What does it mean to Create? I’ve often thought that the process of creation is to design, construct and illustrate a consumable product of a believable and often formulaic genre with the purpose to entertain a target audience.

While to a degree that may be true, creation is about so much more; it’s about expressing your ideas, taking a piece of yourself and displaying it for the world to see. Many forms of creation such as films, magazine covers, posters, sculptures, fashion products and paintings are all part of a world of entertainment that we escape to on a regular basis; however the underlying thoughts and ideas behind this constructed world are in fact real.

With that said our team of bright young photographers are all ready to create. The TICE photography group have made it to the create stage and on our first day we found ourselves at the University of Sunderland; the No.1 Uni for Photography, Video and Digital Image BA (Hons) in the U.K.

The team were given a tour by Craig Ames; Senior Lecturer in Photography who showed them some of the facilities that could await them in their future; a wide range of Film and Pro Nikon cameras, dark rooms, studios and lights galore. I’m personally a Canon over Nikon person but I’ll let that one slide for now…

Regrouping at room 301 the team started working on their project brief ahead of their big shoot at Belsay Hall. The team specialised in a variety of areas like fashion, portrait and landscape and started to gather images of what they would like to shoot at Belsay, the group were definitely quick to gather plenty of material and I saw quite a few nicely designed mood boards.

Research and planning is key to any shoot, although that was a big part of the day the team had to dig deeper. In order to really get an idea of what they were going to shoot they had to get out and put their ideas to the test.

The weather was very kind today (mostly) and so the team got stuck in experimenting with their surroundings and taking advantage of particular situations; a key learning point they had taken from the explore stage which I was certainly impressed with. Watching them shoot it was clear that they took the initiative and it seemed like they never ran out of things to take images of, not only that but they also took the time to reflect and view their images mid shoot. Although they may not have that opportunity come Belsay Hall, it’s definitely important for them to have a well laid out plan and they certainly have just that.

As we regrouped at base there was a clear feeling of readiness amidst the team and myself and Katie had nothing much confidence in them. The day had made them that much stronger and the photography team are on a stable path to Belsay hall and the final show, if anything they proved that you can be both of those without losing their seats in the TICE create stage.

Onto the shoot!

We arrived at the lovely sunny Belsay Hall, it was almost ten years since I last visited this lovely place so coming back and doing what I love doing in photography it was a great day for me personally. It was an even better day for the team, when the pressure was on they delivered some excellent results on what was a very productive shoot day.

To kick-off the day we had a team of local makeup artists designers and glamorous models from Tyne Tees Models come in during the morning to prep for the Fashion and Portrait groups, I think this was a valuable lesson in that a shoot doesn’t just entail showing up to a nice location with a camera and taking a load of photos.

A lot of the time a shoot day takes quite a bit of preparation as exampled by make-up artist Victoria as she spent a her morning working on the models and it doesn’t just end there. Not only did our photographs have direct the artist to a look that they are going for, but some also picked out the outfits from our designer, again this is to help further achieve the look and style that the team have researched for.

Whilst the models were getting ready the team had a scout around the location, Katie obviously knew her way around easily and pointed out some good spots for shooting, I did take a little while to re-familiarise myself with the gardens but found my way around by the end.  After a good scout and once everyone was ready, it was time to shoot.

I have to say I was thoroughly impressed by some of the shots that were produced that day, I followed the fashion and portrait guys around the house first and one the things I noticed is that whilst lining up some POV shots is that the composition of the model and the angles that were being utilized made for an excellent frame. You know when the frame looks good in real view that the shot itself if going to look even better, so I think when it comes to edit day we’re going to see some outstanding work.

The landscape group took advantage of the excellent fields and gardens of Belsay for some amazing shots as well, the gardens are so vibrant and colourful that the team will certainly have a good time editing and getting the absolute most out of the colours.

Belsay is a great area for wide angled shots just as well as close ups and portraits, across the day I saw all kinds of shots and perspectives being used as the team were going the extra mile to get a wide variety of photos as well as the types of shots they had not originally intended to shoot, even when you have a game plan it does pay to be experimental.

While yet another long and gruelling shoot day came to a close it was clear that some amazing work had been produced, but then it was onto the edit suite to perfect them.

And so it was another intensive but important day as the group began work to edit their photos down to the best of the best. The hard work was done and now the group looked towards taking their work and extracting all the potential from it in a bid to impress all at the final show, no doubt they certainly will.

It’s been a successful year of weather dodging; it was rainy and dull so thank goodness we were indoors! The group arrived back at their Sunderland base and had a tutorial on Photoshop by Lottie, Illustrator and TICE Fashion mentor. She introduced the group to the basics of the software and offered her own insight into her uses. Lottie ran through how to crop, colour balance and how to brighten or darken certain part of the image, simple tools to use however when used correctly and collectively it can make a substantial difference to any image.

After a quick warm up and practice the team began the lengthy process of deciding their best images to use for the showcase, speaking from personal experience this is both an easy and difficult process. Some images stand out above the rest which makes things easy, however others images can be closely matched depending what type of story you’re wanting to tell, this can make choosing between them a difficult process but the team surged through. From my point of view I saw some clear favourites that are surely heading straight to the final showcase.

Editing is always a complex task, you only spent a fraction of a second taking a photo but could spend far longer editing it, there are many factors to consider; how much of the image are you wanting to display and how much should be cropped? Colour balancing is also a huge part, especially for the landscape group wanting to add depth and vibrance to their images. The Fashion and Portrait groups were looking for a softer look to create a smoother contrast.  A frequent occurrence was using a black and white background and colouring to the subject whether it was a leaf, model or even my hand in one particular image, what a claim to fame that would be.

In all seriousness the group has been amazing; not only in the past week or so but throughout this whole course they’ve really applied themselves. They’ve taken on board the insight into the whole and industry and have been given opportunities to explore different career paths for any potential future. They’ve created their work and will display for friends and family to see at the final show, it’s a privilege to document the group on their journey and personally I’m very much looking forward to seeing a great gallery of hard work 7 months in the making.

Thank you to all of our hosts and collaborators for #TICEPhotography!

Check out the final projects below!

Fashion Photography:

Portrait Photography:

Landscape Photography: