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"Photography is a Lifestyle Choice"

So I'm nearing the end of my NC Photography course!

The Learning curve has been phenomenal.

I am shooting in manual mode ALL the time, understanding settings and technical jargon that I was petrified would never sink in.

Gaining confidence with each new experience.

The experiences are endless!

In every direction you look, there is something to learn, and not just about Photography, but about Life and yourself. Not just from your lecturers either, from fellow students, your own experiences and others experiences. I've never understood more than now, that life and your experiences all have a lesson and teach you something, regardless!

We were told by our Lecturers whilst organizing our own Exhibition, that we won't fail, because each obstacle is a lesson for next time!

In Photography you really do start to understand that there is no such thing as failing if you keep trying and learn from the experiences. Try everything, what have you got to loose, either it will work or it wont, regardless you gain that knowledge!

All those fears I had, at the beginning, how much I worried!

Manual Mode


Studio Equipment


Being in a Social Situation

Dark Room

Film Photography


Apple Macs

Just to name a few!

Recently while going through the process of putting my Portfolio together, I started to learn just how much emotional attachments to your work and your own critique can hinder your judgement.

I shot an Image a while ago at the West end of Glasgow. An area that I had not explored no where near as much as I wanted to until this year. I loved that someone had went out their way to attach this old rusty bike into an old wall next to a tatty old gate to create quite an eccentric visual look, so I took a photograph. When I got home, I had been looking forward to seeing this shot, but was disappointed at how flat looking it was, so I discarded it into my archives of images.

As an exercise we were asked to get 20 potential images together print them 4 to an a4 sheet of standard paper, cut them out for viewing, I had 14 and was asked to look over some of my other images to make up to 20. So this image just happened to be flung in with no major thought.

This is when I learnt exactly what was meant when we were told we should get into the habit of printing our images and viewing them as prints and not just on screen!

On Plain Printer paper, printed from the college library the image came to life, I only then started seeing its potential! As we spread our prints and got opinions and thoughts from each other, I began to realize that this image had more potential than I gave it credit, but I was still hung up on how flat it looked on screen. So I discussed this with my lecturer when she too suggested it should make my Portfolio. I showed her the difference between the printed image and the image on screen, her "hmm" told me she seen my point, then she suggested I give it just a slight "S" curve in curves.

I've never done this in Photoshop, one of those many things that I had no idea how to use so stayed away from it, I played with the curves once and it did drastically scary things to my image that didn't look great at all so I stayed away from it. But recently I had researched Solarization and learnt how to emulate that using Photoshop curves in digital images which gave me just a little more understanding of Curves than what I previously had.

So I pulled the image up in Photoshop and did exactly as I was instructed, I created a very slight "S" curve and was amazed at how much it brought the colours to life! Finally I understood!

So it went into my profile!

I started using Curves in Photoshop much more.

A few weeks Later, that dreaded interview arrived.

The one that decides whether I get a conditional offer to continue on to HND Photography after Summer!

Guess what, I was absolutely petrified again! Scared of stumbling over my words, not expressing what I wanted to and essentially making a complete sham of the interview.

We got a Glimpse before we were interviewed of the two questions we would be asked;

1. What Personal qualities and Photographic skills would you bring to your studies at COGC?

2. From your photography portfolio, choose one example and explain why you feel it is a significant or strong image.

So I had an idea how I was answering these, as difficult as it was to come up with an answer, for question 1. I knew I would tell of my eccentric perceptions and my Passion for photography. Technical skills I was less confident about discussing, but I knew I had gained confidence working in the studio and with the equipment. For question 2 I had decided to talk about the image I had chosen from the Make-Up Artist Graded Unit Photo-shoot I had done, how the imaged captured the quirkiness of the character which appeals to my eccentricity.

Eventually it was my turn to be interviewed, Eeeek!

Not only did I manage to express what I wanted to, but I also managed to find a descriptive Ace up my sleeve I'd no idea was there. So I was trying to express my Passion for Photography and said "To me Photography is not just a job, it's a Lifestyle choice, a way of life" And I just continued on to answer the rest. I continued to respond adequately I believe. I was so stunned at the end of the interview that not only had I stumbled on words but had managed to pull a descriptive phrase out of no where, that I didn't do my usual dissection of every little thing I didn't quite say as well as I wanted, it didn't bother me that on the "Photographic" skills question the Lecturer interviewing me had helped prompt a more extensive reply by being engaging and asking questions.

I was feeling Positive!

My Dark Room experiences were just another surprising Positive.

I actually find myself loving the experience, the process is so simple once you know how!

It really Does Slow you right down! Most definitely appeals to my Reclusive Introvert Nature.

After working on my Portfolio I realized that it lacked an image that strongly shows my photoshop skills and my slow shutter skills.

Whilst in imaging class playing around with Photoshop layers and Double Exposures I created a potential Portfolio Image.

Just last week we were told about a competition we could enter;


As advised I brought my Portfolio into college to be looked over, when I came in to collect my film Prints, the Lecturer that interviewed seen me in the hall and I asked if my Lecturer was in. They were discussing my Portfolio as they walked towards me and my Lecturer though it being the first time he had seen my Portfolio flipped quickly to two Images, one was my Window Lighting Image and the other.... was that Image that almost never made it to my Portfolio.

He advised one of the two and it was my choice.

The Lecturer who interviewed me asked if I agreed with the advice, I must have sounded unsure, but I replied yes I've had allot of positive feedback from both images, my issue is that I realize my emotional attachment to other images has influenced how I view these.

After seeking outside advice, because it was becoming quite apparent that my own view of my work was clouded by harsh critique and emotional attachment, I chose the one that almost didn't make it.


Photography Truly is a way of Life for me.

It is such an integrated part of who I am that without it I would be unrecognizable as me!

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