Headphones and Hearing Loss Reflective Blog

One of my group members brought in a pair of headphones that were unique.  It was from a brand I’ve never heard of before – Sennheiser.  Apparently, they were very expensive.  Everyone else from class either brought Apple headphones or Beats.  We wanted to imitate the look and feel of the current ads they have out now.  I’m not sure if we were successful in that regard.  I saw a couple of their ads looked like they had a lot of retouching done and I’m not well versed in Photoshop.  I brought fairy lights with me to try and get the same look that were portrayed in the advertisements.

The hearing loss was fun to shoot.  We were trying to think of creative ways to express pain felt when listening to music too loud.  I felt like were limited in terms of facial expressions, so our group was experimenting with the positioning of the person in frame – profile, front, etc. Like I’ve expressed earlier, I’m not a Photoshop guru so I try to do as much as possible in the studio.

Social Media Reflective Blog

I was not in the studio for this shoot because I was at home sick. I asked my boyfriend a couple days later if he could model for me so I could complete the shoot.  I have speed lights at home, but even then, I could not control the lighting properly.  My walls at home are also not white but a medium beige color which also posed a challenge.  I tried to see if I could blow the wall out to make it appear whiter but it did not work.  My boyfriend tends to be a little shy in front of the camera so getting him to not look goofy or awkward was difficult.  I feel like taking photos of my classmates would have been easier because we were all familiar with the article.  Also, it felt like there were limited choices in posing or what props to use, because the articles focused on social media.  Besides using a phone, there wasn’t much we could do.

Potato Shoot & Fresh Direct Reflective Blog

It was awesome to experiment with two types of lighting and backgrounds when it came to shooting vegetables.  Taking the photographs for the book cover was interesting.  I was not expecting the results I got when I initially first started taking photos.  I thought they were going to be boring looking, but when I was done editing the photos and adding text, I could see the photo as a book cover.  It was challenging to get the potatoes to stay upright so we had to take the photos quickly before they fell over.

The Fresh Direct photos looked clean and bright.  The vegetables looked great under that lighting.  My group used water droplets to sprinkle onto the vegetables so they looked more interesting.  I liked that it was a real-world client and I tried hard to mimic the look that Fresh Direct represents in their advertising.  I know now that they probably wouldn’t use a potato sideways in an ad, but at the time I thought it looked visually different yet still usable.


Poems with Toy Cars Reflective Blog

Unfortunately, I was not in class for this shoot because I wasn’t feeling well.  Of course, when doing any of the shoots outside of the photo studio, they are more difficult and challenging to complete.  I only completed the “Coming Home, Detroit, 1968” because I didn’t feel the car I used for that shoot could work for the other poem.  I should have just completed the other shoot because I saw several people in class used the same car for both poems. I did not have plexiglass at home so I was unable to create reflections with the car.  I know my photos would have turned out better if I was able to do so.

I placed my car on my ironing board, used a bunch of gray packaging material in the background and used a vape pen to create a smoke effect.  I struggled with getting close to the car because I don’t have the proper lenses or an extension tube at home.

Optimism/Pessimism Reflective Blog

This shoot was very enjoyable.  I was nervous about breaking a glass (but it didn’t happen).  I ended up spilling water onto my phone and an SD card of mine that was nearby but thankfully nothing was damaged.

A group member brought a different glass with her so that lended some additional options. I knew that I wanted to bring food coloring with me because color is one way to evoke a mood, besides lighting.  I used lighter colors to explain optimism while using darker colors to express pessimism.  After completing the shoot, I realized I probably could have ditched the food coloring and try to challenge myself more by just using lighting and gels.  The ice cubes added personality to the photos and lended more photo opportunities.

Prescription Drugs Reflective Blog

Not knowing who was going to be in my group prior to the shoot, I wasn’t sure what kind of pills I would have available to work with.  I did not have very many at home myself, but I brought what I had in. Also, one of my group members brought in an assortment of pills and there some available when we got to class.

I think this assignment was probably the most difficult in terms of controlling the lighting.  A tiny move could alter the whole photograph.  I didn’t realize it until later but there was a reflection on some of the opaque pills in my photographs.  I felt the orange medication bottles were easier to photograph versus the pills.

When looking through my photographs, I felt the pictures could represent both articles so that made it more difficult to choose which photos to present in class.  Some of my photos, while nice, did not even represent the articles at all. So, while this assignment had the most difficult lighting setup for me, it was also the hardest to convey the message either way.

I’m glad I was challenged in this aspect.  I realized that oftentimes in the photography/advertising world, there are situations where it won’t be easy to get the message across so I felt like I was being prepared for a real-world experience.

