Documentary Reflective Report

In this report I will be reflecting and reviewing my production and efforts throughout my documentary project.  I will explore what went well and what did not as well as making suggestions for improvement if I were to undertake this project again. I will look at the processes that I went through to create the final images, seeing how well I executed the idea and how successful the outcome was.


Predominantly things went well during this project, there were a lot of positive points and not a lot that I would have improved. My documentary photography assignment was to capture images of Piccadilly Circus in London at different times of the day, in order to capture the liveliness of the city and how it transforms over time.

In terms of taking the photographs I believe this all went to plan. The composition of the images worked really well and displayed enough information in the images and accurately represented the theme. However, to get the composition right this required me to check an old image and readjust the position of the tripod until it fit the frame. To have saved time and to ensure accuracy I could have marked out where the tripod was on the ground in chalk or marker pen. Another issue from this was that some of the framing of the images were not quite right upon reflection, so I had to re-shoot some of the images, this slowed things down as I had to wait for the sky and weather to cooperate to get a similar result.

I was lucky when taking the photos as the lighting was perfect and so dynamic, no two shoots were the same, it gave a lot of variety and choice. I would have liked to take photos when it was raining, but I never managed to capture this. Though I was able to get interesting photos nonetheless, especially in terms of content, with buses and cars driving through constantly, construction, pedestrians and street performers. It made the images interesting and there were a myriad to choose from by the end of the shoots.

I felt that I was good at timekeeping on this project and kept on track. I started the project fairly early and finished in good time, leaving a while for me to go through the images and make my choices. Starting early allowed me time to get a lot of shoots in, I probably visited London at least 5 times, taking photos at different intervals of the day each time, meaning that I accumulated over 1000 photographs. Narrowing the images down was time consuming but having more variety is better than not having enough images.

The images worked really well as a collective, the images depict London as a lively bustling city and shows accurately that the city is quieter or busier at certain times of the day. The images fit will together, they roll from daytime to night time and tell a story within 10 photographs. An issue with this was that due to the times of the tubes I was unable to capture sunrise or very late at night, so I was unable to get a complete set in terms of time framing. Though I believe this does not really affect the overall outcome of the images I would have liked to have captured these times, this is something that I would try to achieve if I were to repeat this project. The night tubes began to run on Friday’s and Saturdays as of late, so I could have done this. However, I never made the effort to try this as I didn’t want to stay out all night.

Another good point was the fact that I used social media to choose the final images. I believe that this was an efficient and successful way to decide. It gives an unbiased, outside view of the theme and allows a wider audience to decide what best represents London. I was happy with the choices that were made, and would use this method to make decisions in future.

As far as post production is concerned, I had originally aimed to not use it at all, as I wanted the images to be as natural as possible. Though this was not possible, some images were dark and required brightening and some images needed to be darkened due to being slightly over exposed. Nevertheless, this was not something that took away from the effect of the images, as altering the lighting is not a dramatic manipulation.

One of the main issues I found was with using slow shutter, it was difficult to get images that weren’t over saturated in the daytime as the sun was too bright and I couldn’t close the aperture further. I could have slowed the timer more, however this would have likely blurred too much and was not the effect I was looking for, as I liked how you could see the people in motion. The best option would have been to use a neural density filter, I do not own one for the 18-105mm lens that I used, though I have one that fits my standard 18-55mm lens, if I had used this the images would have been clearer and not so exposed.

If I were to do the project differently, I may shoot a few different locations in London for variety and choose the collection of images that look most aesthetically pleasing or powerful. Though the images I took represent the theme I had chosen, there are other locations in London that are equally, if not more iconic which may have worked better.


In conclusion, I believe that the shoot was very successful and the images adequately display the theme and idea I had intended. I accomplished my goal in good time and with very little complications. Though there are things I would have changed and factors that could have been improved, it is clear that this did not affect the outcome.

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Documentary Reflective Report

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