Lessons learnt from The Art of Photography

My plan here is to record my learning points from each of the units as I work through the course, revisit on a fairly regular basis and when I feel that I’ve taken the point on board as a matter of course, to highlight it in colour.  Hopefully by the end of the course this whole page will be very colourful!

Lessons from Unit 1

  • Practice using manual the manual setting on the camera more, both for focusing and to select so that I can select the shutter speed and aperture to fit the situation.  In the case of the latter, use the histogram as a guide.
  • Don’t assume that  shutter speed that the camera gives when in aperture priority mode, and vise versa, will give the exposure I want.  Always need to check and maybe bracket shots.
  • Find opportunities to practice panning, not very good at that yet.  Also try different shutter speeds for movement to see what works best.
  • Don’t assume that the obvious picture is the best or only one, look for alternatives and  play around with different shooting positions.
  • Be open-minded, try different crops and formats.
  • Think about what subjects will fit the exercises in the course and do what is asked.  Read the whole unit in advance and make a list of possible topics for each activity, then I should have a bank of options to fall back on.
  • Be aware of the different perspectives that will result from different focal points, think about what I am trying to achieve.
  • Think about how the positioning of different tones and colours as well as shapes provide balance in the picture but don’t get too hung up by rules.
  • Look at all the possible options before pressing the shutter speed, this will give better results than cropping later.  Also look at portrait as well as landscape format.
  • Experiment more with non standard formats such as panorama type views square crops.
  • explore the work of other photographers more, ideal opportunity when my monthly photo mag comes in!
  • Sort out printing, it will make a big difference to how I feel about the results not to mention the saving on prints thrown away.

Lessons learnt from Unit 2

  • Where there are more than one potential point in a frame, choose carefully and think about the relationship
  • More practice needed with still life settings
  • When taking close up photographs it isn’t enough to use a shallow depth of field, I also need to be aware of the background and make sure it is uncluttered.
  • More practice needed when lighting still life, I need to get into the habit of taking one or two pictures, assessing the results using the histogram and deciding which is the best lighting rather than taking masses and hoping for a good one.
  • Think about colour, lighting and shadow as design elements as well as lines points and shapes

Lessons learnt from Unit 3

  • Getting the balance of different colours is harder than you might think.
  • Bear in mind Von Goethe’s values assigned to colour but don’t get too hung up with the rules.
  • A colour accent may add to the picture
  • Make sure that when photographing such as flowers, that the specimen is flawless and background spotlessly clean for still life images
  • Check exposure using camera’s histogram

Lessons learnt from Unit 4

  • Don’t dismiss taking pictures in cloudy or wet weather, instead, take advantage of the opportunities it presents
  • Think about appropriate clothing and check the camera for drops of moisture
  • Think about aperture, shutter speed and ISO as well as exposure compensation
  • More practice needed taking pictures involving water and wet surfaces

Lessons learnt from Unit 5

  • Planning, planning, planning
  • Do a prior visit to the venue if appropriate so that I can take account of any difficulties – e.g. where will the sun be coming from, where will I be able to stand?
  • Write to the venue in advance – maybe I could have got access to the press area if I’d asked
  • Make sure that I take enough photos to cover all aspects of the day, but be ruthless with the final submission – this applies to any photographic assignment
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