Photography is all about capturing that one moment within a fraction of a second that will live forever, elements of the environment can determine how you achieve that moment but one thing is for certain; control is the key factor, whether that’s in the great but restricting outdoors or the much more controllable indoors, where our team continued to explore.

It was that time of the month where the TICE Photography programme is at its most exciting but also most chaotic point in the calendar year, I’m talking about the studio day of course, based at the glorious Mandela Building in Newcastle College where our guys and girls from Longbenton High School and Berwick Academy invaded the photography studio to get some hands on experience on what it’s like to step into the shoes of a professional studio photographer.

The day kicked off with a quick brief on the ins and outs of how to shoot in a studio, starting off with a quick health and safety rule; lights can be your best friend when it comes to shooting but your worst enemy if you try to wrestle them. The team were enlightened with a handout and some firsthand pointers from Katie stating what are good poses and not so good poses, other factors like position, facial expression and actions being key elements to bringing out one’s personality in an image. They were taught key cinematography features that further add to the image’s perception like High key and Low key lighting and what their effects are, we also set them off with a basic lighting set up which showed them where to position your subject from the camera and backdrop and where your lights should go in order to illuminate the subject properly, and from then on they could experiment to their hearts desire.

Armed with all the knowledge of a primed Cindy Sherman, the group set up shop in the studio and set to work on producing their images. Having shot with studio lights a number of times I particularly love the amount of freedom and control you have and the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. The group took full advantage of this feature and produced some fantastic material.

Scott from Berwick was certainly creative as a model, strutting several postures and conveying all sorts of emotions as were the rest of the group. The team swapped around with their backgrounds to ensure that they had the opportunity to play around with the set ups, the boys were certainly impressive on the modelling front but the girls weren’t going to let them get ahead of themselves. Several of the girls pulled cartwheels, jumps, spins and hair flicks out of the bag to bring out some motion and dynamic that made their images even better, while others experimented with the framing, zooming from wide to close in order to capture more detail on the facial expressions (of which there were many) adding a more personal touch to the photos. This ties in to what Katie mentioned at the end of the day;

“It’s amazing how much your personalities are shown from these photographs.”

After a glorious lunch break the group were quickly debriefed before the arrival of today’s very special guests, professional wedding photographers; Caroline Briggs and Paul Santos.

The two were very charming and insightful. I could tell that they had very good working relationship throughout their presentation which included a run down what they do and how they get hired to shoot weddings. It was pleasure to listen to them and to view their work. A particular remark that Paul made throughout the talk was ‘capturing the moment’ shown perfectly in an image of a couple with the hand of a lady squeezing the knee of her partner.

“This is something that no one will see, but they will remember it.”

And that is part of the beauty of photography is making moments like that last a lifetime, and to achieve that Paul had to be constantly looking around, ready and waiting for that split second like a viper in the sand waiting for its prey. Gosh, I come up with some weird analogies!

Anyway photography can be about so much more then capturing the moment, it can be about planning and creating a spectacle, as Caroline soundly demonstrated with one of her images showing the newly wedded couple on a lovely beach with a flock of seagulls swooping across the image, very stylistic shot and as Caroline explained it did take some preparation and setting up, much like the group did today with the studio lights as you put more graft into the preparation in order to achieve some fantastic end results.

After wrapping up the talk our students wanted to ask some questions about the ins of outs of a professional photographer’s career path, one participant from Longbenton asked if they had worked for free to get to where they are, and indeed they did. In this industry you have to work for free until you don’t have to, it demands more out of you but in my opinion you don’t work in this industry purely for the money as I’ve hoped the students have found out. Another question probed the best time of year for weddings which sparked a very interesting debate, Katie being a former wedding photographer herself joined in on this debate as it turns out September was the mutually agreed best time of the year. Personally I would thought more closer to summer time but to my surprise June was labelled the worst month, shows you how much I know about weddings!

On behalf of TICE we would like to thank Caroline and Paul for spending their time with us and sharing your experiences. And so concluded the most exciting day of the TICE Photography programme and what a day it was, hectic and chaotic but that’s exactly the sort of experience a photographer lives with – an experience that the group will take forward, as well as their well crafted creativity as they progress to the final stage. But the show isn’t over yet, oh no, we have a long way to go and for our group of talented students more exciting times are still to come. Watch this space.