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West Jordan Journal

Photography students from West Jordan HS get international exposure

Mar 06, 2019 01:39PM ● By Jet Burnham

San Franciso provided beautiful backdrops for showcasing products such as Jansport backpacks. (Maria Mazzei)

By Jet Burnham | j.burnham@mycityjournals.com

Art and photography students from West Jordan High School are taking big shots—photographs to be used in advertisements—for big-shot companies such as Jansport and Bare Snacks. Students took shots at iconic landmarks around San Francisco—the Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies and Fisherman’s Wharf—to feature a variety of products from 13 companies, which they received in exchange for the photographs.

“Each company got around 20 to 50 photos that were strong compositions,” said Robyn Briggs, photography teacher who organized the trip. The companies will use the pictures for social media advertising on platforms such as Instagram.

Students found creative ways to highlight the products, which included backpacks, jewelry, disposable cameras, clothing, accessories, colorful socks, enamel pins, cell phone accessories and snack foods. They found interesting backgrounds for their compositions: vibrant colors at the Flower Conservancy, inspiring architecture at the Golden Gate Bridge, sprawling city views from Quake Tower and a pool full of sprinkles at the Museum of Ice Cream.

With so many locations and individual styles, students produced a variety of interpretations of what the company was looking for.

“The kids had to figure out what fits within that company’s style and vibe, which I think was one of the hardest parts,” said Briggs.

Within the group of 26 students and eight chaperones were varying skill levels. Some had taken numerous photography and art classes, while others were straight out of Photography I.

Students constantly adjusted camera settings to best feature the products.

Roxann Morgan said projects in class prepared her to be able to capture great shots on the trip.

“We had the class experience of how to use manual mode and then figured out, depending on our setting, how to address our shutter speed or aperture or whatever it was that we needed to focus more in a certain area,” she said.

Scarlet Morgan-Del Rio said shutter speed adjustment was critical to taking great pictures because the lighting varied at each location. They took pictures indoors, outdoors, in the rain and in bright sunshine.

When a shot didn’t work out, students had to figure out what adjustments they needed to make to their camera settings.

“You use those photos to figure out how to make the next ones better,” said Morgan-Del Rio.

The trip was a unique opportunity—amateur photographers don’t usually get an opportunity to collaborate with well-known companies, said Briggs. The students are aware of how fortunate they are.

“It helps us get our name out there and helps us learn the process of being a photographer—the job of it and the behind the scenes work,” said senior Juanita Cruz.

The pictures students took will be an impressive addition to their art portfolios and resumes, said Briggs.

 “Going forward, it allows them so many more opportunities if this is a field that they want to pursue,” she said.

Experiencing the business side of an art career was eye-opening for students such as Andres Ferrer, who has had people discourage him from trying to make a living with his art.

“It’s great to understand that you can make a career of art,” said Ferrer.

Relying solely on public transportation to travel to inspiring locations provided adventure and life lessons for students.

“Even the times we did end up going the wrong way, we ended up coming across some other good picture spots,” said Morgan-Del Rio.

Previously, WJHS students have travelled for photography opportunities, but this is the first time they had arranged collaborations with businesses. Many of the companies have expressed interest in collaborating again with WJHS, but Briggs isn’t sure if they’ll be able to.

State lawmakers are looking to revise student fee policies. House Bill 250 proposes changes that may affect overnight travel trips.

Briggs is determined to find a way to keep the connections she’s made with these companies, which took nearly 300 emails to establish. The companies who will be featuring students’ work are the following: Bare Snacks, Get Back Necklaces, Granarolo Cheese Crisps, Jansport, Loopy Cases, Made by Mary Pins, Mantra Band, Pistil Design Co., Stuff4Camera, Thread Tank, Thread Wallets, Thunderbird Bar and Woven Pear Socks.