Assignments


January:
Composition and Framing

    1. clearly identify your subject. Begin by explaining your choice. How will you draw attention to it?
    2. Move in closer to your subject, but not too close. Lead the viewer towards the subject.
    3. Get in closer still. Decide whether to use the vertical or horizontal aspect ratio. Image orientation produces different emphases and can alter the whole dynamic of a shot.
    4. Simplify your image. What is it that you want the viewer to focus on?

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February:
Being Creative with Patterns

    1. look for various types of patterns – squares, circles, triangles and so on.
    2. Shoot from a different perspective. Look up, look down or shoot from a distance
    3. Break the pattern, disrupt the continuity in some way
    4. Use pattern as a background for a more substantial subject.

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March:
Being Creative with Textures

    1. Find something smooth and get in close
    2. Find something rough and get in close. Try contrasting a rough texture against a smooth texture
    3. Play with angles. This might mean getting down on your stomach to shoot upwards. Or zoom in to focus on the texture and not the subject itself.
    4. Try to mix your texture with other colours and patterns
    5. Get close to your subject and capture just the texture itself, without the context. Then Zoom out so that you capture both the context of the texture as well as the texture itself.

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April:
Being Creative with Lines

    1. Look for horizontal lines. In a photograph, horizontal lines in particular need to be completely level across the frame, because your viewer’s eye will perceive even a slightly skewed horizontal line as uncomfortable to look at or just incorrect.
    2. Look for vertical lines. Vertical lines convey a sense of power and strength, especially when the subject itself is towering and imposing, such as a very tall tree or building. Watch out for diminishing perspective on very tall buildings.
    3. Converging lines. These convey a sense of depth and distance, try to have something of interest at the point where they appear to meet. Or position them on the diagonal to infer motion.
    4. Curved lines. Curved lines allow the viewer to explore an entire image, meandering from one part to another. S curves divide an image into equal parts and lead your eye through the image.

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May:
Being Creative with Light

    1. Look for shadows. Strong light, casting well-defined shadows, can create interesting abstract images. Layering light and shadows brings a sense of depth to an image and can convey mystery.
    2. Study light throughout the day from one location / or one object returning to see how light changes and affects it. Compile 6 shots. Which is your favourite?
    3. Create one image using strong lighting which creates strong shadows and emphasises contrasts in tones AND one image with much lighter tones. If you have post-processing software try experimenting with ‘low key’ and ‘high key’ effects.
    4. Use strong backlighting (i.e. shooting towards the light source, but do not look directly at the sun) to create a contre-jour image where the subject becomes a silhouette, OR shoot the light through flowers or leaves creating a transparent effect.
    5. Experiment in different weather conditions such as mist or rain, OR take a photograph indoors such as a still life or light entering a room streaming through a window OR experiment in capturing the colour of light.

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June:
Being Creative with the Depth of Field

    1. Take three images of a chosen subject at three different aperture ranges. Low (shallow like f/1.8), medium (intermediate like f/5.6) and high (deep like f/11). Which photo pleases you the most. Why is that?
    2. We are looking at the shallow depth of field this week so get close up to your subject. Use either a macro lens OR the macro setting on your camera to get in as close as you can and still retain a sharp focus
    3. Get out and capture an image with the maximum depth of field by choosing a small aperture (higher f-stop, like f/8 or f/11) or use a wide-angled lens.
    4. Restrict yourself to taking only 12 photos during any photo-shoot this week. Like in the old days of film. How hard was it? Did the knowledge that you were restricted cause you to think more about each shot? Is there a favourite? Was there a common depth of field?

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July:
Being Creative with Space

    1. Create a sense of depth by using space in the background and a shallow depth of field (where the background is blurred).
    2. Find a subject and try to create a dynamic scene. Then break the rule and create some tension in your photograph (such as a person staring at the edge of the frame / walking out of the frame / tightly cropped inside the frame). Try comparing the two scenes to see which works the best. Empty space or not?
    3. Increase the sense of drama by increasing negative space.
    4. Try creating a 3D image. Take care to include elements in your foreground and background that work together to separate those two parts of the scene; ideally, you want the largest-appearing objects in the foreground and the smaller ones in the background.

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August:
Colour Theory

    1. Capture a scene with strong contrasting colours. Try using a simple composition so they are most effective, often some type of pattern arrangement works best.
    2. Find a monochromatic scene consisting of varying shades of a single colour.
    3. Choose a colour. Any colour, it could be your favourite one. Next set out to photograph anything that is largely composed of that hue. Allow only variations of the colour within your photograph. If anything else is present don’t take the picture unless you can crop it out, get in closer to exclude it or change your viewpoint. When you have finished put your collection together. You may be surprised by the differences in shades.
    4. Take a photo of a subject that you like in colour and then convert it to Black & White. Show both images for comparison. Which is best? Does the subject rely on colour for impact?
    5. Experiment with using two or three Complementary colours. Try to make one or two colours the focus of the image, and use the other colour to enhance the overall image.

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September:
What is the Point of View?

    1. Take a picture of a frequently photographed subject like a flower or a person’s face from an unusual POV. How can you create an out-of-the-ordinary shot?
    2. Focus on the shadow of your subject rather than the subject
    3. Tilt the frame which basically means that your subject is at an angle to the frame and not parallel with the bottom of the camera frame.
    4. Have a go at ICM, intentional camera movement. This is obtained by controlling the shutter speed (you need a long speed of around 1/20sec or slower). You can try panning, zooming or rotating the camera. Look for contrasting colours or interesting shapes. Trees are always good, but sunsets and city lights can be fun.

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October: Seascapes / Landscapes

    1. Try and capture something unique or something ordinary but in an unique way
    2. Highlight a dramatic sunset or sunrise or reflections
    3. Look for patterns and / or textures along the seashore / urban environment, (this might be in the rocks or shells or seaweed). Try using different depths of field with the same subject then compare them to see which you prefer.
    4. Try capturing the waves: either crashing dramatically against the rocks or a pier, surfers riding the waves, or gentle waves lapping on the seashore. Substitute the beach for rolling hills or woodlands. Look out for someone or something that might add interest.

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November:
Black and White Photography

    1. Look for patterns. Patterns can be very attractive in black and white as there is no colour to detract the viewer.There are great patterns in nature and architecture.
    2. Look for shadows and textures. Carefully choose your images so that you can angle the light to create a sense of depth with the shadows.
    3. Make sure you have contrasts in your image(s). Clear whites and strong blacks will add impact and create attention.
    4. Photograph nature in black and white. This can be more challenging as we often associate the natural world with colour, so look for contrasts, shapes, patterns, tones. Experiment with high-key and low-key effects.
    5. Try your hand at urban photography. Look for interesting architectural objects or street scenes or even people if you are confident enough.

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December:
Shape and Form

    1. Get out and find an object where its outline is more dominant than its three dimensional qualities, you need to approach your photograph with an eye for shape rather than form.
    2. Find an object that seems interesting because of the way the light strikes it, or because of its volume, your photograph should focus more on your subject’s form.
    3. Examine some of your photos and look for shapes and forms. Look for the ones that have strong geometric shapes and ask yourself what makes them good photos. Now find the organic shapes and determine what kind of mood those images seem to convey. Create a collage / gallery of six photos and explain why you like or dislike each one. Do your favourite photos contain different kinds of shapes or similar shapes?
    4. Look through the images that you have used for this challenge throughout the year and select your favourite from each month. Has focusing on a particular topic helped you become a more considered photographer? Challenged your skills? Expanded your creativity?

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