolve technical and artistic issues, and then engage with the subjects to create an image which catches a moment of real emotion and connection.

Create or use lighting within your means and comfort level. Use light to control mood and clarity, and to enhance the personality of the subject.

You will shoot at least 72 photos of at least three different poses which work to express engagement and relationship, and will be very aware of lighting, the setting and background, clothing, hair and makeup, sharpness, composition, and especially style. Above all, you will be aware of your subjects’ expressions and energy, and will work to capture that emotion in your photograph. Your final image will be projected for the class at the critique.

You will turn in:

Your flash drive containing all unadjusted raw images, your working PSD, and your final image for the critique

Your grade will be based on the following:

Capturing expression (20 pts)
Sharpness and appropriate use of focus (20 pts)
Ability to create a pleasing composition (20 pts)
Use of light to create clarity and mood (20 pts)
Proper image processing to enhance color, clarity and style (20 pts)

Please be sure to have your name on all parts of your assignment. Work will be critiqued on the day the assignment is due, and all students must attend the critique.

Assignment #1 – Small Event

Photography 210
Scott Groller
Spring 2018

Assignment #1 – Small Event
Due: Wednesday, February 21st

Your first assignment will be to photograph a real, small, live event. A get-together, a party, a meal, a show, a game if you must – any kind of event will work for this, but you must find a main character to follow and you must tell the story of their role. Essentially this is safe photojournalism in an uncontrollable setting while showing the context.

Do not create light, and try not to irritate people as you do your job. Do NOT delete anything.

Make at least 36 exposures (more is ok) in raw format, download them to your hard drive using Adobe Bridge and export a selection of 7 jpegs using Adobe Camera Raw. Create a new folder using your full name in our class folder on StuData and add your 7 jpegs to it.

You will turn in your flash drive which will contain 2 folders:
One folder with all raw photos made for this assignment
One folder with processed jpegs of your 7 selects

Your grade will be based on the following:
Fulfillment of the assignment in both form and concept (20 pts)
Success in learning to achieve correct exposure (20 pts)
Use of the camera to show the subject clearly (20 pts)
Use of light to create clarity and mood (20 pts)
Proper use of software to process raw images (20 pts)

Please be sure to have your name attached to your flash drive using a physical tag. Work will be critiqued on the day the assignment is due, and all students must attend the critique.

First Assignment

For your first assignment, I want to ask a friend or someone you know who recently got married if they would be comfortable answering a few questions for an assignment for school. Your questions and their answers may be asked in person and recorded in writing, or you could correspond through text/email. You will want to ask some form of the following questions:

Can you briefly describe your wedding? Where and when and who, and how fancy was it, and tell me what made it special?

Did you hire a photographer? How did you learn about them, where did you see their work?

Were you satisfied with their work? Why or why not?

What did you receive at the end of the process? If you do not mind sharing (no problem if you’re not comfortable), How much did you pay them?

What is your favorite photo from your wedding? Please (if at all possible) send a copy of the photo – just to get a sense of it. Why is this photo so special?

Once you receive a copy of the photo along with the answers, you will email all of it to me using the email address on your syllabus. In addition, please provide me with your full name and phone number. This way if I need to get a hold of you in an emergency or to make a change to our class schedule, I’ll be able to reach you quickly.

Happy chatting!

OH! and by the way, here are the answers:

1. Can you briefly describe your wedding? Where and when and who, how fancy was it, and tell me what made it special?

My wedding was located in Valencia, CA at the Bridgeport neighborhood community clubhouse. It is on a man-made lake with a lighthouse attached, and was a relatively casual wedding with around 120 people invited. What made it special was the location and the amazing warm weather for it being February, allowing us to do an outdoor wedding!

2. Did you hire a photographer? How did you learn about them, where did you see their work?

Yes, I did hire a photographer, Renee Bowen of Renee Bowen Photography (http://www.reneebowen.com/). I had heard about Renee from word of mouth, many people from my high school had used her for senior portraits, family photos, and of course for weddings. She is someone I have always wanted to work with!

