SQIBB (Studio Quality Invisible Black Background)

For Christmas last year my husband bought me a speedlight because I really wanted one. As a photography junkie I always want to spend millions of dollars on the latest and greatest camera gear, but as a poor college student my options are often limited so I was definitely excited to get this new toy! Although I’ve had the speedlight for several months now I have been hesitant to use it mostly because I didn’t really understand how to use it most effectively. I am definitely still learning, but I feel like I made a breakthrough this week with my SQIBB photographs! I had so much fun and am very pleased with the results. I love the awesome shadows I got when using my speedlight. It really adds that extra interesting element to my photos.

The portraits in this post are of my cute husband Travis. I actually took them in my kitchen underneath our ugly overhead light, but by using a speedlight and the proper settings on my camera I was able to achieve the super classy invisible black background that you see in these photos. I set my ISO as low as it goes at 100, my shutter speed at 1/200, and my aperture at about f22. These settings kept the background black and only illuminated the portions of the subject that the speedlight landed on. My husband helped me position the speedlight for my fine art photographs, but since he was the subject in the portraits I was on my own. Since I don’t have a light stand I was able to simply screw my speedlight onto my tripod.


JohnnaMcGarrah-TravSingSQIBBe JohnnaMcGarrah-TravDownSQIBBe JohnnaMcGarrah-TravBWSQIBBe


Setup Image


Final Product

JohnnaMcGarrah-LanternSQIBBe JohnnaMcGarrah-ElephantSQIBBe


Identity Project Inspiration


The purpose of this project is to create a personal brand mark/identity. As I go out into the design world I will be using my website and portfolio pieces to market myself and attract potential clients and employers. It is important that everything is cohesive so that I send a clear message of who I am as a designer. For this project I will be creating 3 logos that reflect my style and personality.




Logo courtesy of: VisualizeUs

I chose this logo as my favorite for several reasons. First of all I just really love the creativity and the way the text is blended with the image. The two contrasting fonts used compliment each other nicely. I love that the word ‘the’ mimics a pig’s curly tail. I really like texture and the texture and color of the background add an awesome rustic feel to this logo.


Each logo I pinned has a unique creative element to it that I admire. One thing that I have noticed about myself is that I am very detail oriented. I really appreciate all of the clever details included in these logos that make you take a closer look. While many of them quite literally illustrated the company or brand names associated with the design others were a mix of eclectic design that just seemed to work even without a clear reason why they were being used. I noticed that for some reason I tended to gravitate towards logos with animals in them. I think I like the idea of a sort of mascot going along with the brand.

Check out my Pinterest Logo Inspiration Board by following the link below!



I simply made a post to my Facebook page asking my friends and family to give me feedback to the question, “When you think of Johnna what words/thoughts come to mind?” See the below screenshots for some of the kind and hilarious results.

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One thing I learned is how blessed I am to have so many good friends. I made my Facebook post on Tuesday because I knew this blog post was due by Saturday and I was worried that I wouldn’t get 10 comments in time. However, within the first few hours I already had 24 responses! I also learned that I have a good sense of humor and that I often show my love by teasing others and in turn they do the same. It is clear from all of the responses that I have a pretty big personality and others perceive me as being generally happy. I found it interesting that many of the comments pointed out tiny details about who I am or what I like. I think that again speaks to my love of details in all aspects of my life.


I am expecting my logo to be seen by potential photography and design clients as well as possible employers. The types of employers I wish to attract are producing eclectic photography and designs for clients. They may work out of a private studio or be involved in a fashion company with an Urban Outfitters feel.


April 25 (Sat) – Sketch 30 logos

April 27 (Mon) – Get feedback & refine sketches

April 28 (Tues) – Vectorize top 3 logos

April 29 (Thurs) – Choose color scheme

April 30 (Fri) – Refine logos

May 1 (Sat) – Video Presentation