assignment #1: fill the frame
Alright! Now that we've all introduced ourselves, it's time to jump into the assignments.
Since at least one member of our group is currently using a point & shoot camera, I'd like to start our journey together with a look at various composition rules. We'll focus on manual settings a bit later.
For these assignments, you will not need to shoot in manual mode (though, of course, that will be our eventual goal) and there are no restrictions on using or not using your flash.
For right now, I want us to focus on our compositions and not as much about the settings on the camera. I want for us all to post our pictures unedited and with our settings. That way we can TALK about those settings and set the groundwork for when we begin our assignments in manual mode down the road. Even when you shoot in the auto setting, by looking at the settings afterward, you can start to get a feel for where you should put your own settings when the time comes.
Now ... back to that assignment ...
The first piece of advice given to me by a photographer friend was to "fill the frame" when composing my shots. He said a good rule of thumb was to try and fill at least 70% of your frame with your photo. He said this was especially true with portraits.
Of course, every rule has an exception. But for our first assignment, I want us to examine this suggested composition rule.
Take a shot where you practically fill the fame with your subject. Then take a step back (or zoom out) and take another. Then do the same from a bit further out. You can take as many photos of this single subject as you like. Let's post at least 3. Remember to include your settings and also note if you shot it in automatic mode, shutter priority mode, aperture priority mode, or full manual. You can post as many sets as you would like, but please include at least 3 shots for each set. I want you think about what you like and don't like about each of the pictures you post.
For example, here is a set that I took of Loli this morning before shcool. All shots were taken in manual mode w/ my 50mm at f/2.5, shutter speed 1/80, and an iso of 1000.
What I like about the top photo is that I am immediately drawn to his eyes. His face is obviously the subject of my photo.
In the middle photo, I like the fact that I can see more of his body and that there is no head chop. But the further away from him I get, the more elements there are in the frame that compete for my attention.
In the bottom photo, I feel he is starting to get a little lost in the frame. In fact, my eyes are drawn to the artwork on the wall and not directly to my boy (even with my mommy goggles ;) ).
For me, composition-wise, these are the things that stand out in these 3 photos. If I were composing a shot to print (instead of just for our fun here), I would probably be looking for something more like the top photo. I might try to catch something in between the top and the middle shot to see if I could manage the connection with my subject that I have in the top photo without the head chop like in #2.
So ... let's see what you guys come up with and we'll start working on this aspect of our photography for now.