Our model Andrea

I bring a model in to class for a portrait session each semester. This time we had few logistical hiccups but it worked out just fine in the end. Pretty much all of my students were there, so I didn’t get much chance to shoot myself, but I did a few test shots while setting up the lights. This is done with just one light and a shoot-through umbrella. I like how the light wraps around her face.

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Week 4 Assignment

For my camera class students:

Review the Week 4 notes on low-light shooting and lighting mods.

Set up a still life somewhere that you can return to over the course of the week. Inside is fine, perhaps near a window. Photograph the still-life in as many different lighting situations as you can think of – try adding lights, try bouncing, try changing the color of the light… Experiment with shooting on a tripod if you’ve got one – try shooting at different times of day… Let this be both a creative and a technical assignment, but don’t let yourself get bogged down – set up a shooting situation that you find genuinely interesting :)

Week 3 Assignment

Assignment 3 – Shapes and composition

This week I want you to be looking for circles, squares, triangles and spirals. Go out in the world with those shapes in your head and make pictures that include them. As always, pay careful attention to your exposure and to your framing. Try to find a variety of different images within this one broad theme, and try to find all four shapes.

As always please bring 5-10 prints as well as a contact sheet to class.

More contact sheet stuff

Ok – this isn’t freeware, but it is GOOD and cheap, and has a free trial that you can use until your conscience catches up to you :)

It’s GraphicConverter from lemkesoft (Mac Only)

It costs something like $30 but start with the free version, which does everything you need. Just browse a folder and make your contact sheet, it will let you specify all the info you could possibly want to print. It’s great, give it a try!

Beginning Digital Camera – Free Contact Sheet Software (Windows)

Many of you last night were asking how to make your contact sheets display EXIF information .

Well, seeing as I’m always looking out for you, I did some detective work and I found a solution. Better yet – a free, cross-platform solution! And it’s called XnView (The mac version leaves a LOT to be desired, but it more or less works)

To make a contact sheet with xnview on windows, set the page dimensions to 2400 wide and 3000 tall (that’s 8×10 at 300 dpi, if you’re curious) and then in the show information box, set it up like this:

<filename>
ISO: <iso Value>
Shutter: <shutter Speed>
f/stop: <f -Number>

(You can just cut and paste the above into the show info box if you want to)

Or you could try lightroom, which is free for the moment and has a fantastic contact-sheet module. It works well in both mac/win environments.

I am a big optics geek

Ok. So I spend more time than I probably should reading articles and forums about photography. And the weird thing is that ever since digital cameras have come along, it seems like every photographer _everywhere_ has forgotten the basic optical principles that they learned back in Photo1. Namely – people are buying into marketing hype that tells them focal length somehow determines the fundamental look and feel of a photograph. Well, I’m here to prove ’em all wrong.

Please, read on, and be amazed by how much time I can waste when I want to prove a point. Continue reading

This week’s assignment(s)

So – most of you missed last night’s class, and therefore don’t know the assignment. Well, that excuse isn’t gonna fly – here it is:

Assignment 1: The portrait assignment —

Find a willing, and patient, model – someone you can spend some time photographing. Make pictures that address three different “types” of portraits.

1. Pictures about the person’s outer appearance. What they look like, how they dress, how they hold themselves… Think about lighting, about how to make your subject look his or her very best.

2. Pictures about the person’s personality – who _is_ this person anyway? Can you show some of their inner-life in your photos? Can you make a photo that tells a stranger about your subject’s character? Really think about personality here and expression – this isn’t the time for flattery, it’s the time for capturing your subject’s essence and spirit.

3. Pictures that show your subject in context – what’s their environment like? How does her or she fit within home, work, play spaces? Try to find somewhat unguarded moments, show a moment of life with your subject.

Assigment 2: Personal project

This assignment will carry us through the end of the course, and hopefully beyond. Think of something that you could work on for several weeks, months, years… And then, get started! Bring at least a “sketch” to class, something that’s a beginning that we can provide feedback on and maybe help you guide it towards something wonderful.

This week’s assignment

For those of you who couldn’t make it to class this week for one reason or another, here’s our assignment.

Read over the “Digital Week 4 Notes” document (you can find it in the documents section.)

The assignment – Still Life, Lighting and Mood

This is an indoor, set-up assignment. Find some interesting objects around your home and set up a little still life for yourself. It should be large enough that you can fill the frame with it with whatever lens you’re using. Then, experiment with ways to light it and shoot it in order to create different moods and sensibilities within the piece. Try dramatic light, soft light, colored light… Move the still life near a window for natural light, bounce light… Experiment with the techniques from the notes. (NO FLASH!) :)