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Final Project

For the final project, I want to use the article “How an Ad Campaign Invented the Diamond Engagement Ring” (read here).¬†The article talks about how in the late 1930s, the practice of giving a diamond engagement ring was on a slow rise and De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. wanted to get more people excited about diamonds so they hired N.W. Ayer, a New York based ad agency to build a campaign that would popularize the sale of¬†diamonds. The campaign coined the phrase¬†“a diamond is forever,” and sold people the idea that diamonds were ” symbols of indestructible love.”¬†This strategy proved¬†insanely successful for De Beers. As the article says, “Between 1939 and 1979, De Beers’s wholesale diamond sales in the United States increased from $23 million to $2.1 billion.” Today, it’s commonplace to propose with a (huge) diamond and many women aren’t satisfied with anything less than amazing. It’s interesting to see that there is such importance placed on a piece of jewelry¬†and it all started with an advertising campaign.

The ideas I have in mind for the shoot are a close up of a ring itself (maybe in a box or on a table) to show it off, for a ring to be on someone’s finger (making it a little more personal/romantic), or a more humorous approach like a ring with a price tag or ad attached.


  1. The text is informational; the tone isn’t overly serious¬†and it’s very positive in the beginning when the author talks about his personal experience.
  2. My approaches are literal because¬†they both show an¬†engagement ring. The idea with the tag/ad¬†would be more literal than the other since it’s actually showing the reason/method N.W. Ayer made the original campaign while the other idea is more about the emotion or people associated with engagement.
  3. I think one still life approach is necessary because my main focus is the importance placed on the ring itself. One approach with people involved is also necessary to give the shot a little more personality and make it relatable.
  4. My models would be whoever is in my group if they’re willing. I don’t plan on using any faces in the photos, just arms/hands. I’ll need both a male and female participant.
  5. The object in each photo would be the ring. A price tag or a ring box may be included as well.
  6.  Both ideas need a good amount of light Рthe couple shot needs to be well lit and the ring shot needs enough light on the ring itself to show the detail but not in the overall photo.
  7. I want the photo with the people to resemble a shot that would be in engagement photos – very bright, soft, and optimistic but also romantic. For the ring by itself, it would be similar to food photography in terms of the shallow depth of field but I would want it to be darker and a little less optimistic.


Margie Warrell’s¬†article strongly encouraged her readers to have a “the glass is half full”¬†outlook on life.¬†Having an optimistic¬†point of view benefits your health, wealth, and relationships. This is why it is important to get out of bed every morning and face the day¬†with a positive mind set.

This photo shoot is all about portraying optimism and a lot of things signify happiness and positivity. Shooting against a light, bright background with even lighting and minimal or no shadows is going to be very important toward capturing the quality of optimism. The first thing I immediately thought of using as a prop were flowers in order to help reinforce the idea of happiness. Sunflowers are usually big, bold, and bright so I think that they will be the right match. Other possible props that would help to emphasize optimism are food dyes to  brightly color the liquid and maybe even fruit Рthe way healthy drinks usually are. After all, Warrell does conclude her article by saying that exercise is key for a happy, healthier lifestyle.


I think that shooting on a white, bright, well lit background would be the best way to illustrate a glass being half full. To add to the optimism, I think that making the glass of water seem more like a tropical drink than just a plain glass of water might be an interesting route. People seem to be happiest in the summertime so making the drink feel summery using food coloring, fruits or an interesting straw in a cool glass (like a mason jar or a really tall, thin glass) would be a good idea. Multiple glasses of different sizes would be interesting as well to show the versatility of having this optimistic outlook in any situation.

See The Glass Half Full

See The Glass Half Full or Empty? by Margie Warrell was a very motivational read. Staying optimist in life is very important and it brings you a better life over all. From these seven tips Margie gave to us I want to have a well lit set. A bright defused photograph is needed to get the message of optimism across. Maybe trying to use more than one glass to show a difference and demonstrate  a relationship between the two objects. The angle of the camera also play a role in creating the imagery to this article. I am excited to play around and see what turns out best.

Idea for Next Week’s Shoot (Optimism)

One idea that I currently have right now as I am typing this is that in order to capture “optimism”, I have the idea of using really nice and controlled lighting lighting up the water and the glasses in the shot. It will likely be shot wide-open, and I’ll also experiment with natural light before moving onto filtered lights to see what works better.


For the “She Being Brand” poem. ¬†It takes places during the 1920’s and uses the car as part of a first time sexual experience. The evidence for that is “I went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her.” ¬†However, “Coming Home, Detroit” I find it not only more political, but at the same time focuses more on everyday American life that we go through everyday. I say this because In this poem It’s a person that’s driving while going through everyday Detroit life such as “We burn this city everyday” indicating some of the actions that were going on in that period in present tense.

For my idea, I would try to take shots of the insides of the vehicle to kinda show what’s in the “Interior” for those who want to drive a car for the first time.

The second one is a wide shot of the car from above to kinda show that the car will keep driving. (Still in development)

Botany of Desire

Michael Pollan expresses, to a point, his concern with the idea that the agriculture company Monsanto wants total control over the agriculture industry in the U.S. As he explains, the genes for the potatoes he’s allowed to grow and sell remains the intellectual property of Monsanto. Being that the way food has been grown is harmful to the farmer (and also to those eating these crops), the modern solution is the genetically engineered plant that can protect from insects and diseases without the help of pesticides. This genetic engineering would give the company¬†control over plants and essentially make Monsanto the Microsoft of agriculture. Pollan goes on to say that “we’re about to find out what happens when people begin approaching the genes of our food plans as software.”

As for props, I think the basic things that would add to the potatoes are silverware (knives, plates, etc.) or potato chips to show one of the ways the potato can be used.


For this article, it talked about how Monsanto is a monopoly that some of the corruption of how food is being made in the industry and how it impacts the food that we keep mass producing.

Some of my ideas I have is sorta show pieces falling off the potatoes and make it look like it has scares. I believe that would be effective because it really shows what food goes through in order to coexist.

Beats and Bose Campaign

Beats ad campaign is straight forward of what their product is. We clearly see that their products are headphones because their are feature in most of the ads. To me this campaign is mostly targeting one audience and that would be black people. Also most of the ads are profile pictures, we only see their faces but not their body expressions.

Bose ads makes you imagine or wonder what they are trying to sell. In most of the ads we do not see the product but we see the name of the brand. I feel that Bose is targeting variety of people, from people that work in loud environment to people that travel.

Beats and Bose

Though the line “hear what you want” sounds like it could be for noise canceling headphones, the intended message for the Beats ads is that while wearing them you get to hear exactly what you want rather than silence the world outside the headphones. The intended audience is people who are into the appearance and name of a product rather than its function (since Beats headphones don’t have a stellar reputation for sound quality). Thinking of the models they used to advertise the Beats headphones, the audience could very well be people who see themselves represented in the ad. As for the Bose ad, the intended message is definitely that the Noise Canceling Headphones are amazing at their job and cancel out the most annoying of noises. The imagery used (a small child, construction, a dog) suggests that the target audience is suburban people or those that deal with annoying sounds on a day to day basis.

The photography styles differ because the Beats ads use higher contrast, and the angle is a little low but mostly eye level close ups while the Bose ads are evenly lit and they’re whole scenes instead of close ups. These styles help the intended meanings because the high contrast and angle show power and style which is essential to Beats while the diffused light and the distance of the subjects from the camera in the Bose ads is essential to the feeling of turning down the noises you don’t want to hear. The styles also speak to their respective audiences differently.