Archive for the ‘Mini Assignment’ Category

Most people assume that it is impossible to get good pictures before the sun comes up or after it goes down.  However,  it is possible and nothing is further from the truth.  Low light photography poses special challenges, but with a lot of practice and a few tips it is possible to get great and creative pictures.  This months mini assignment is to practice your low light photography and share your results after reading the following articles…

Low Light Digital Photography

10 Low Light Photo Tips

Night Photography:  Low Light Tips and Technique

15 Tips for Great Candlelight Photography

With the 4th of July coming up, another challenging low light situation is fireworks.  I don’t know about you, but I have shot tons of fireworks that look white and blurry.  With a few tips and practice it is possible to capture vibrant colored sharp fireworks that will impress all of your friends.  Here are a few tips that will help you get your firework shots perfected…

How to Photograph Firework Displays

11 Tips for Sparkling Fireworks Photos

After reading these tips and researching the subject a bit on your own, go out and create your own stunning low light images.  Don’t forget to come back and share your pictures on Mr. Linky and also share what tips worked for you and what tips did not.  Have fun!

1. Lori Hamilton 2. Karen S (klsbear)

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First things first – Just what is Depth of Field?  In simple terms it’s the amount of your image that is in sharp focus throughout the scene from front to back.   Why is it important to control your Depth of Field (DOF)?  Understanding how to manage DOF will allow you to get the entire scene in sharp focus or let you isolate your subject while blurring a distracting background.  Creative use of Depth of Field can be used to create a sense of depth in a photo or direct the viewer’s eye to a specific focal point.  In short, skillful use of DOF can take your image from “average snapshot” to “WOW!”

Continue reading the rest of the lesson here

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One basic rule of photography is to never place the subject directly in front of the sun.  However, an effective silhouette breaks that rule.  In the area of photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background.  The subject is generally a simple shape that is recognizable.  Silhouette photography produces some of the most visually striking effects you can produce with a digital camera.  It is a wonderful way to add drama and emotion to your image.

To achieve a silhouette, the main subject must be backlit.  A perfect background to that subject would be a sunrise, sunset, or any backdrop that is lighter than the subject.  Silhouette photography is dependent upon being in the right place at the right time with the right camera settings.  With a little practice you too can create your very own breathtaking silhouettes.  Below are several sites that give great tips in achieving the perfect silhouette.

How to Photograph Silhouettes in 8 Easy Steps

How to photograph Silhouettes:  Seven key tips and tricks

Silhouette Photography Made Easy

7 Tips for Photographing Silhouettes

After reading these tips and researching the subject a bit on your own, go out and create your own silhouettes.  Don’t forget to come back and share your pictures on Mr. Linky and also share what tips worked for you and what tips did not.  Have fun!

1. Jens
2. Mary Lou
3. Christina, Sweden
4. Judi Clark
5. Doris Pacheco
6. Jens
7. Sheila McDowell
8. victry1
9. Julie McLeod
10. KarenHBL
11. Sherrie
12. Clara
13. Deena
14. Karen S (klsbear)
15. Tammy

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For some inspiration, here are some links to some silhouette photography….

Better Photo.com

12 Stunning Silhouette Shots

30 Striking Examples of Silhouette Photography

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Photo from iStockphoto.com

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” George Eastman

It really is all about the light. The quality of light and the way the photographer uses it is of singular importance in making a good photograph. Good light can add dimension and interest to any photo. And, it is light that gives a dramatic or emotional photograph its impact. This month we’ll look at light’s different qualities and learn to assess how various types of light can influence our images. Though not a complete list, we’ll focus on these types of light:

  • Full Sun – Light is at its strongest when the sun is high in the sky. The strength of this direct light can wash out colors and create dark, harsh shadows that become distracting and unpleasant. The high contrast between shadowed areas and sunlit areas can pose exposure challenges, often resulting in loss of detail in the highlights or shadow areas of your image.
  • Cloudy/Overcast – A cloudy sky diffuses the light of the sun and makes it soft and appealing.  Rather than the direct, focused light source that falls on your subject under full sun, on a cloudy day the the light source is spread out, having the result of reducing the darkness of the shadows and making the contrast more manageable.
  • Open Shade – Another soft and diffuse light is found on sunny days when the subject is entirely in shade.  As with a cloudy or overcast day, you won’t have to contend with shadows and contrast is low.
  • Golden Hour – This is the first and last hour of sunlight in a day.  The light cast by the low sun is warm, often yielding a soft pink, orange, or red glow.  During the golden hours, shadows and contrast are minimized.

