As a Second Year Photography student, I wanted to do a placement this year that I knew would enable me to gain some real world experience as a photographer, and set me up well for a professional career once I leave University.
I applied for my placement as a photography assistant with Leeds Trinity University’s Corporate Communications team through MyFuture in my first year, but unfortunately due to Covid-19 I was unable to complete it that year. I was however, asked if I would like to do it during my second year when it looked like restrictions were easing. During the interview I was asked what experience I had with photography, and I went to the interview with some image examples of what I had already done in my previous modules and outside of University.
During my placement, I gained an insight into which transferable skills I already had, and skills which I would need to develop. I developed my communication skills a lot through talking to different members of the University community and I saw an improvement in my confidence having had to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to succeed.
My photography skills improved massively whilst having to take photos of lots of different subjects! I had the opportunity to do portraits, studio, architectural and roaming event photography. Some of the projects I have been involved in during my time were producing content for social media during the Class of 2020 graduation event weekend. This included capturing candid shots of guests both during gowning and in the marquee with the flower walls and gift bags, and consisted of camera photos, phone photos and boomerangs for Instagram.
I have also been taking headshots of researchers and media experts to support the development of a new web page which showcases them to the media and other external audiences outside of the University community.
Another ongoing project has involved taking updated photos of the buildings and locations on campus in order to add to the brand image gallery that is used for social media posts. I have also enjoyed working with the Alumni Office to photograph merchandise both in the studio and around campus.
Throughout the experience, it was good to be back on campus after having a semester and a half of fully online lectures! Nothing beats the greenery on campus. My advice to any students thinking about their professional placement next year would be to use the placement time well to ensure that your chosen subject area is right for you. Don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone, the rewards will be worth it!
Grace Fletcher is a Level 5 Photography student at Leeds Trinity University. For more information about professional work placements, visit the Leeds Trinity website.
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