Category Archives: Professionally Set Projects

The Image

Today I shot the first part of this image on a black background using high speed flash and a macro lens. I photographed the chameleon is a series of poses but couldn’t get it to pose correctly with arms outstretched as illustrated in my original plan. I altered the idea slightly and went for the image below with the chameleon holding on to the top of the branch. I think it looks like she is worried with a slightly downward titling mouth and eyes looking down too. Chameleons have an amazing ability to move their eyes independently and still be able to focus and this dexterity really helps me to create an emotion in the subject. I persuaded her to look down by holding a mealworm just below the frame and wiggling it to catch her attention. This was one of the more challenging shoots but I am happy with the results and think this image will make a strong starting point. Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 21.42.42

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once home I was able to shoot the rest of the stick using the same camera settings and lighting. and merged the two together in photoshop.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 21.44.27I then shot smoke using a mist machine I have made and overlaying these layers onto the original. I have also changed the ration of the image so it is in landscape format. My research images were a mixture of both landscape and portrait but since this image is intended for web use and most screens are landscape I decided to select this orientation. The smoke layers have also been coloured to match similar images of forrest fires smoke that I found on the internet. Shooting the original image on black allowed these layers to be quite simply merged.

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Photographing the same stick again I doused it in lamp oil and set it on fire. That image was then added to the original. The image was shot outside and the wind was effecting the direction of the flamed to counteract this I used multiple layers of fire to give an even burn on the stick. Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 21.46.42

This was the image I came up with. I am pretty happy with the result using the same stick allows for more realistic editing and some other flames were added at the bottom of the image to emulate a real forrest fire. I consulted a few of my colleagues and they suggested I maker the flames even more prominent and add more smoke. I think that this will make the picture even more dramatic but looking at the other images WWF uses I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.


I am very pleased with the final image. Photoshop is not one of my strongest points but I have really enjoyed shooting all the plates and editing them together. I made a few final adjustments to the final image. I added more flame and smoke dodged and burned the chameleon so that it looks as if the fire is partly lighting it and gave its underside an orange glow. I also added an orange glow to the smoke edges and colour toned the whole image. I think the image fits with the other WWF campaigns that I have seen both in subject matter and presentation and I look forward to hearing the results from the competition. Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 21.47.19

My Image

My image will consist of a single chameleon on a branch reaching out across to another branch that is obviously out of reach. I will use two lights one soft light directly on the chameleon and the other a rim light will orange gel to look like burning. one the chameleon shoot is finished I will photograph the branches again charcoal mark them and burn the ends as if they were burned apart I will use a smoke machine to create a smoky mist for hang over the image and will blend this into my final image. Shooting these images separately will give me more creative power over which area are to be affected and will mean the chameleon can be photographed in a completely safe environment.

I have made a very crude mock up of the final photograph  using stock images. I find this useful to see how I would start to build an image as my sketching skills are pretty poor. I will photograph the chameleon first as it will be the hardest and most unpredictable parts of the image to capture and I can build the rest of the set to fit around it.

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The Statistics.

Reading about the conservation efforts for Madagascar and they all seem to revolve around the deforestation on the island. there are only 20% of the original forests left and its not so much the destruction of these forrest as there are still many miles of untouched land. but its the isolation of these sections that’s having a very serous effect on the wildlife. living in small isolated areas is effecting the breeding of so many different species and the ecosystem relies on these species. most of the land is burnt for agricultural land and I want to produce an image that shows this clearly but also very visually. The subjects that I have chosen (chameleons) cant get away from these fires and they are being pushed into smaller and smaller areas. I plan to use fire, and burning branches in this project to show the deforestation up close.

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Images that show this deforestation almost violently seem to be quite popular with wildlife conservation organisations. an immediate danger to the subject is a good way of catching the eye and forcing a reaction with your viewer.