Mini-Assignment #3

We’d like you to take some time to consider what constitutes good light.  Try going out without your camera and simply study the light. As George Eastman said, admire it and embrace it and love it. Think about how it might affect your photos. Photography books, galleries, and museums are great places to see good light at work. When you look at other photographer’s work, think about the light and how it worked or didn’t work. Below, you’ll find some links to articles about various light and how to use light effectively for your photography. Take a little time to peruse them and think more about light.

Now for the experimentation.  We’d like you to take some photos of a single scene or subject in more than one different light situation – open shade, full sun, cloudy/overcast, or golden hour.  Then, share the the photos on your blog so we can see the variations produced by the different types of light.  You needn’t take all the images at once or even on the same day but they do need to be under different light conditions. Remember, for comparison purposes, we’d like the subject to be largely the same.  Let’s say you decide to photograph a local church.  Try visiting at dawn one morning to capture the golden light, then another day, go back for a shot during full sun to see how the harsh light treats your subject.  You can even take something moveable from one place to another to photograph under different conditions.  For example, move a garden decoration from where it normally sits and place it under the shade of a wall to see the difference between full sun and open shade.

Be sure to tell us about the light conditions for each of the shots you post.  Seeing everyone’s work is how we all learn. Take your time and enjoy your month of Seeing the Light….

1. Linda Johnstone
2. Karen HBL
3. LindaW
4. Sherrie
5. Julie
6. Jens
7. Jens
8. PatB
9. Viktoria
10. Clara
11. Judi Clark
12. Deena
13. Christina, Sweden

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Looking for more to read?

Read here about What is Good Light and here about The Best Light.  This cleverly titled article How to Improve Your Photography Without Spending a Dime is all about using light to make the difference in your shots.  For more on shooting on overcast days, see It’s Cloudy – Don’t Put That Camera Away and The Softbox in the Sky.  And a great article on the drama to be gained from cloudy skies is Killer Techniques for Shooting in Natural Light.

To find the optimal times for golden hour photography, visit The Golden Hour Calculator.  The calculator allows you to select your location on a map and then displays the times sunrise and sunset will occur for the current day.  After you select your location on the map, be sure to change the time to local time in the dropdown, then hover your mouse over the two golden bands on the timeline to see your golden hour information.  (Note: while many photographers consider the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset to be the golden hours, the creator of The Golden Hour Calculator uses a more scientific definition.  You’ll see that his ‘hour’ is a little longer than 60 minutes.)

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How many of you take pictures of family and friends and always stay behind the camera?  I bet each and every one of you raised your hand (with the exception of BarbP).  Well, let’s change that scenario!   Let’s step in front of the lens for some fun with self portraits.

Self portraits may be intimidating for some but remember they don’t have to be of your face, they can be of your hands, your eyes, or the back of your head, just anything that reflects who you are or your mood for the day.  There are many ways to take a self portrait, holding the camera arm length and snapping, the self timer mode on your camera, taking a picture of yourself in a mirror…the possibilities are endless.  To learn more about self portraits, take a look at the links below:

Self Portrait Photography Tips
I’m Ready for My Close Up

You may also want to google self portraits for some ideas….now on to Mini Assignment #2.

After reading the links and researching the subject on your own, we would like you to post your self portrait and then tell us a little bit about yourself and your portrait in your post.  It will be a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.  As always, feel free to do more than one portrait but please make a separate post for each portrait. Please feel free to comment on everyone’s post.  And most important don’t forget to link your post to Mr Linky so that all can enjoy!  Once you are finished stop back by and comment here on what worked for you and what didn’t.

Have fun with this and show us some creativity.

1. Mike
2. Steve Mattan
3. Edmund
4. Edmund
5. Mary Lou
6. Bill
7. Julie
8. Clara
9. Jens
10. ~Val
11. Doris Pacheco
12. Edmund
13. Madelaine
14. Sherrie
15. Lena Ohle’n
16. Lena Ohle’n
17. jo
18. Lesli
19. john or johna
20. Sarah
21. TMeredithN (Tamara)
22. Viktoria
23. Terri
24. Merryn
25. Lena Ohlén
26. Bobbie
27. Esther
28. billz
29. Jessica
30. Ellen
31. Deena
32. Iona
33. Christina, Sweden
34. Julie – Version 2

