My Qualification Set for my QGPP By Karen Brammer of Daisy Dog Photos

Last month I wrote about my 12 month journey of winning awards and the success I had winning a number of Bronze Bars and finally my Silver bar. At the end of my previous blog, I wrote "My next goal from here is to increase my number of Silvers, gain my Qualification status with the Guild and most of all keep learning and enjoying the skill and art of photography." I have well and truly set about achieving those goals.

Putting together my Qualification Set:

For my Qualification Panel for the award Qualified Member of the Guild of Professional Photographers or the QGPP, I had to put together 21 images. I had to complete three sets of seven photos to represent images that customers had commissioned. I chose to use the Sports Photography category as this combines both my passion for cycling and my passion for photography and both have given me a great degree of success in the past and continue to do so. I regularly take part in event photography as I am able to throughout the United Kingdom.

The First Set:

I have a wide range of different images that I have taken and created. With my first set I tried to demonstrate my technical skills and craft of photography by entering images that showed my ability to use panning and get a clear well composed image. Not always easy when capturing Mountain Bikers coming along at speeds in excess of 25mph on rough bumpy terrain. You have to have your camera settings just right, be able to move with the rider as they pass you and use that movement to help capture and freeze them whilst the background blurs creating the speed aspect of the shot. You have to be very aware of sunlight or daylight and clouds as too much sun/light can over expose your shot and clouds moving can alter your camera settings so quickly. I prefer shooting solely in manual allowing me total control over my images. For action shots this can be challenging due to the nature of the environment you are shooting in and how quickly the light can change. For the shots below I had a shutter speed of 1/50, I could have slowed it further to 1/30 but 1/50 was perfect for the conditions. It was a bleak November morning with freezing fog, the sky was a bright opaque colour. I had my ISO at 200, and my aperture was set at f8.0. I used a Canon DSLR EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 70mm - 200mm f4/L IS USM lens and a Canon Speedlite 580EX II. For the shots below, barely any post processing was required, for some just a simple crop. Please click on my images below to see them in a larger format.

(C) All rights reserved Karen Brammer of Daisy Dog Photos. All images are protected by copyright. These photos were taken down in Berkshire during the Winter Series, known as Brass Monkeys which runs over the Winter Months.

My Second Set:

For my second set, I submitted seven images, which I term "Sportraits" These are images I created from my photographs and made into Digital Artwork , creating my own brushes, textures, masks and a variety of blend modes in Photoshop. I wanted to create images that got the wow factor and really stood out. In Cycling Photography, there is a lot of competition from other photographers for that selling image/s as the courses tend to be in big geographical areas and as a single photographer you cannot cover everywhere. I am restricted a little further as I get around in a wheelchair. I wanted images that were striking and completely unique and my Sportraits have proven to be just that, they have been incredibly popular with customers and I have received repeat orders. I have sold them as limited edition framed prints, I have also received other commissions for different sports as well. I learnt how to create the Sportraits after undertaking an online course learning the Fundamentals and Basics of Photoshop. I had never used Photoshop prior to that and within weeks I had not only started to create Sportraits, I landed a contract with an International Sports Company to produce advertising that appeared on Billboards, and Vehicle and Trailer wraps. When I first started creating the Sportraits due to the sheer number of layers sometimes as many as 60 +, it would take me days to complete them whereas now it a matter of hours. I have enjoyed the creativity and satisfaction of creating unique images as well as creating my own brushes and textures. For the colours I simply chose one of my brushes or textures, took the pipet tool and selected the colours of the brushes using the colours from the riders kit and bike. Please feel free to click on any of the images to see them larger.

(C) All rights reserved Karen Brammer of Daisy Dog Photos 2017. Photos and digital artwork created by Karen Brammer, "Sportraits" Photos taken at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire.

My Third Set:

For my final set of images I submitted seven road cyclists taken at a Hill Climb race I covered. Part of the brief from the event organisers were they wanted some images that could be used for marketing and press purposes and so some really striking images were needed that summed the event up in a simple image. I chose to edit my event photos in Photoshop, cutting out the rider and creating a textured background using some brushes that I had made with photos of plants and trees in my back garden. I then changed the blend mode of some of the layers, used some dodge and burn on the background to make the rider stand out and adjusted the hue and saturation and opacity of the layers so it produced a slightly grittier image. Please click on my images below to see them in a larger format.

(C) All rights reserved Karen Brammer of Daisy Dog Photos 2017. Photos by Karen Brammer, taken at the Farnham Festival Of Cycling, Pedal Heaven Hill Climb.

As well as the images I had to submit a short brief with a background into my photography and the reasons for submitting the images that I have. I have covered some of my brief in this blog.

I am continually pushing the boundaries with my photography. I have been so inspired to improve my skills and techniques since starting to take part in the Guild’s IOM competition just over a year ago. I have gone on to have success obtaining Classified, Bronzes, a Silver and a Gold. I regularly seek feedback and critique and ongoing training having enrolled in a number of online training courses, attending some of the Guild’s training events and also use other tools such as online training videos and books. I feel that my customers are receiving great images and I can offer a wide and varied format to a rider of a race to creating images for advertising campaigns. I am seeking to continually grow and develop and I use my skills and techniques in a a number of different genres within photography. For me it is incredibly satisfying to combine both my passion for cycling and for photography and create images that my customers really appreciate.

I am happy to say that I passed my Qualification panel and can now add the following letters after my name QGPP. I was commended by the Judges for my determination and passion for Photography. I am absolutely delighted.

Many thanks for reading my blog, Karen.

Created By
Karen Brammer


(C) All rights reserved Karen Brammer 2017

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