I have decided to photograph Chameleons for this project I think they are a good representation of a species that is under threat but is not a well publicised this project will hopefully bring more attention to these wonderful animals and the struggles they are facing in the wild. I think there bright colours and prehistoric appearance will make them an eye-catching subject and will help them to stand out. I have sourced a number of them in Glasgow and plan to photograph them at there owners home unsung a portable studio. Unfortunately there are very few rare species of chameleon in captivity so the ones I will be working with are Yemen or Veiled  Chameleons.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

They are not the most unusual chameleons but can have some beautiful patterns and are one of the more sturdy species making them ideal pets.

Photographing chameleons is a tricky business they can be very temperamental and don’t like change. Even sudden movements can spook them and a byproduct of this is becoming very dark and dull coloured. I plan to use the colour of the chameleon to illustrate my point using its skin as a canvas for my message and I need the chameleon light coloured to make this process as simple as possible. The animal will be placed on a bench that it is used to and photographed with low power flash. I plan to keep the shoot as short as possible as stress for these guys can be fatal. I plan to create a pattern of the chameleons body to represent a statistic about habitat destruction or dwindling numbers. using colour tools I hope to show clearly the statistic in a visually and easy to digest fashion as I believe this is one of the most powerful ways to convey your concept.

WWF Adverts

WWF Have a large collection of adverts and have commissioned many photographers to shoot for them. The create visually and conceptually strong images for their campaigns. These images are by photographer Simon Harsent and depicts a selection of endangered animals as ghostly figures in natural landscapes. This project won at the D&AD advertising award in 2013 and is a wonderful example of conceptual conservation advertising. Although these images are wonderfully executed and have won awards I don’t think they fit into a social media brief. I Think my images will need to be brighter more colourful and obvious.  1Scsf1kg22maDHFpnthw9hqfRKTLQyx7QMyYyZ3t3y7R5FOx8WSGZ1Q5D3mEy638n AryNZ5bfX9qTwh1DkwrC7fOyett6EPD2TswP2ELS7Sb1gxj8amKOcO7d4WY1rSzSO mnfGMExTkF76SgES76mZm3nh9H9n6Xp71PK1r2sfeaFXM4eTWXYxf5afm4EdysAK6 XZRkpfT7R7P4j4rbWnBM5Ls7aXCnADZhNTX8QOrWe7NGmpaRe7RD5sYQKmSxPLYXCI found these advertisements for Endangered Wildlife Trust. They are by a collection of wildlife photographers and have (for me) one of the most powerful conservation messages because of the simplicity of the images but also because they show the whole story and give you the facts and figures in a very simple but visually powerful image. I think showing the facts in such an easily digestible way is perfect for this brief. The only problem I have with this project is the size of the images and the text. Its crucial to the concept that the images only take up a small part of the campaign but this was a print based advertising campaign and I don’t think negative space works as effectively on web and social media. I plan to take the positives from both these projects the stunning nature of Harsent’s work and the simplicity and statical nature of the EWT adverts. 201107182301151177 201107182301276676 wildlife_protection_wild_dog

And My Subject Matter is…

I have decided to create an image for WWF.

Focusing specifically on Madagascar as a region and the chameleon populations on the island.

This is the page on the WWF website for Madagascar.

It mentions chameleons but doesn’t go into much detail about their status. Madagascar is home to nearly half the worlds chameleons and although only a few of these species are classed as critically endangered the rate of deforestation in Madagascar will cause many more of these wonderful species to become endangered. I found an article about the chameleons of Madagascar and its stresses the importance of saving these species before its too late.

My Chosen Subject Is…

I have chosen to shoot for the Tim Flach animal conservation brief. I feel this brief suits my work better and I think the judges would be less likely to select an animal image from another brief when this one is animal based.

I am looking at this brief from an adverting viewpoint and want to create an image that will grab viewers attention and also have a clear and obvious message.

I plan to work with colour. This is a campaign for social media and should be developed to fit this setting. With the attention span of online viewers estimated to be less than 8 seconds getting your message across quickly is more important than ever. I plan to create an image that not only captures the venires attention but gives its message fast and bluntly this should maximise the success of the campaign.