3. Were you satisfied with their work? Why or why not?

I was definitely satisfied with Renee’s work. I felt as though she captured every memory I could have wanted from my wedding, as well as gave great direction on how to pose and where to stand for the perfect photo. She was well organized and very knowledgeable.

4. What did you receive at the end of the process? Pictures, book album? If you don’t mind sharing (no problem if you’re not comfortable), how much did you pay them?

I received a USB stick with every photo Renee took on it, personalized and in it’s own hard-covered box. I had the option for other packages, such as prints or books, but decided to go with the USB stick in order to have the rights to all of my photos and be able to print as many as I would like. Her wedding package price was $2120, and the photo stick was an additional $1500. I felt it was worth it!

5. What is your favorite photo from your wedding? (If at all possible) include a copy of it. (You can take a picture of it with your phone and send it with the email). Why is the photo so special?

One of my many favorite photos from my wedding is this one (attached)! I love the pose that she had us do sitting on the bench with the light coming from behind us. I feel as though it gives us a romantic glow, and it showcases my dress as well as my shoes which people hardly get to see!

. . .

1. Can you briefly describe your wedding? Wedding was a beautiful intimate wedding with 130 guests. The theme of the wedding were Large Daisies. 2. Where and when and who, and how fancy was it? The wedding was in a hotel garden and in the reception area in October. It was not that fancy but it was just enough fancy to give it the feel of an expensive wedding. 3. Tell me what made it special? I think what made it special was all the small touches I added to every piece of decoration. The small décor on each table or wall. It brought a nice feel to the place. 4. Did you hire a photographer? We did not choose the photographer. It was chosen for us as a gift. But yes we had a photographer. 5. How did you learn about them, We had not learned about them before. But we did hear about them after. 6. Where did you see their work? In an inside of a shopping mall 7. Were you satisfied with their work? Overall yes. I should have requested more candid photos instead of such formal positions.

. . .

Can you briefly describe your wedding? Where and when and who, and how fancy was it, and tell me what made it special
My wedding was on February 3, 2018. The ceremony was in DTLA at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Armenian Catholic Church and the Reception was at Bagramian Hall in Montebello, CA. In the Armenian tradition, we (the grooms family) go to the brides house with gifts and music to ask for the brides hand in marriage – even though we have been engaged for 4 years! Her father is at the door and the best man negotiates with him and when the price is right for the father he lets us in and we play music and dance, etc… It’s a lot of fun! The whole idea here is that this is the last time she will be at her home and her father is giving her to the other family officially.

It was fancy but not over the top and I love traditions so we had a lot of them like the one I described above. What made it really special is that even though we did have some of the usual traditions we did some unconventional things as well. Such as the musical selections at the church. My wife walked down the isle to the Young Frankenstein Theme instead of “Here comes the bride” which was awesome. We also did the exit of the ceremony to “The best is yet to come” It was awesome! Our first dance was “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica which my friends played at the reception. Someone called it the most traditional / untraditional wedding ever.

Did you hire a photographer? How did you learn about them, where did you see their work?
Yes we did. Mher Vahakn Special Event Photography. He has actually been a friend for several years. We actually played a few shows together – he’s also a really good musician (percussionist) and graphic designer. He also did the artwork for two of my albums. I used him as a photographer for two of my orchestral concerts so when we were looking for someone for our wedding, he’s the first person that came to mind.
Were you satisfied with their work? Why or why not?
Yes he is great. We haven’t received any pictures yet because the wedding was last week but I know his quality of work and it’s amazing. He’s always at the right place at the right moment when capturing pictures.
What did you receive at the end of the process? If you do not mind sharing (no problem if you’re not comfortable), How much did you pay them?
I’m not sure of the final cost yet because he’s a friend and hasn’t given me a number! We will be receiving all the pictures digitally… and I believe some type of album.
What is your favorite photo from your wedding? Please (if at all possible) send a copy of the photo – just to get a sense of it. Why is this photo so special?
I don’t have any of the pictures yet.

. . .

Can you briefly describe your wedding? Where and when and who, and how fancy was it, and tell me what made it special?

-I got married at my hometown church in delano. We then travelled to Sanger for the reception.
The reception was formal, held at Wonder Valley Ranch Resort with a classic flamenco ensemble from LA serenading during cocktail hour. It was a very intimate evening but on the larger end of what is considered “small”- about 175 people. We had guests attend from across the country (mostly military friends) and having them along with our close family and friends all present was really a joy for us. The dance floor literally stayed completely packed all night until it was time to go- so I’d say the best part was that everyone had a great time
Did you hire a photographer? How did you learn about them, where did you see their work?

-Yes Eliseo Valdovinos and his crew. (Valdophye Photography) he photographed my older sister’s quinceanera back in ‘95 when he was just starting his photography business, then her wedding 10 years later, then mine!
Were you satisfied with their work? Why or why not? What did you receive at the end of the process? If you do not mind sharing (no problem if you’re not comfortable), How much did you pay them?

-I was definitely happy and content but honestly I felt they came up short with the “Ah” factor. I expected at least one shot that was worth enough to display in his studio but that wasn’t the case. I liked the photos but I was disappointed that he didn’t capture “the one” if you know what I mean? I opted for the full video footage of the day vs the trailer option that only captured the key moments. And a bunch of edited photos, two large albums and some mini pocket albums. If i recall correctly it was around 5k.

What is your favorite photo from your wedding? Please (if at all possible) send a copy of the photo – just to get a sense of it. Why is this photo so special?

-Probably this one, Just because it was honestly candid although it looked staged haha. They wanted us to hide behind the cover (cliche) but I just grabbed the sword and looked out at the last second…

Can you briefly describe your wedding? Where and when and who, and how fancy was it, and tell me what made it special?

Hi! My name is Peter Nguyen and my wife’s name is Nellie Nguyen. We were married on a scorching hot Saturday in September (9/9/17). We held our ceremony & reception at the York Manor in Highland Park, a small suburb of Los Angeles and what many believe to be the new hipster capital of the city. We chose this location based on it’s central and quaint location, in addition to the venue’s ability to be a blank canvas for however we wanted to dress up our wedding. The wedding itself was not too fancy at all, it was actually quite casual; we had a buffet-style reception Mexican dinner; we did everything from decorations, vendor rentals, floral arrangements, etc., to help keep costs manageable. We tried to have the overall decor of the wedding be classic, yet whimsical. What made it special was our friends and family coming from all over the state to help with all the setup the day prior to the wedding. We couldn’t have done it without them!

Did you hire a photographer? How did you learn about them, where did you see their work?

Yes, we hired an acquaintance of a good friend, who just happened to be studying to become a wedding photographer. It was to be her first hired gig! We saw her online portfolio, and although she had no prior wedding photography experience, we could see she had the right eye based on her portfolio work.
Were you satisfied with their work? Why or why not?

Yes and no, but not entirely by any fault of our photographer. The day went by so fast and when things got too hectic, the wedding timeline/schedule had to be shifted and there were some moments and people we were not able to capture on film, for example: photos with our parents, a solo photo of us before and after the wedding, etc. We also loved that she shot on film and digital, as the shots on film were some of our most favorite ones. She also brought an assistant who was able to cover more ground throughout the day, which was greatly appreciated.
What did you receive at the end of the process? If you do not mind sharing (no problem if you’re not comfortable), How much did you pay them?

We received a DVD copy with all film images on it; a flash drive with all the digital shots; and a folder of negatives from the actual film. We got the “friend’s discount” and were only charged $500 for the day, in addition any film, printing and developing costs.
What is your favorite photo from your wedding? Please (if at all possible) send a copy of the photo – just to get a sense of it. Why is this photo so special?

There’s a shot of us just as we’re just about to kneel on the altar, taken from a ground perspective. It’s our favorite because you could absolutely see the myriad of emotions we were then experiencing clearly on our faces, haha. Joy, love, appreciation, with a healthy dose of nervousness and anxiety, as we were about to wing our vows in front of everyone. Also, it’s just a beautiful picture. I’ve attached it below.

