The Bishop of Peterborough

The Bishop of Peterborough needed portraits of himself for any press releases and interviews that he may do. Up until this point he has made an effort to avoid having any images taken because he is very camera shy, this has given people the impression that he isn’t the kind hearted man that he is and he wanted to change that. Having these false impression were not good for him so these images really needed to change what some people may think of him. An important part of the brief was to show his true personality. We only had a very short period of time, one hour, to get a variety of different shots of different looks, moods and locations. This allowed me to work under pressure with a very limited time period, which is something as a photographer that I am not used to. I was worried that this would panic me and I wouldn’t get all of the required images, or they wouldn’t be to a standard that I was happy with. However I proved myself wrong and worked well under the pressure and produced a good set of images that both the client and myself were happy with. This has boosted my confidence and I now wouldn’t worry if a task with a similar time limit were given to me. Whenever these images are used I will be credited, this is great publicity for me and will increase my exposure as a photographer as well. As previously said the Bishop is very camera shy, he is in no way a performer and doesn’t like his photograph being taken, and this is something that I am not used to. All portraiture I have previously done has either been with someone I know or a performer, such as a model, actor/actress or someone used to being in front of a camera. Donald was very nervous when we arrived at the start of the shoot due to this fact, however at the end he told us that we made him feel very comfortable and he surprisingly enjoyed the experience very much. Not only is this nice to hear but it also shows that we are doing our job properly and directing our subject where it is appropriate yet not being too pushy.

From previous jobs I have learnt how to direct people that aren’t used to being in front of a camera more effectively and this was certainly displayed here. This includes making them feel comfortable and not too bossy, if they don’t feel like themselves then it won’t be a true reflection, as this was a big part of the brief I was conscious of making sure he was acting himself and not someone he isn’t. I have found that talking to the person and really getting to know them, before and during the shoot helps them relax. Throughout the whole shoot there was conversation about various things including him getting to know us and the other way around. This really relaxed him as as the shoot went on he considered us as someone that he knew a bit better and someone he felt confortable to talk to and he was therefore comfortable to pose for us as well.

I felt confident throughout this shoot, there were a few things that I noticed during the shoot that may have previously been a struggle however now I have the confidence and knowledge to solve these. An example of this is the equipment, previously I may not have been able to quickly and efficiently set this up however we were able to do this in the hour and have some extra time as well. I also knew to look around the rooms that we could use and check lighting changes, looking where the natural light came from and deciding if we needed any extra studio lights. The knowledge that I have gained from previous experience about lighting really came in handy for this job and allowed me to produce images to the best standard. Another issue was the reflection of light in Donald’s glasses, this is something that couldn’t be entirely avoided however I feel like we produced enough images where this wasn’t an issue for both the client and myself to be happy. Below are a few images that didn’t work as well, mainly when the Bishop was talking or where the light reflection in his glasses was particularly bad.

This just shows a few examples of how the images developed over the shoot and provides a comparison between the good and the bad. Although these images may not have been suitable to send to the client as they wouldn’t of been used in any press releases, I don’t think that this is a bad reflection on my work but more just those few images that don’t work. The lighting within these is still good it just maybe wasn’t a particularly flattering image.

Below are the contact sheets of the edited images that were sent to the client, I have highlighted the images that I think work best in red and a few of these have also been enlarged below.

Photographing the Bishop was a great experience and has a higher value than a lot of the other jobs that I have completed. It allows me to work on another one of my weaknesses, as I am not used to often photographing people with the use of studio light or directing them. As well as this I now know that I can work under pressure and can complete the tasks at hand and to a good standard. I now know that I can set up and use studio lights efficiently and direct my subject whilst still making them feel comfortable.

Meeting notes with Shelly:

  • Photographs to be used for the next 3 years at least, need: several different outfits, different locations within his ‘palace’, different moods which would be appropriate for any interview, copies in both black and white and colour sent in jpeg format- ‘ready to use’
  • Showing what the Bishop is like is very important. The images need to reflect his kindness and personality.
  • 1 hour to set up before the Bishop arrives and 1 hour to shoot all of the images
  • The different outfits that were needed- need an outfit for every occasion
  • Some images need to be in front of a black backdrop. At least one image from each outfit in this format
  • We have full creative control, we being the photographers know best and what we think will work. Shown all of the rooms available and it is up to us where we shoot and to direct Donald (the Bishop)
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