Wet n’ Wild Final Project Reflective Blog

Michelle Capobianco

COMD 3530 Advanced Photo Studio

Final Photography Project Reflection


Initially, I wanted to work with just products only – nail polish in particular.  I’ve been fascinated with how still life photographers can create a narrative with something as simple as a nail polish bottle.

I ended up scraping the nail polish idea.  I could have gone with just shooting the closed bottles but that didn’t lend a whole lot of photo possibilities.  Having nail polish open for the duration of the class would have disrupted the class, plus, I couldn’t spill polish all over the plexiglass.

I decided to focus on a cosmetics brand, Wet n’ Wild.  They’ve been around since 1979.  They’re synonymous with being one of the first brands young girls experiment with when they first get into cosmetics.  The prices for the line are relatively low and they’ve stayed low since their inception.

Sometimes when makeup has a lower price point, people assume that it’s not good quality and I have to be honest, some of the products I tried from the line when I was younger weren’t that great.  However, in recent years, they’ve rebranded, created better formulas and have a cult following with makeup artists.

For my images I worked with models and took product photography shots.  I initially didn’t want to work with models because I was afraid of someone flaking out on me.  I also didn’t want to utilize anyone in class because I didn’t want to take them away from their own projects.  I worked with Lindsay and Krystle for this project.  I have another class with Lindsay where we’ve worked in a semester long project and I’ve known Krystle for years so I felt comfortable working with them.

Since Krystle was wearing white and Lindsay was wearing black, I decided to use gels as a background color.  I decided on a hot pink/purple ombre effect.  I believe it was successful.  I had the models pose with the products as well as just posing with their makeup done.

For my product shots, I utilized both the white and black plexiglass.  I remember after reviewing the shots taken with the white plexiglass, I wasn’t too impressed with the final outcome.  I decided for the second shooting day I would use the black plexiglass so I would have more options.  The white and black plexiglass showcase products differently and I was shocked to see how different the images felt.

I remember feeling overwhelmed after I had my images.  I knew I was working with a brand, and I had all these elements (brand logo, copy, headlines, other pictorial elements) that needed to come together to create a good advertisement.  I did spend a lot of time crafting each image.  Of course after presenting you realize there’s always something you could have done to make the project better.

I had a bunch of products with me on both shoot days, and I did not realize until it was time for me to begin shooting that prop styling is a lot harder than it looks.  It’s really a lot more than just placing items on the shooting surface randomly.  The items need to have meaning and express a message.

I was the last person to present my project in class.  Even though I would consider myself to be outspoken, I am painfully shy when it comes to presenting my work in front of the class.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when the class could not come to a decision about which image did not work for the client.  In my mind, I think that means the project was a success.

Self Love Final Project Reflective Blog

For my final project I decided to go for a topic that many don’t often think about but it’s an issue with many or most individuals. I based it from an Article called “My Radical Realization About Self-Love” by Jordan Lejuwaan. The article will be attached below. The article was basically about how the writer personally went through issues keeping authentic relationships with friends and family due to the issue truly being within himself. He didn’t love himself which cause him to act different and unhappy. H also couldn’t love anyone else if he didn’t know how to love himself. He also mentions many other issues that came along because of the lack of self love.
What my project focused on are some of the exercises he gave that helped him and other readers. The two excercises I chose to focus on for the shoot were the mirror and hugging yourself exercises. Here’s a brief description about them.
1. Mirror exercise 
     Get close to the mirror, no more than a foot away. Stare deep into your eyes for 2 minutes. Not in the way that you normally look at yourself in the mirror — actively become aware that this is you. Once that strange sensation comes over you, repeat the words ‘I love you’ out loud for a minute.
2. Hug yourself
     This sounds really silly, but it feels fantastic. Reach your hands as far around you as possible and squeeze. Hold this for a minute or two while repeating ‘I love you’ and really feeling it. Focus your awareness on the area around your heart.
3. Reverse Each Criticism

Whenever you hear yourself criticizing yourself, immediately follow it up with two compliments, ideally but not necessarily related to the criticism.

4. Loving Meditation

Feeling love towards others is a good way to ramp up towards showing love to yourself. Go through the people you care most about in your mind and send them love. Picturing yourself giving them a huge hug. Wish them a fantastic day and the fulfillment of the dreams most dear to them. After you’ve gone through your family and closest friends, do the same for yourself.

5. Personal Day

If you have issues with valuing your own time, pick one day a week to focus entirely on yourself. Take the extra time to make the food you love the most, take an extra long shower, sleep in, etc. Show yourself love just like you would your significant other.

