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04-15-2013, 10:19 AM   #1
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Photography Project Ideas'

So I'm just taking a basic photography class while I finish up my last semester at a community college. The final project is to create 6 photos that tell a story. I've never done something like this so I'm excited and a little anxious at the same time. So far, my photography has been all over the place testing the waters and trying every new technique I learn. So for this project, I need to narrow things down, and I'm finding it difficult coming up with an idea.

I want to do this project on something that I'm passionate about, because in the end, I think it will reflect in the final product. I love aviation, so I was thinking about going to the local airport and seeing if I could take some portraits with pilots and their respective aircraft. What do you guys think? Any tips/advice for this sort of thing?

04-15-2013, 10:38 AM   #2
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Aye, that sounds like a great idea, especially if the pilot portrait can reflect something of the aircraft they fly.

For example a WW2 air show display pilot wearing his WW2 flying jacket, a biplane pilot in his Biggles googles, you get the idea.

It would be a bit more difficult if they all fly modern civil aircraft.

Would be interesting if you go this route, to post up your images when your done.
04-15-2013, 10:53 AM   #3
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"A day in a pilot's life" - that's a cool idea.
Take a lot of pictures ... A LOT ... with the pilot/pilots doing different activities and choose the ones that describe the best your story. Make sure you put the pilot in the story and don't just capture portraits .

Last edited by mrNewt; 04-15-2013 at 11:01 AM.
04-15-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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You can reliably predict that almost everybody will come up with realistic photo's in a standard format and they are made as sharp as possible. If you want to stand out from the group you must take risks. You can try a surrealistic subject, tell a story in a small world with macro photos, or try an unusual camera standpoint. You can combine that with Black+White (if that's allowed), a square format, or a special border (that's risky)

04-15-2013, 11:26 AM   #5
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Uhhh ... I'd stay away from borders ... that's risky ... :/ ...

B&W sounds like a good idea however ... depends on the final images I guess.
04-15-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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You might also consider attending an air show in your area, this might give you a larger cross section of different planes and the people that fly them.

Whatever way you go, think about posting your project to the forum.
04-15-2013, 12:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Aye, that sounds like a great idea, especially if the pilot portrait can reflect something of the aircraft they fly.

For example a WW2 air show display pilot wearing his WW2 flying jacket, a biplane pilot in his Biggles googles, you get the idea.

It would be a bit more difficult if they all fly modern civil aircraft.

Would be interesting if you go this route, to post up your images when your done.
I get what you're saying. Just getting flight instructors next to their Cessna's would be a little boring lol. Luckily for me there's an old aerodrome nearby and they're constantly putting on shows flying WWI era planes, so that's a fantastic idea.

I was thinking of maybe trying something surreal or abstract, but I really can't think of anything unique that would be able to tell a story. I mean I guess I could just go out in a field and wrap a white pillowcase over my face. . Honestly though, I've been wanting to try something like that but it just might not be for me. I feel like I would be trying way too hard if I went that route and they'd look pretty cheesy
04-15-2013, 12:30 PM   #8
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Working on the aviation theme - maybe you could do a set on the ground crew that work the airport (if it is big enough to have several crew), or if there is a repair hanger you might be able to see an old plane being repaired or restored?

04-15-2013, 12:45 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Depending on the time you have, a good idea is to take pictures of a disassembled engine or aircraft in different stages of repair/overhaul and eventually back in flight....
04-15-2013, 01:48 PM   #10
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Airport USA - Hope it's a little airport or they might call in the swat team
I am not allowed to take photographs inside Australian shipping ports because of US bullying tactics.

If all else fails to get off the ground - you could get together 6 photos that explains to me what is unique and important about your neighborhood so I can compare to mine
04-15-2013, 02:05 PM   #11
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The best is something that doesn't require a lot of permits. So maybe think about aviation at a smaller airport without international flights. The security there won't be as high and it will be easier to get permission (send a letter/email way in advance, these things can take a long while), and people will probably be more open to it because you aren't disturbing them at their job.
For photo projects you can do just about any series, as long as there is some element that ties the photos together, without need for a long explanation. You can look at the photo contests on this forum for an idea, and just take a couple photos on a specific topic, maybe even trying to get similar photos to the winning/your favourite entries.
04-15-2013, 03:12 PM   #12
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I should have probably mentioned the airport in question is indeed, very small. I was also a student at their flight school a couple years ago.
04-15-2013, 04:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by csmoore Quote
I should have probably mentioned the airport in question is indeed, very small. I was also a student at their flight school a couple years ago.
Ah, well that ought to make things much smoother. Now just have to think of which lenses to use, an off-camera flash maybe. Think of the angles ahead of time.
I looked at your gallery and the photos you have there are really great, but they are quite different from portraits and closeups of machinery. For this series you will have to probably make the photos more intimate. So think of a slightly warm white balance, close crops, getting really near to your subjects.
Since it is much easier to write out ideas for others than for oneself, I'll write one out
1) photo of airport, the building and some planes, depending on what you can get in frame
2) photo of the pilot drinking coffee and reading newspaper (or whatever his/her ritual before flight is, showing their surroundings and attitude/mood)
3) photo of him next to the plane (full body shot, as much of plane as possible)
4) photo of flight charts and weather reports on table (instruments, tools, I'm not sure what exactly you need)
5) photo of plane in flight (has to show some surroundings, but has to be relatively near the plane. Best is if you can manage to take a shot of lift off. Burst mode and big DoF, use panning technique)
6) photo of pilot dressed and equipped in the plane or on the door, just getting in with one foot (3/4 body shot or portrait)

Hope I'm not being patronizing, but this thread made me start fantasizing about flying

Last edited by Na Horuk; 04-15-2013 at 04:22 PM.
04-15-2013, 05:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote

Hope I'm not being patronizing, but this thread made me start fantasizing about flying
Not at all I appreciate the well thought out response. You guys have given me some awesome ideas, now I definitely have to go through with it haha.
04-15-2013, 05:59 PM   #15
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I'm guessing you are near Rhinebeck Aerodrome - what a cool place! If this is true, I think you'll have a hard time picking out six photos. Good luck!
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