Faeze Ilkhani
Can you briefly describe your wedding? Where and when and who, and how fancy was it, and tell me what made it special?
My wedding ceremony was so beautiful. My ceremony was in Shahriar Garden and we had about 250 guests. It was on September 2015 and we hired Retina Photography for our wedding day. Our ceremony was not too much fancy and not too much simple. It was like a medium class wedding and not a luxury event. Our ceremony had two sections. One was a garden where are the guests sited there, and the other one was a dance floor that was in the building.

Did you hire a photographer? How did you learn about them, where did you see their work?
Yes, we hired a photographer. I know my photographer from one of my friend’s sister and it was basically referral. After knowing our photographer name, I went to their Instagram page and see their works. I like most of their photos, and also, I read the comments and find out that most of the people were satisfied with their work.

Were you satisfied with their work? Why or why not?
I satisfied with their work. I like my albums and my photos a lot. Also, after my ceremony I recommended them to my other friends.

What did you receive at the end of the process? If you do not mind sharing (no problem if you’re not comfortable), How much did you pay them?
We receive one 15” *15” inches wedding album, about thirty 5” *7” ceremonial photos, 1 bridal photo on canvas.
We pay about 2,000 dollars.

What is your favorite photo from your wedding? Please (if at all possible) send a copy of the photo – just to get a sense of it. Why is this photo so special?
I love this photo because it is not like a posing photo. At that moment, our photographer tell us just talking to each other and feeling that there is no camera over there. Me and my husband just looking at each other’s eyes and then just laughing together. After I saw the picture, it reminds me about our feeling at that moment and besides that I really love the composition and how gorgeous both of us look in the photo.

1. Outdoor wedding at a family friends house in Northern California. The reception was outside in a field but the after wedding activities were inside on the property. It was a modern wedding with lots of family. They felt having their whole family there was the special part. 2. Yes they hired a photographer, they heard of them from the groom sister who also used the same photographer. 3. They were satisfied because they had lots of photos to post on social media, and a phonebook. 4. Their favorite photo is of the couple dancing on the dance floor

15 Minute Portrait Assignment

Scott Groller
Photo 215
Fall 2017

Portrait Assignment
Due Wednesday, November 1st

 

As a photojournalist, you have to be flexible and you need to be able to work quickly. There is often no time nor ability to set up something fancy and time consuming when making a portrait. Sometimes you only get 10 minutes, sometimes only 3.

For this assignment, consider yourself lucky. You have 15 minutes from the moment you arrive in the location with your subject. Immediately make a photo that shows both of your feet, and begin work, making a good portrait by the end of your short session. Pick your best and process it for presentation.

You will turn in a flash drive on Nov. 1st with this project and the portrait project on it, containing all raw and jpeg choices for each assignment.

You will be graded on the following:

25pts. Completion of the assignment in form and concept
25pts. Attention to timing to show the subject in a good moment
25pts. Control of exposure and sharpness to show detail and create mood
25pts. Use of the elements of composition to communicate clearly and intentionally

Bring your jpegs for presentation on either 10/25 or 11/1

Sports Assignment

Scott Groller
Photo 215
Fall 2017

Sports Assignment
Due Wednesday, November 1st

Shoot a live sports event that you are not able to control. Examples include baseball, soccer, football, volleyball, hockey and many more. Shoot at least 72 photos and choose 7 to process, crop and turn in.

As you shoot, look for subject matter and moments which help tell the story of the teams and the game itself. Actions shots of game play are required, but what other angles might help to inform the viewer about the drama of the event? Seek those opportunities as well.

You will turn in a flash drive on Nov. 1st with this project and the portrait project on it, containing all raw and jpeg choices for each assignment.

You will be graded on the following:

25pts. Completion of the assignment in form and concept
25pts. Attention to timing to show the subject clearly
25pts. Control of exposure and sharpness to show detail and create mood
25pts. Use of the elements of composition to communicate clearly and intentionally

Bring your jpegs for presentation on either 10/25 or 11/1

Feature Assignment

Photography 215
Scott Groller
Fall 2017

Feature Assignment
Due: Wednesday, Nov. 29

Now that we have the tools and processes figured out, let’s make some photographs. For real. Create a photo essay for publication on Cougar News (official) or Canyon Call (unofficial). You will work to reveal an objective but interesting viewpoint within a story which you choose. Your coverage must be visually interesting while fitting both the aesthetic of the subject matter, and your own personal style.

