Didn't manage to write much at all during our phase 3 at Hallmark, but it's been paying off to do nothing but photography all day, every day, with a little bit of sleep thrown in there. The 15 assignments were a mix of portraits, both on location and in studio, product photography and a bit of design thrown in for good measure.

The headliner here is a low-key portrait, done in studio. We're supposed to orient our portfolios to a certain field, and having to choose a direction helped more than I expected. While some students are still up in the air what they'll be doing after graduation, I managed to narrow mine down to sports and lifestyle oriented advertising. Just putting a name on it helped, even though I've been working towards it this whole time. See the highlights from my phase 3 portfolio and some personal work after the jump.

The last shot I did for phase 3 is one of my favorites. It came out almost exactly how I had envisioned it, and it looks like it should be blown up to 30x50 feet and slapped on a billboard. If they used billboards to advertise mountain bikes that is. The bike was shot as part of a design assignment, creating a brochure for a local business. Bikes-Unlimited's owner Bob was a great guy to chat with while I shot picture of him and his store to create their brochure, and even loaned me some equipment, including this bike to take back to school and shoot.

The other shot done for the inside spread of the brochure was again equipment on loan from Bob, and made me remember that I could really use some new ski boots, especially with some of the work I did this winter. If you want to shoot athletes on the mountain, you'd better be able to keep up with them.

But there's no way I'm keeping up with this guy, from the Mountain Dew Tour held up in Vermont at Mt. Snow. Freestyle skiing and snowboarding coupled with some fast cameras and front row seats makes some intense pictures.

A new friend that just happened to be from MSU back home and had made her way to Mass. ended up as a great replacement for some pictures I did a while ago when I was just starting out in sports advertising. The weather didn't want to cooperate, but that lead to a great tagline and some ideas for an entire campaign for me to shoot for practice.

And while our previous assignments did cover how to shoot glass in general, this picture, which ended up as my advertisement after being cut out was anything but simple. Turns out you have to drink the beer FIRST, otherwise the colors on the bottle go everywhere.

And of course, nothing goes better with that last picture than this still life, comprised of over a dozen shots. While food photography isn't on my top list of things to do, it's a lot of fun to eat while you're working. I like this one a lot better than my last food assignment, mostly because I actually don't eat the scallops or caviar featured in that.

Equipment wise, a lot of these were done with the Toyo 4x5's and leaf backs, including the bike, boot, beer and hamburger. The 5DmkII is getting it's fair share of time as well for the location portraits, and I even test drove a Nikon D3 for the freestyle skiing. That just cemented the need for me to be getting a 1 Series camera pretty soon, despite the Nikon being a great camera as well.

Portfolio review starts tomorrow for some students, along with a rumored 8 assignments to be shot in two weeks, this time of our choice. It's coming down to phase 4 and beyond pretty soon, and it's promising to be even more intense and demanding. New websites (including this one) are going up, contacts are being made, and careers are planned as the Hallmark class of '10 gets ready to break out.