As the title of this post suggests, things are starting to happen on the course now that I’ve been on it for 3 weeks.

Although I took Kim’s advice during the summer break about getting familiar with the interfaces of both Adobe InDesign and Illustrator via online courses that cost a fraction of the price this degree course does and they taught me more than the degree course has about those pieces of software, it’s nice to have Seb as a tutor. I knew he was a nice chap anyway from my time briefly chatting with him in the queue in the canteen during the foundation degree but, now that I’ve sat in a few of his classes, I have the confidence that he’s there for me as and when I need him during the course of this final year. I’m far from being the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to Adobe products and I still get flustered at the prospect of trying to remember how to use their stuff so I envision Seb will be receiving several emails from me over the next few months.

Although, at the time of writing this, I’m still a little confused about the layout of the course and which assignments go with which modules (even though it says it on the assignment sheets) I’ve decided to stop stressing about the whole course and just concentrate on what’s in front of me. At this moment in time that involves working on the collaboration project for Lee and the project proposal for Dave and Kim. I’m aware that we have quite a few deadlines in December as well but they are being worked towards in the background too.

Collaboration Assignment

Although I would have much preferred to have done this assignment in the same way as I believe previous years have by having the sessions at the LCB Depot (I do feel that we’re missing out if, indeed, previous years have done that), I’m kind of enjoying this assignment now that our team has an idea in mind for our proposal.

The team consists of myself, Amber Baxter from the AMSE course and Will Bailey from graphics. Although I’d rather be face-to-face with people as I don’t really like talking on the phone or over the internet, I actually feel that we three get on ok. Amber appears shy and didn’t turn her camera on in ZOOM until the third week but has inputted a lot to the group already even though she’s concerned that her speciality might not help much, and Will has already created the logo (which is ok but not what I would have created…if I could draw) and come up with the basis of an idea that we currently seem to be running with and gradually evolving into something that might work. I don’t know what Amber’s on about as I’m starting to think I’m not doing anything yet. Having said that, I seem to be the spokesperson for the group more often than not although I know the other two would do it if I didn’t. After 2 years on the foundation course with a bunch of people who sat around and offered absolutely zero input to class discussions and many of whom also then offered sweet-FA in group assignments (and yet still managed to get a good final grade…but that’s another gripe) it’s nice to finally be in a group that seems to be a bit more mature and actually interested in what they’re doing. Wills attendance can be a bit hit-and-miss but, hey, I’m not his dad.

I feel that Seb’s teaching (and the online course I took) have prepared me for creating the booklet we have to do in conjunction with this assignment and I really like the fact that Lee has introduced us to both Trello and Slack.

Slack Logo

Trello is a place on the internet where we, as a team, can put all our research, files, URL links, sketches, ideas, questions, mood boards etc. Basically, anything and everything to do with the assignment. 

Trello dashboard

The fact that we can put each team member’s contact information on there is great but I think that my favourite feature is that we can assign tasks to individuals or groups of people on there. This just helps us to keep people in check and clearly see if someone isn’t pulling their weight. Oh my days, how I could have done with this for EVERY group assignment during the foundation degree!

Slack, to me, seems to be a combination of both WhatsApp and Discord. It’s a chat app that allows for the creation of rooms in a Discord kind of way. Again, it’s a great piece of software that our group is slowly starting to make use of.

After a couple of weeks of being in our team, we now have a company name; Prestige Creative, a logo (that I’m not totally sure suits the name), and the basis of an idea.

Prestige Creative

I’m not totally against the logo and we can justify it by saying that the word “prestige” informs potential clients that we are reputable, honest, loyal, hard-working and, basically, good at what we do. The logo, on the other hand, shows that we’re not actually a stuffy, pompous, up our own backsides company that some might think of when they hear the name. It shows that we’re actually fun-loving, playful creatives who are approachable and friendly. I just think that we might be mixing messages by trying to do too much with logo and name. I feel that I may need to approach the team for a discussion about this but I don’t want to upset or annoy anyone or cause more work for someone else seeing as I’m not a logo-making type of person, even though I’d like to be. Maybe going with the white text on black background helps a little as it feels a little more serious (as our name suggests) than the others. I definitely don’t want to go with the more animated ‘e’ as that’s just a step too far in my opinion.

Project Proposal

Now that I’ve finally realised that the project proposal and business proposals are different pieces of written work for different modules, I’m finally starting to understand. Over the summer break, we were tasked with writing a draft of our project proposals. Well, I wrote mine as if it was a business proposal draft in which I banged on about all the different income streams I was wanting to investigate. Thankfully, our subject specialist tutor, Dave, scheduled a tutorial with us photographers early on in the proceedings. I’ve now had mine and understand what I’m working towards. He’s guided me into concentrating on one aspect of my business plan and ride with that for my project. I’ve also now got an understanding of what work I’m going to produce for the project as that was another area of confusion (I told you I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box). I was confused as to what was expected of us as the brief just kept mentioning “the project”. A project on what?!

I’m still writing my project proposal but will, basically, be using this module to producing a digital and physical portfolio of my work photographing the sport of airsoft as well as establishing myself an online presence within the ‘scene’. This sport is, perhaps, best explained as being like paintball but better. It’s more of a simulation of real weapons and warfare as opposed to paintball which is now more of an arena sport when taken seriously. The folks playing airsoft spend thousands upon thousands of pounds each year on the sport and the vast majority of them seem to love seeing themselves in images dressed up in their camo whilst wielding their weapon (get your mind out of the gutter!).

The reason I know these people like seeing themselves in images and are willing to pay for them is because I play the hobby and love it. I haven’t paid for anyone’s images of me as I believe I can do better but I know that the people I play with go mad for images, even if they’re, well, a bit crap.

The images below are a few from my first attempt at shooting at an airsoft game day.

Click an image above for a larger version.

Currently, I’ve only photographed at one airsoft game day and I must admit that I had as much fun photographing the sport as I have playing it. I love trying to capture cool, arty, action images as well as what I imagine to be environmental portraits. I also enjoy interacting with the players as a photographer whilst out on the battlefield and inside the safezone between games. I can see me enjoying setting up a little table at future game days and events with examples of my work and lots of my branding, website and social media information as well as my contact details on it and posted around the safezone to further myself as the go-to guy for airsoft imagery. I say imagery as I’d like to eventually offer a compositing service as the players like to see themselves put into their favourite shooter games like Call of Duty whilst in their airsoft camouflaged kit.

I’m currently trying to figure out an editing style I like and will eventually offer an option of ‘clean’ or ‘edited in my style’ for images people can buy. I just need to figure out the look I like and how the hell I create it in Lightroom whilst also working on my in-camera compositions to separate myself from all the other Tom, Dick and Sallys who are out there taking snaps of airsoft games.

Things are indeed starting to roll in a positive direction as I gain focus with the help of the tutors!