A comprehensive set of images should work just as a film does to provide an establishing shot, some heroes, details, drama, texture and contrast. Several key or meaningful moments should be represented within your story.

You will shoot at least 144 photos for this assignment, and will work hard to keep the style of your work consistent within the story. Create and process your final images so that they hold up individually while holding onto a constant personal style. Above all, your photos must work together to tell the story.

You will turn in:

Your assignment proposal (story choice) on 10/25 via email
Progress summaries consisting of 3-5 captioned images on 11/8, 11/15, and 11/22
All original photos and 7-10 final, captioned jpegs on 11/29

Your grade will be based on the following standards:

Fulfillment of the assignment in both form and concept
Technical achievement and sophistication in the photography
Visual storytelling using the camera and composition
Success in delivering an engaging and truthful story
Focus on the human element or experience

Students will submit all work in a named folder via StuData. All students must attend the critique.

Photojournalism Paper

Photography 215
Scott Groller
Fall 2017

Photojournalism Paper
Due: November 15th, 2017

It’s one thing to step into the role of a photojournalist for a moment or two. It’s quite another to understand the issues involved with the profession completely, especially as the evolution of the photojournalist has been recently accelerated in the direction of extinction. Changing markets, mediums and technologies have placed pressure on those who act as witness and share their visions of unfolding history.

In an effort to connect deeply with these issues, students will identify a topic for exploration which relates to the changing landscape of photojournalism, and produce an essay. This paper will reveal your perspective on an issue facing shooters while providing the reader with a tour of the history, facts and relevant details.

Optionally, you may elect to choose a photojournalist whose work you admire or respect, and focus your thoughts on their work, their process and their impact on the world. You will have to write the same amount and do the same level of work, but with a different emphasis on photography instead of the news industry.

You will turn in:

Your Topic Choice via email (short description) due Nov. 1st
Your 2 page paper

Grades will be based on the following:

Fulfillment of the assignment in both form and concept – 50pts
Research of topic and expression of idea – 50pts
Proper formatting and presentation – 50pts

Assignment #2 – Story

Photography 215
Scott Groller
Fall 2017

Assignment # 2 – Story
Due: Wednesday, October 11th

One of the most powerful aspects of photography is the ability to communicate without the use of words. A single image can be used to relate a simple idea or to tell an entire story. A small number of images in a sequence can communicate change and drama. We are constantly being told stories through the mediums of print, television, film and the internet, and often we rely primarily on images to understand the story.

Your next assignment is to develop and create a set of photographs that leads the viewer through a story entirely through visual means. The story is up to you, but it should be dramatic and narrative, and should not simply lead the viewer through a sequence of images, but to reveal change through different story states. Realize that while the idea is important, the images should be strong on their own merits. Your photographs should speak clearly to the viewer by using deliberate compositional elements, and should be technically sound. Sharpness, focus, perspective and lighting should all work together with the subject matter to visually explain the actions of the story.

Create sketches of your story to assist you in making decisions as to camera angle, subject, composition, etc., and to ensure the understanding of your scenes. Use light as a character. Use light to emphasize what you want the viewer to concentrate on.

As the director of this work, you are also responsible for the quality of the acting depicted in your photographs. Make sure your talent is aware of the role they are playing and the idea you are communicating. Be clear, and be dramatic!

You will turn in:

Your ideas/sketches/storyboards
One set of 7-10 outstanding images which tell your story without additional context
Your entire shoot on a flash drive (no deleting).

Your grade will be based on the following standards:

20pts. Fulfillment of the assignment in both form and concept
20pts. Control of exposure and sharpness to show detail and create mood
20pts. Use of the elements of composition to communicate clearly and intentionally
20pts. Use of light to create clarity, contrast and mood
20pts. Effective storytelling through concept and use of the camera

Work will be critiqued on the day the assignment is due, and all students must attend the critique.