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Photo from iStockphoto.com

Whether novice or seasoned photo bloggers, I’m sure we share at least one goal – we’d like to post images that make an impact on our viewers.  Since our 2010 Virtual Photowalk blogs are meant to showcase our photography, we want our images to be strong enough to convey our intended message, tell a compelling story, or even elicit emotion.  There’s no doubt that we’re a pretty diverse group and we’re certainly all at different places as photographers.  Our numbers include beginners and intermediate photographers.  Some of us are struggling to learn the technical aspects of our cameras while others are exploring advanced techniques.  Our tools range from basic kits to gear bags filled to the brim with high-tech goodies.  The artistic side of photography is what grabs a lot of us, while some dig the technical aspects.  Despite these differences, each of us has the same opportunity to create a photo that is both pleasing and effective, and that creates a connection with the viewer.

We’re going to start our series of monthly mini-assignments with the basics of composition and explore some established conventions designed to help us create strong images.  Imagine that we have a big, empty frame to fill each time we shoot.  Compositional rules can help us decide exactly what to put in the empty frame (and what to discard), as well as how to arrange the elements within the frame.  Have you ever taken a painting course or art appreciation class?  You may be familiar with some of these rules, as they are common to other visual arts.  Even if you’ve never studied them, the principles may be somewhat instinctive for you.  But, rest assured, if you’re not lucky enough to have them come naturally, the rules are quite easy to grasp.   A review of on-line material tells us that many more compositional ‘rules’ are used in the context of photography than we’d be able to address in our mini-assignment so we’ve decided to focus on a few popular ones.  Keep in mind that while our assignment is to examine these rules, it is up to each of us to choose what we want to put into our photos.  And sometimes the rules will best be broken or bent to serve that choice.  But, we’ll all benefit from knowing the rules so we can make informed decisions about breaking them.  So, onwards with the mini-assignment…

Mini – Assignment #1:

We’d like you to begin by reviewing the following article from Amateur Snapper entitled “Ten Top Photography Composition Rules”:


After reading it, take a look around online for more articles and photographic examples, browse your old art textbooks, or go to the library and study the old masters or photographic greats.  Then,

  • Pick one of the compositional rules and experiment with taking shots that both use the rule and break the rule.
  • Then post at least two of your resulting photos on your blog – match a ‘rules’ images and a ‘broken rules’ images for a single subject.  So, for example, to demonstrate The Rule of Thirds, you might post an image of an obelisk centered exactly in the middle of the frame as your ‘broken rules’ image and the same obelisk aligned with one of the vertical thirds of the frame as your ‘rules’ image.
  • In your accompanying blog post, indicate which rule you put into play.  Explain what choices you made when you composed your image and comment on whether you think that applying the rule enhanced your image or not.
  • Once you have posted your examples to your blog, follow the directions in the sidebar for posting the link to your blog using Mr. Linky.   (See “Mr. Linky How-To”)
  • Feel free to domore than one rule but please make a second post on your blog and add a second Mr. Linky link.
  • Pleasedo leave comments for other bloggers on their blogs.
  • In the comments section here, please leave general comments about composition and compositional rules.  We’d love to have additional useful links listed in the comments as well.

Go forth and compose!

1. Tammy McChesney
2. Terri
3. Danudin
4. Sherrie
5. Terri
6. Danudin
7. Doris Pacheco
8. Esther Farnstrom
9. Kerri
10. ~Val (vawitt)
11. Esther Farnstrom
12. Clara
13. Lesli Peterson
14. Barb Phillips
15. KarenB
16. Jens
17. Bill Belajac
18. Esther Farnstrom
19. Bobbie
20. Julie McLeod
21. Karen S (klsbear)
22. Karen S (klsbear)
23. Madelaine
24. Cathy
25. Sheila McDowell
26. Madelaine (updated)
27. Terri
28. Tammy McChesney
29. Esther
30. Danudin Cropping
31. Danudin More Cropping
32. Danudin Creating Depth
33. Danudin Leading Lines
34. Danudin Balancing Elements
35. Danudin Background
36. DanudinViewPoint
37. Edmund
38. PatB
39. Eleanor
40. Eleanor
41. Tammy McChesney
42. lijola
43. Sue in Vancouver
44. Eleanor-Lines
45. Merryn
46. Viktoria
47. Deena
48. Greg
49. Stephanie Weeks
50. Eleanor-Balancing
51. Christina, Sweden, Cropping
52. Artlover, Sweden
53. Rachel
54. Danudin Mixed
55. tterlyn
56. Esther
57. Bobbie
58. Linda Johnstone

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