Great work with these two assignments. You’ve accomplished exactly what we hoped you would with this lesson.
Your first image uses a shallow depth of field to help draw your audience’s eyes towards your focal point. I love this image. It possesses many great design elements. For example, you’ve used a limited color palette to help organize your composition and you’ve used beautiful, soft side lighting to help draw out some of the texture in the fabric. The shadows are subtle, but they really help you create a sense of 3 dimensions.
My only concern with this image is that with most portraits (even animals) the strongest point of focus should almost always be the eyes. When I enlarge this photo I think the strongest point of focus is just an inch before the dog’s eyes on his nose instead. It’s a very small detail and not one that jumps off the page at you until you enlarge the image. However, transforming yourself into a great photographer will require attention to these small details. Many cameras have “expanded focus” or “focus assist” features that let’s you temporarily zoom in to see where your focus is sharpest before taking the shot.
The second image is also fantastic. You have great use of space, lines and movement. Even though you haven’t read the lecture on black and white photography, this image also has one of the most important features that a black and white photograph should contain: Tonal range. There is a noticeable difference between the deepness of your blacks and your vibrant whites. This gives your composition a very dramatic look.