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This is a guest blog written by Zayn, studying BA (Hons) Photography.

This was my first semester studying BA (Hons) Photography, I have been enjoying the course and the different aspects of photography it has introduced me to. So far, we’ve covered a range of topics from the history and philosophy of photography to practical applications in the professional world. Topics such as the copyright laws and legal aspects behind how our photographs are used, as well as, how to market yourself as a photographer.

BFX ambassadors hand out merchandise to attendeesAround mid-October James, our course leader, asked if anyone wanted to photograph a few university events, BFX Festival and EDFest. I quickly volunteered. So, in early November 2022, I was behind my camera in charge of capturing the events.

A new experience:

Scott Pritchard stands for a photo in front of the BFX audience I had, of course, taken pictures before, but it was always on trips I had planned that were not too far outside my comfort zone and for myself rather than someone else. This was the first time I was in an environment in that I had no previous experience. I was taking photos of people that are celebrated in a prestigious industry, a lot of these who worked on shows and films I enjoyed, I was quite nervous approaching them.

The first challenge:

The first day, and specifically the first few hours, were by far the hardest, trying to take usable pictures while learning a completely new style of photography. The first and biggest challenge that I encountered was lighting. The lecture halls were dim and required constant playing with settings to try and shoot. Thankfully one of my tutors, Saeed Rahsid, gave me some good tips, he also showed me a few techniques to make it easier for me to focus on just taking photos.

Jim Parkins models creating Shuan the Sheep to BFX attendees

I feel I learned a lot about myself on that first day because I didn’t have a choice but to move forward and do what I volunteered to do. I was able to calm my nerves, keeping focused on the task ahead. I feel proud of myself for pushing through my fears, I tend to back out of things I find challenging for fear of failure but this time I pushed through, and I felt better than I had in a long time.

The second challenge:

BFX attendee works with animation software in Christopher Antoniou's masterclassMost of the time I was the sole photographer across two events. I was able to work with a classmate, Miles, helping to cover for me when BFX and EdFest had conflicting schedules. Later on, in the semester with other events, Miles came back to help for the entire time, and we really learned how to work as a team. The most helpful lesson I learned early on was communicating with the people I was working around. It made the experience a lot smoother and anytime I felt I had messed up there were people there to help out.

I am proud of the photos I took and am glad that I worked on these events. I hope to keep doing so in the future. It was great to meet people outside of my course and now when there’s an event on campus Miles and I are there to help!Attendees Gromit, Shuan the Sheep, and Pop Paper City characters

I really enjoyed working on these events because it was all new to me, over time I found my grove and enjoyed the new learning experience. I also learned how to ask for help when I felt unsure.

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