1st Year Reflective Report

My first year studying Photographic Journalism has been great, I have vastly improved my technical skills both with the camera, and the editing and publishing stages of putting my photographs online.  Being at university has taught me a lot about myself, what my strengths are, and what I need to improve on in my second year. Before I chose this course I thought about doing a more art based photography course, but I am glad I made this decision because I think this course gives me a better understanding of the industry and will help me get a job in an area I am interested in, far better than an art based course would of been able to do. Also I have friends who are currently studying art based photography courses and they don’t think they are being taught anything that will help them turn their photography into a career.

I found myself in new surroundings during the very first project of the year, previously I had not photographed many people on the street, but the ‘Does the shoe fit?’ project forced me to experiment with my style more than I had done before in college and with my own personal photography. The project made me think more ‘outside of the box’ and I think I did very well with this, producing good quality images that were fit for purpose and suited the project theme.

With our second project I found myself in more familiar territory. My shoots in the German Market, Tropical World, the shutter speed and the Halloween themed shoot all went very well and I am happy with the images that I produced. Out of the all the shoot the one I would want to do again was the Halloween one, I think this one was rushed, I am happy with the images I got but I think if I had spent more time planning this shoot it could of been a lot better. The one I was most happy with was the Tropical World shoot. I had just bought a telescopic zoom so was eager to give it its first test run on a shoot. I think the shots of the meerkats and the Camen are the best of the shoot as I used the telescopic lens well and singled out certain animals which almost showed a personality.

The photo story project was a very important part of the year for me, In all of my photography that I had done previously, I had never given much thought into how my images could tell a story. I started thinking about how I could use certain signs and signifyers in my images to make sure my audience understand the story I am trying to tell.

Before I started this course I knew pretty much nothing about journalism, I had done well with English Literature at college so I knew how construct an essay, but writing for journalism is completely different. I have learnt how to be more concise in my writing, putting more information into smaller paragraphs and learnt how to lay text out so it doesn’t seem to my audience that they are reading a book rather than my blog. It has opened my eyes to how easy it is get your work onto the internet, but how hard it is to get it seen alongside the millions of other people doing the same thing. Sites like Facebook and Twitter were just something I thought was for talking to friends on, but now I reaslise there is potential for these to become major media outputs for photographers and journalists. It is an exciting time in journalism as the more traditional print newspapers and magazines are shifting their efforts to their online versions.

The ‘Decade in Photography’ project was something that I feel I could of done a lot better on. I didn’t include as much information on the culture of the 60’s and instead spent too long trying to decide what to put in and what to leave out that I damaged myself by not just putting it together sooner rather than later and editing what I had. I spent a long time planning my presentation and I think I was convinced that if I had enough information to put in, the presentation itself would be rather easy to make, but I found that the technical side of making my presentation was far harder than finding what to put in it. This was because I had never used any video editing software before, and the software we were taught how to use was not available for my home computer. To get round this issue I think I should of done a bit more looking online for easier to use free software as the software I used was more for people who already had a high level of skill in video editing. I had to spend a lot of time finding out how to do things online which proved a huge time waster.

During the first few weeks of university my major fears was that I would not be able to keep up with the workload, and that I wouldn’t be as technically skilled with my camera and equipment. But I have found the workload bearable if you put the effort in early enough and make sure you are up to date with all deadlines.

Which brings me onto the subject of time management. I have struggled this year with managing my time properly. I have a tenancy to spend a lot of time on the areas that do not need so much attention, and not enough on aspects such as properly planning an essay, or organizing my work which would of made the final project so much easier. I know that this is my major downfall and I am determined to improve on this for next year.

My first year has gone so fast I’m not absolutely sure where it has gone, I have enjoyed the year so much both the course and living away from home. I have become much more independent and I have made friendships I am sure will last far past my time at university.

I am looking forward to my next year at university and am eager to learn new techniques and further my understanding of the journalism industry.

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