How Photographing Bees Prepared Me – Transferable Skills

Back in the third year of studying graphic design, I did my final major project about bee decline. This included photographing bees. Lots, and lots of bees. I would wait for the perfect day, go to one of my known bee spots and do shoots of 800+ photos, with maybe five really successful images.


This was different from anything I had done before. I was used to landscapes and shop fronts. They don’t really move much, and that is not calling it ‘easy’. Landscapes bring a whole different bag of challenges. Bees however, without me knowing it, prepared me for photographing gigs.

Completely different lenses and settings, but that experience shooting hundreds of images in a fast-moving and unpredictable situation to only get a handful of great photographs at the end of it was invaluable.

I’m all for bringing past experiences into new work and using what I have already learned to make something new a little easier. Looking into what will happen in the next few months, I have my first wedding booked. Am I terrified? Of course. But reflecting on this makes me feel a little more prepared.

What I’ve Learned From Postgraduate Study (so far…)

I’m over the half way point in my year studying MA Visual Communication at Southampton Solent University. With my Master’s project looming, I have been reflecting on the past six months. Was it worth it, and what have I gained?

I never did the traditional 3 years away at university, so a long written report or dissertation was not something I had to conquer, and my final major project felt more like something I was fitting in around leaving home than something I really got stuck into. The result – I lacked any knowledge of what I wanted to do or the confidence to do so.

That all sounds familar from talking to other graduates who feel the same, however I wasn’t okay with that and wanted to find myself and develop the skills I could take into the workplace.

So, what have I learned?

1 – It’s okay to change (or interchange) disciplines.
I went from being almost certain graphic design was for me, to wondering why I came out of a graphic design degree having just done a photography project. Most importantly, I was proud of it and what I had created. The particular MA I am studying prides itself in being multidisciplinary and taught me that I didn’t have to choose, I can do both.


2 – Presentations are not scary. 
Not just presentations, but sharing ideas and opinions. Whether it’s overall confidence as I am getting older (a grand old age of 23…) or something I am learning, I no longer feel overwhelmed with dread when made to show my work. In fact, I enjoy it! This, along with other transferable skills, makes me feel more ready for the workplace than ever.
and most importantly…


3 – Having no idea is a good idea. 
Stressing out about things that MIGHT happen is something I have become very good at. I have always liked to know when, why, and how something is going to happen long before I tackle it. However, I am starting to thrive in the process of getting there, rather than the end goal. Not knowing what you want to create or research is sometimes key to truly being creative. 

More to come as I continue my studies over the summer!

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