We are the reckless we are the wild youth

A visual exploration & academic references in the form of what one would call a creative journey..

Category: PPP3

Product photography: Kristian Knight

Brief: To photograph a series of images that captures the entire concertina and also the detail in the illustration/graphic design.

As part of his PPP2 work Kristian approached me asking me whether I could take some shots of his work that he wanted to use as part of hit portfolio to send to a potential graphic design/illustrator to seek a work placement. The shots he wanted were of his concertina book.

As the concertina was fairly long in length it had to be a floor shot, Kristian lay out and positioned the concertina in the manner that he wanted and I then worked around the way is was positioned and the framing in my viewfinder to get the best shots possible in the small space of time we had.

Here is a couple edited shots from the shoot:

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Assisting Angus McDonald – Russell Hobbs Shoot

Brief: To photograph the packaging shots for the 3 new Russell Hobbs products, for release in Europe and specific prop shots for France.

Client: Russell Hobbs

People Present: 

– Angus McDonald (photographer)

– Jo Brewer (Home economist, Food stylist)

– Gary Austin (Graphic Designer- Elmwood)

– Chris (Creative director – Elmwood)

– Matt (Russell Hobbs brand manager)

– Deanos (Russell Hobbs brand manager)

– Emma (Hand model, designer from Elmwood)

 Tasks set for me by Angus:

– Main task today is to keep the clients entertained.

– Go to Maplin to collect extension cable and adapter

– Help set up lighting and camera before shots are taken.

– Help Jo to prep the products (3 products = waffle maker, pancake maker , stone grill)

– Prep and make lunch at 12pm for all.

– Keep shadow out the way.

– Find, collect and iron given props.

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Task 1 – Sent to Maplin to collect a adapter for this plug, EU>UK. Without this crucial adapter the shoot could not commence.

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Task 2 – Setting up equipment. This was the initial set up of the equipment, in comparison to previous days we had to use the white screens to bounce light off. The reason behind setting up the lighting and equipment in this way was to create a light that look like daylight (as if we were in a kitchen), this set up also helped deal with the fact that there would be a body in the surrounding areas off the shot and a hand coming into the shot demonstrating the use of the pancake maker. Essentially I learnt how to bounce light to create daylight.

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Essentially the direct light from the lighting equipment bounces onto the white screen behind which then disperses light on the prop-set up below, the light is not to harsh or obvious neither does it look un-natural. This is a great way to create the sense of natural light through artificial lighting.

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TASK 3- testing the pancake maker. After collecting the adapter Angus instructed me to test the products to make sure they were fully working and intact ready fore Jo to prep the food.

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Once Jo had prepped the food after numerous attempts to create the perfect pancake mixture with perfect rounded edges the scene was set up, that big white board infront of the shot is me holding a reflector.The purpose of the reflector I am holding (for all of 118 shots) is to had shine to the knife that the hand model is holding.

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A mixture of Russell Hobbs representatives, Elmwood designers and photographer Angus discussing the composition of some of the props on set of the pancake maker product shot. Having so many people in the studio giving different opinions was a interesting experience, for such a small set-up it was interesting to see how intricate and small details made a huge difference to the reaction and opinions of the clients.

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Keeping Shadow entertained was also on the list of tasks that I had to do. With so many people in the studio and so much going on keeping this guy out the way and entertained was crucial for Angus to be able to carry out his work and concentrate on delivering to the clients.

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After cleaning up the props and food for that shot it was time for Jo to prep the materials for the next shot which essentially were waffles with a selection go toppings related surrounding them.

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After almost 2 hours prep for this shot which included positions, shooting, adding props, moving props around, shooting , stirring the juice, shooting, adding reflectors, adding props, shooting, replacing props this was the initial set-up.

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Hitting 4pm the Russell Hobbs clients had made it clear to Angus what was expected from the shoot after discussing ideas, at this point we started to work on the 2nd shot of the waffle maker. Here’s a quick snap of Angus, Gary and Chris discussing how they are going to execute adding the toppings of the waffles to the set-up. It is interesting to note that even adding small things like toppings to the waffles take careful consideration, the chocolate sauce would become to hard by the time that the other toppings had been placed on therefore things like this need to be planned, timed and shot separately. Te conclusion we drew to this dilemma being that we would shoot 3 separate imaged and put them all together in post=production.

