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'I loved the entire experience' - my work experience blog

By Talia Emptage

After my work experience placement year from November 2022 to June 2023, I would like to share my thoughts and experiences when I was introduced to the world of business, working and learning alongside Dover Media Group.

Firstly, I can't begin to express how grateful I am to have been able to experience this opportunity, with the kindest, most caring and most welcoming people I have met, Jodie and Simon.

I was immediately welcomed with a warm greeting from Jodie and the sweetest kitty's ever (Luna and Loki). The team were more than willing to share their expertise and teach me the ins and outs of the industry. One thing that fascinated me the most was the diverse range of photography genres that Dover Media Group had to offer, from portrait photography, fashion shoots to product photography. Each week I was introduced to a unique set of challenges and creative opportunities.

My first task involved advertising photography, an entire new aspect of photography that I personally hadn't experienced yet, that I found hugely enjoyable despite the fact that I required quite a bit of help to get started.

I learnt how to use strobe lighting and composition techniques to create a successful and pleasing advertisement image. These techniques I have used all throughout my photography journey, to capture the viewer's eye and establish a pleasing composition.

My next task included individual planning and self assessment, combining techniques that I

had learnt the previous week and my own ideas and visuals. I utilized my time setting up equipment and lighting adjustments for my photo shoot, independently. Post completing my photo shoot and gathering several images with my desired effect, I proceeded to edit them alongside Jodie's help with teaching me skills on Photoshop. Despite my thorough planning, I was rather disappointed with the outcome of this shoot, prior and post editing. Jodie reassured me that it was OK to have photo shoots that aren't the best, as I can learn from them and it was just the start of my journey. I needed to re-assess the photo shoot and see how I could improve for next time.

In between photo shoots, I learned how to navigate around Photoshop and witness first-hand the meticulous attention to detail required to enhance and refine images. DMG's commitment to delivering high-quality photographs is evident in the countless hours they spend perfecting each image. Between photo shoots, Jodie taught me additional photography skills, that are important when running a business involving weddings, family and event photography, that has enhanced my ability to conclude decisions effectively.

Due to my last independent photo shoot not turning out how I would've liked, Jodie offered me the chance to complete another photo shoot with my own ideas and planning. Although the theme was completely different, I stuck with simple still life and tried to focus mainly on lighting and shadows, complementary colors, focus and other skills that I had learnt from Jodie.

These were the results-

I was much more happier with the results of this shoot, thanks to Jodie's advice.

In order to experience photography outside of a studio, similar to a possible wedding or other business scenario, I produced

a macro photo shoot outdoors, with Jodie teaching me how to consistently change my settings based off the natural light that was present. I also learnt other settings on my camera, that I didn't know of before. I put into action previous techniques that I had learnt from Jodie, such as the positioning of the focus and leading lines. These are just a selection of the photos that I captured when we were out, these are also a selection of some of my favorite photos.

To further my macro journey, I completed a macro photo shoot in the studio with strobe lighting, this allowed me to capture high levels of detail on the petals of the roses and to establish a clear focus with foreground, middle ground and background, as well as develop my confidence using strobe lighting in photography. Here my main aims were to ensure the focus was in the best place for the photo, whilst ensuring the lighting wasn't over exposing the image nor underexposing.

I was then introduced to the world of composite photography, involving assembling multiple images or elements into one final composition, with a variety of creative outcomes possible. Composite photography sanctions opportunities to push the boundaries of creativity.

In order to create this image I had to apply lots of knowledge about the direction of the light. I had to make sure that the light from the tea light on the book, was matched against Jodie herself, to create a realistic image. After I achieved the correct direction of light, Jodie taught me how to use layers in Photoshop and how to merge them, creating this photo-

This was my first portrait photo shoot, where Jodie and Simon taught me how to use strobe lighting in an outdoor setting, as well as the uses of the histogram on my camera, when adjusting the exposure of the highlights and shadows of an image. Additionally, I also learnt technical concepts, to help me with model directing and poses.

During my work experience, I learnt that being adaptable in various situations was mandatory. I quickly learnt that thinking on your feet, making quick adjustment and finding

creative solutions to unexpected obstacles is necessary for successful photography. Adapting to changing circumstances not only improved my technical skills but also taught me the importance of being flexible and open-minded in a fast-paced industry.

This photo shoot is an example of thinking on your feet. Jodie created a challenge for us collectively, to go to a local Pound land, pick a random subject, establish a theme and gather objects that we could use to reflect the theme. After rummaging through several subjects, we decided that the radio was our best bet and so we gathered a variety of objects to build up the composition. After achieving a shot I was happy with, I assessed my Photoshop skills, by applying several layers and textures that matched the upbeat theme.

For my most recent photo shoot, I learnt how to use a reflector when photographing portraits outside, with no strobe lighting. Jodie taught me how to direct the light from the sun towards the subject, creating effective highlights and shadows. I used a silver reflector in these images. However, I did experiment with a gold reflector, but it created too warm of a light.

Overall, my time with Dover Media Group has honestly been the best, most insightful experience and a chapter in my life I could never forget. I always looked forward to Wednesdays, where I would visit the studio and learn so much in one day about a subject I loved, surrounded by a positive, friendly and kind atmosphere, without the stresses that I am so used to experiencing in school. I believe by having explored more paths within the photography world during my experience, I am more knowledgeable and have been provided with a more rounded and versatile skill set, which in turn has made me more confident in my feelings around photography and more determined in my choice of choosing it as a potential career in the future. I can confidently say that the technical skills and knowledge I have gained, are typically something I would never have been able to obtain from any academic course. I am so grateful for the invaluable lessons and memories I have gained from my work experience at the studio and I look forward to applying what I have learnt to my future endeavor in photography.

So the biggest THANK YOU to Jodie and Simon for teaching me so much, giving me memories to cherish and skills and a passion for photography!!

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