This next option is not my favourite. It was merely to see how these two shots would look in the layout.

The first shot is too cluttered for me, I can’t comfortably look at it….it doesn’t flow.

The second shot is a good idea but the composition is messy, if Fiona was more central then this may be the killer shot.

The second option is more of a juxtaposition between Fiona’s strict and pleasant natures. 

The portrait shot is a nice representation of her true personality that the students don’t often get to see. Her cat-loving, kind natured side. During the shooting of this particular shot she was making me cups of tea and feeding me out of a ‘motherly’ nature. She knows I’m living on a student diet so she personally made sure I had plenty of food that day. this shot really shows that side of her to me.

The 1:1 shot shows her stricter side. Not too much that she appears entirely frightening but enough to establish a sense of authority. We can see the sky in the shot in parts but not enough for me to be set on this as the final image.

The shoot:

The first batch of shots took place on the stage in the main hall of the school. I used to perform on that stage frequently while I was there so this was a personal favourite part of the school for me. It was also the best location to set up the school’s film tungsten lights for a moody atmospheric shot. The shot I was going for was a ‘dragon’s den’ style image which establishes Fiona as the head of the school. Though she has a beautiful kind side to her personality, she can be a stern and strict headmaster at the school who commands respect and authority. So I positioned her in the centre of the stage on a tall, old carved wooden chair with a symbol of the local landmark (Mow cop castle) on it. To create a sense of ‘military’ leadership, I recruited two young students to ‘flank’ her on smaller chairs and further back. The second light source, the tungsten film lights, were used to help black out the B/G and also symbolise the fact that Maryhill is a media specialists college for some contextual mise-en-scene. I placed the elinchron to her right direct side and a strong tungsten light on her right direct side. This was to create some shots where her sides are lit but her face, as I posed her leaning forward slightly, is in shadow for an enigmatic atmospheric.

The second batch of shots were in her office. Julian stated that it’s generally not best to photograph the BOSS in an office as this is too predictable and boring. However, in this occasion, her office is full of personality and is an excellent scene to gather information about her personality and life. She has a particularly strong attachment to cats and this is well known throughout the school, she often talks about animal charities in assembly. So I really wanted to take some portrait shots of her with some of her cat ornaments in her office. 

The third set of shots was partly Fiona’s idea and influenced by a photograph I saw from Julian himself where he photographed a subject through a letter box with the flash on the opposite side of the door to him. Fortunately, my job was simpler to set off the flash as I had the wireless trigger. Jules had to set off the flash using a speed light to hit the slave through the letterbox. The idea behind this shot was to comically represent Fiona when she is ‘spying’ on her students and ensuring all is well. This is also the view the students would get when they are ‘sent to the head teacher’.

The next set in the main corridor of the building was an experimental idea I had. I could always remember when I was there that the lights reflected heavily off of the white, shiny walls of the main corridor. I wanted to see how the ranger flash would work in there. The results were interesting, the shine along the corridor was awesome..especially on slower shutter speeds so the incandescents could take form. We also recruited some more small students as props within the shots to further establish the location. I also enjoyed using slow shutter speeds to blur out the moving students whilst the ranger froze Fiona.

the last set of shots were taken at the front gate of the school next to the school sign. I was originally intending to shoot the outdoor shot on the main yard with Mow cop castle in the B/G but the icy conditions made this too dangerous to shoot. The other problem with the weather was that the sky was completely cloudy with deep clouds so there is very little definition and dynamics in the B/G. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot for too long outside as it began to snow therefore we cut the shoot short and headed inside for a brew.