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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Photography Workshop: Class 2

I ran a little late to Class 2. Zach wouldn't be home in time from Columbus so I actually used Facebook to find Kye his very first babysitter! Luckily a girl from our church, who has watched the dogs before for us, volunteered. He LOVED her right away and I didn't feel bad at all leaving them. That, combined with some new house door drama (I promise to post on it but want to wait until it's resolved!), did make me late. Oh well! There was SO much covered in this class so let's jump right in to some stuff I learned:
  • if you are a student (or know a student who can buy it for you) then you can get the full blown Photoshop for only $199!
  • a good photograph: has a clear subject, focuses attention on the subject, and simplifies everything else to focus that attention
  • clear subject: decide what you want the subject to be and make sure the viewer can obviously tell what the subject is. 
  • depth of field: you want to have everything somewhat blurry except for your subject. Put the subject far away from the background to achieve this! 
  • aperture: the "A" setting on camera. the smaller the number you set it on, the bigger the opening the camera has so the more light will be in your pictures. For me, I want to have it set as low as possible since I'm mostly photographing people.
  • shutter speed: the "S" setting on camera. if you leave the shutter open for a long time then the image will be more blurry, for a shorter time it'll be less blurry. A bigger number on the settings will mean the shutter speed is faster, a smaller number makes it slower. It's represented as fractions which makes it confusing but since Kye is always on the move I want as fast a speed as possible.
  • ways to focus attention on your subject: position the subject in the frame, know and understand the lighting conditions (the subject facing the light is always the most flattering), shutter speed and aperture are most important settings.
  • ways to simplify your image: cut out all extra "stuff" around subject, always look back and ask yourself if you've eliminated all the distractions, when possible only include what's important in the image
  • always remember that even ordinary things and events are fascinating and make amazing images!
  • tips for shooting people:  have them in the best light as possible, bright sun will make dark circles under the eyes, aim for a side light on the subject, you don't want the light directly above them or below them or straight on them! 
This weeks assignment was to shoot people (with the camera...not literally haha). I wish the weather had been better because I would have gone outside. Everyone else in the class has improved drastically! My one I-take-pictures-of-my-kids friend had one of the best pictures in the class and Javon said he'd submit it to a contest! I was pretty embarrassed by my images but oh well, they are what they are. Everyone else focused on depth of field and I guess I missed that we were supposed to do that because I focused on getting close-up images of people and trying to make it obvious that they were the subject. I also tried not to use flash (difficult to do inside!) and adjusted both my aperture and shutter speed. Here are my raw images as well as the "after" ones when I did some work on them!

1. Crissy and Titus (a fun play date morning!)
I like this picture a lot because they aren't looking at the camera but you can tell they are both so happy. I thought it'd be more effective a little cropped in and converted to black and white :)
2. I love Stevie and how serious she is. As a serious girl myself I appreciate that trait in others!
Again, I cropped it in closer so the "audience" can really tell she's the subject and I adjusted the tuning
3. I liked the idea of capturing moments and you'll notice I didn't pose any of these pictures. It seemed like all the best ones in class were more posed, so maybe I should have done that? But what's more precious than a mommy nursing her baby (btw you will be seeing these pictures again later ~hint~hint~)?
Not using flash made it a little blurry so I converted to black and white and cropped it in closer. In an ideal world I would have removed the elliptical machine from behind them but being that I don't know how to use one much less move it, that didn't happen ;)
4. Kye was begging to go upstairs and I thought it was a good opportunity to have a natural frame around him. 
I cropped it slightly and did a little tuning but I like this one. I guess an outsider may not know what it's all about but to me it tells a little story and captures a little memory of my little boy having to sit outside a baby gate and wait for me to open it to be able to go upstairs 
5. It's the only one of Zach I even took! He had a crazy work schedule week so I hardly saw him and just did this randomly to show him how if I didn't use flash my images would turn blurry with the slightest movement (not enough light). He paused so I could take this and I liked it.
I like this one but in an ideal world the light from the window wouldn't be there. Also I wish I didn't have to be looking "up" at him but how else do you get a picture of Zach? Everyone has to look up!!! I wish Zach could be a little more to the right but that's just a personal preference thing.
6. Yes, I submitted an extra picture. I couldn't decide and after Class 3 (when we reviewed the images) I realize I had pictures that I should have submitted. I'll post them with that lesson. This is the one Javon picked to review in front of the class.
This is the actual one I submitted. It got pretty ripped apart! The plant and stairs are distracting, Kye is facing the wrong direction (if he was leaning to his right instead of his left it'd look better), I should have cropped it in closer, he's too far to the corner of the image, etc. At least it had good lighting!!! That was it's one compliment :) Like I said though, I had images that would have not had the distractions and had him facing the "right" way but I need to have a better eye for those things when I go to submit them!
So I'm no amazing photographer...we already knew that didn't we? ;) It won't stop me from continuing to take pictures non-stop though! As I'm learning more and more I think I'll only get better, I'm a work in progress for sure :)

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