PHOTO MANIPULATION – In this case it was a mutual decision on all three-parties that merging three images would be the best possible route to go down baring in mind the materials (toppings) that they were using and the application of these onset. In instances like this photo manipulation i used to bring the best quality and the best representation of the toppings to final image. It is used out of reluctancy rather than being the first resort mores the last resort and the best option for this particular shot and this particular usage opt props.

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A bit blurry but at around 7.30pm we managed to get on the shot on point and wrap up for the evening. Even though we intended to take 3 shots sometimes perfecting 2 shots takes longer than planned, scheduled and expected however two more days ahead meaning an earlier start in the morning getting the third shot in before taking the next few before the clients arrive.

Love Arts: Window Display…

BRIEF: To take some shots of our window display in the Fabrication shop window for the Love Arts festival. Preferably full shots and prop shots.

Soon after getting involved with Angus McDonald Photography, I was approached by Hannah and Bhakti and kindly asked whether I could get involve d with there window display as apart of the Love Arts festival. With being tied up and very involved with Angus’s studio I was not able to take part in the overall Love Arts Photography opportunity as I have found myself spending a lot go days at Angus’s studio, so when Bhakti and Hannah approached me to ask me to photography there window I was happy to help and contribute.

The brief that Hannah and Bhakti gave me was fairly brief and basic, they simply told me they wanted some shots of the full window display and also some shots of the props that they had made. Even though I saw some of the bits and bobs they had been making in the studio I was still unaware of the sizing of the window, the entire display itself and most importantly the lighting in and around there window. From a photographers perspective I was pretty much ‘going in blind’.

Here are some a range of the final shots which have been edited and sent to Bhakti and Hannah for there use:

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On the day:

When arriving at Fabrication and looking at the window display it became apparent that the lighting was awful!, the reflections on the window were hard to work with and the majority of shots that I took came out underexposed. However the wonders of Photoshop helped me in post-production to deliver some decent quality images to Hannah and Bhakti.

Assisting Angus McDonald

Day 3: Assisting Angus McDonald

:Today was a more practical kind of day with Angus. I helped out around the shoot like I have done previously with things such as collecting & ironing props, helping adjust the lighting, expressing my opinions on the on-screen exposure, however today I also managed to take around 40-50 shots in the studio on food that had been styled.

Although I took 40-50 shots I only managed to get a couple of decent shots post-retouching, so here they are:




strawberry slice jpg


– Exposure correction

– Curve correction

– Shadow/highlight adjustment

– Spot healing adjustments on am area






– Exposure correction

– Contrast correction

Assisting Angus McDonald 14/10/14

Day 2: Assisting Angus McDonald 14/10/14

Today’s client: Morrison’s, Elmwood

People present: 

– Angus McDonald (Photographer)

-Gary Austin (Graphic Designer/ Art Director)

– Jo (Home economist)


– Rice puddings


– bread and butter pudding

Things learnt over the day:

– Always shoot in RAW. Jpegs are compressed files that degrade during edit, image quality is therefore reduced. Its best to always shoot in RAW and then compress the file into Jpeg, you can always do more with a raw file than you can with a jpeg.

– For things that shine within your shot your have a few options to reduce/ improve shine, to duller something eg. cutlery you can use dulling sparring to add reflections into shots use tin foil to bounce light onto the cutlery.

– With food photography things are done very methodologically. There is a set process when taking food shots. Everything is ordered ,you follow by this order shoot, change things, re-shoot etc. The process itself is much slower than taking things such as portraits.


Things to follow up and look at:

– ‘ What kate ate’: http://www.whatkatieate.com

– AOP (Association go photographers): http://www.the-aop.org

– Carl Warner (foodscapes): http://www.carlwarner.com/foodscapes/


The ‘Props’ cupboard that is continually used to swap alter and change the set depending on the shoot. This Cupboard is cutlery and kitchen prop heaven!