On my first session I decided to follow my schedule which was to focus on exercises for loving yourself. I chose about 5 or 6 models to work with and told them to hug them selves and feeling genuinely happy about it. I told them to smile and look relaxed but that’s when the challenge came. My models felt awkward hugging themselves and a bit silly. This made me notice the article was a serious topic because just the assignment itself made them feel uncomfortable. I completely understand because I include myself in that list, even I feel a bit odd doing the assignment. My solution was to make someone distract my models and make them laugh which is how I took photos of my models genuinely expressing happiness instead of a simple pose.
My second session I focused on working with a prop which was a handheld mirror. I decided to go for the second exercise in the article. My models just looked in the mirror and smiled. My only challenge with this shoot was figuring out how to light the model properly in order for the reflection in the mirror to not look over or under exposed. The professor helped me figure it out with a separate light directed towards my models face besides the soft key light already facing the model in the opposite direction.
1st session
Fragmented – models hugging
                         themselves smiling
                      – models in meditation smiling
2nd session
Fragmented w. Prop
(Handout held mirror)
Fragmented – models looking in mirror smiling
                      – models making silly faces
Article link: 

Strength and weakness of each project  – Valery Mejia

What is the point of college ?

Directing and conceptualizing in this shoot was a strength, but adjusting the camera to the lighting was definitely a weakness. It was because of that reason that the professor showed me how to use specific functions in Lightroom. Which I love and kind prefer over Photoshop now.

8 ways lower Manhattan has changed since 9/11

This was our first and only shoot outside, which was interesting. Looking for different ways to use light to my advantage, while trying to find metaphors around that part of the city, just by observing was fun. Expressing my ideas through the photos I captured turned out to be a little difficult. I quickly remembered that not everyone will always see what you see. So, I need to make sure the message is always readable.

Health Care

This shoot was the first time we all used the studio while working with lighting and the background to deliver a message. Understanding that a light background is normally attached to positive feelings and a dark background is gives more of a negative vibe felt natural. Organizing my layout for this shoot was a little difficult, I didn’t think outside the box enough.

Two takes on headphones

Product vs social issues, in this shoot I really liked shooting a product, but I didn’t do the best when it came to adjusting the lighting to better show the product. When it came to promoting, turning down the volume while using headphones, my goal was to have the models express pain, something I believe I did well.

Social media addiction or empowering

I did better in the addiction version than in the empowering one. I felt that the empowering came of as boring with very lttle too look at. If I could go back I would play with colors during the shoot. The addiction shoot was more successful and working with it in Lightroom was fun. I had something good to work with.

Food engineering, Potato’s

Potato, potato, potato’s at first the task seemed a little difficult, but I realized potato photograph really well. I got really comfortable with this shoot and also enjoyed editing.

Metaphor;  “She being Brand” & “coming home Detroit”

When it came to editing I didn’t do the best, the way I placed the type and the type I picked didn’t fit well with the photos. When it comes to shooting the cars while delivering the message I think I did a decent job, but looking back now I could have picked a better photo to work with, I definitely had a lot more photos to pick from.


Glass half empty, glass half full. Shooting glass isn’t easy, after adjusting the camera and lighting I started to get the hang of it. Adding in the fake ice cubes helped a lot. Without ice cubes the photo felt a little boring. It gives people more to look at, along with with the gels I used in some of the photos.

Prescription drugs

I really got into this one, probably because I like anti drug campaigns. Working with all the different colors helped me come up with new ideas as I was shooting. I will say that I had a bit of trouble with lighting, one of the light bulbs was acting up. So I decided to use that time to express the dark side of the messed up prescription drug world. I really enjoyed working with these photos ad tried getting creative with them.

Hunger in America

A lot of trial and error when it comes to shooting silverware, but once you get the shot it’ll look  beautiful. Reflection on glass became very useful in this shoot, it was perfect for the topic. When I added small details like bits of bread the ideas translates even better.

Final Project   (La Yogurt product Shoot)

This was the easiest because by this time we had been shooting ones a week for a while and I had a really good idea of what I wanted to do. The first week working on this shoot went well but I later on realized that my camera lens was a little dirty. Getting the yogurt to show up well on camera took me some time, but after adjusting the F-stop a few times I had a setting I could work with. The second week I shot with models, the best part was adding color to the background with gels. The color matched the products container. I feel that the second shoot was the most successful, but I got the best Ad from the first shoot.


– Valery Mejia



Social Media Reflective Blog

Out of all shoots, this was the most challenging. Our assignment was to take photos that match two different articles. One on how social media’s can have a positive impact and two how it can have a negative one. Overall it was hard to think of ideas on how to show social media in a photo in general, unfortunately all groups thought alike. Everyone seem to take photos of their model on a phone scrolling through social media or taking photos with a prob of social media icons. I didn’t enjoy this shoot as much as others being that we couldn’t really do much. Overall this was a good topic to shoot for because it made everyone really think about solutions for a difficult topic. I’m sure as a designer and photographer I will cross paths with difficult and important topics.