The set up. A quick snap of the initial set up that was put together after sourcing the basic props from around the studio.



The team coming together and discussing the shots taken so far and alterations and adjustments that need to be made.

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In-edit – one of the 4 shots taken today being placed onto the packaging.



Taking a break from assisting and reading about the functionalities of Angus’s camera and the technicalities/science behind lighting and reflection.


Prep’ing some of the props for the next shot!



Jo prepping the bread and butter pudding for the next shot.

Assisting Angus McDonald

Day 1: Assisting Angus McDonald

Brief background:

Angus McDonald is a Leeds based professional photographer who works with a food stylist and art director to create advert-style-images for clients such as Morrison’s, Asda and similar food-based companies. Angus also has a range of clients including Adidas, Russell Hobbs, Cadburys and many more. The following link leads to his website: http://angusmcdonald.net

Getting in contact:

I sent a brief email as shown below to Angus to ask him whether there was any chance I could come along and help out by assisting:

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He responded within 15 minutes saying he would love for me to come down and help out:

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I arranged to visit Angus’s Leeds-based studio on Wednesday 8th October where I met his co-worker Ben who works alongside Angus as his Food stylist. Me and Angus had a sit down and had a chat and he was more than happy to have me assist and grasped what that I what I wanted to achieve from being here and assisting him. Luckily Angus and Ben were working on some shots for Morrison’s that afternoon so I stayed and began my role as a assistant right away (with the first task of making tea of course).

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En route to Angus McDonalds studio.


The initial set up we put together to shoot the Bombay pies. The interesting thing about food photography is the initial prep thats put into taking the shot. Firstly we choose the props, secondly we put these on the shooting table and aligned them in accordance with the camera that Angus uses. The camera is self is not like a normal SLR instead this camera reflects the object from all angles giving a better frequency of control. In terms of the functionality of the camera Angus told me that the usage is fairly complicated however using the camera with the light source and altering the F-stops on both help create the image. The camera was set up to the Angus’s main computer station, after choosing the props approbate for the style of dish se moved onto a initial capture of the objects, we then looked at them on screen to see whether the composition was correct.


Angu’s work station, a you can see the set up is connected directly to the computer and is automatically dropped onto the template of the image that has been sent my Morrison’s. The actual pressing of the button is a very small part of the actual process of taking food photographs, infact what was learnt is that it is the most insignificant part of the whole process.



After deciding where and and how he food will be placed Angus and Ben then talked about which pies would be best to photograph based on there aesthetic. I then asked Ben:

Me: ‘How do you know when the food is ready’?

Ben: ‘99% of the time all photographs of food are undercooked, the key to styling is to make the food looks as appetising as possible even if it means undercooking and using a paintbrushes to add or subtract moisture’.

Ben then prep’ed the food and starting to place the food on the area that me and Angus had set up. We took many many shots! Almost over a 100 before Angus and Ben were happy with the outcome. Within the four hours that I spent with Angus and Ben we managed to complete two shots (both for Morrisons).



Angus and Ben making minor adjustments on the software ‘Capture’ and retouching the final image before Angus sent the image to the client.

Additional notes made from Day 1 of Assisting:



Assisting research…

As I have never assisted a industry-photographer before I feel that it is only right to research the key attributes in becoming successful in this role, to look at this in a clear and concise manner I have decided to look at some of the key requirements of this role on listed job searches this way I will become aware of what is expected of me from an industry perspective:

A very specific role within a footwear company, essentially the key requirements here being preparation of product and props, editing skills on software, keeping things tidy and clean, ordering bits and bobs necessary for the shoot.

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The role found below came up under the same search as the previous image however this role requires more-so digital work with software and retouching. Although I may not be asked to do large amounts of this it is important to bare in mind that some roles assisting will require this.


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key skills necessary:

– Come with some sort of knowledge with software

– Have some understanding of technical skills.

– Be prepared to run general errands (ordering things over the phone, fetching things from the shop)

– Keeping the a studio tidy

– Organising equipment and products

– Preparation of props for the shoot.