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Thanks for sharing those resources with us Anita. I’ve already bookmarked both of the photographers you’ve mentioned. There work is fantastic and a great source of inspiration for other students in this community as well.
Thanks for sharing.
I think you did a wonderful job with this assignment. You definitely captured the essence of what this assignment was about: Turning something ordinary into something more interesting.
I think you did a great job of a few things in particular so I’ll outline those things first. As you’ll learn in future lessons, color simplicity is an often overlooked component to good photography. In your 2nd photograph you do a great job of limiting the color range that makes it within the 4 walls of your photograph. This helps the viewers eye focus on what’s important, rather than be distracted by colors.
Secondly, you incorporate the rule of thirds into your work (with the line running along the bottom 1/3 of the screen and the main objects being placed off center. This helps create a dramatic feel to this photograph.
However, I do have one major thing I want to point out that we haven’t covered yet, but I want you to keep an eye on in all of your future photographs. I want you to pay extra attention to the 4 walls of your photograph. In this case you’ve cut off part of the pepper shaker with the right hand wall of the photo. Because of the abstract nature of the shot, it’s not terribly bad, but generally speaking, as a photographer you need to avoid “amputating” important or even unimportant elements of a photograph with one of the walls of the photograph. It’s distracting for the viewers eyes and it leads to disorganization unless very well thought out.
Other than that, this photograph is very well done. I’m excited to see what you’ll produce next!
Hello Kat. Congratulations on completing and passing the exam with top marks.
Sorry about the delay. We changed our mailing schedule so you just missed the last one which is why there was a longer than anticipated wait.
Your certificate was mailed out on Thursday April 17th. It should arrive this week or very early next week at the latest.
Again, sorry about the delay.
I notice a personal style in your work. You’re also particularly good with finding and shaping triangles and leading lines in many of your photographs.
Your gallery looks great and has simple and easy to navigation structure. However, over time as you get more and more comfortable with your camera I would strongly recommend paying for your unique photogrpahy domain name and hosting. If you ever end up selling your photographs (which I hope you do some day) it will give you a professional web presence (add free) and you’ll have complete control over your domain name and design.
We have no affiliate with the web hosting and registration company Godaddy (http://www.godaddy.com) and have used their services for years (as have friends and associates). They offer quality customer service, almost 100% up time, no advertising, tools for web design beginners and much more.
You can get started with them for about $10 / year for your domain name (i.e. http://www.yoursite.com) and for a good sized website you can pay as little as $3.99 / month (on a month to month basis if you wish) for a host for your website.
There is no rush to get that website up. Work on building your photography portfolio first. Once you have about 30 pictures which you feel are near perfect (color, composition, framing, moments etc) then consider putting up a new website and promoting your work in galleries, online, etc. I really think with enough practice and a large enough portfolio you can monetize your work as a photographer.
Keep up the great work. We’ve bookmarked your website and will be revisiting regularly to see the progress!
Great photograph. You have a very clear outline of your main subjects and you’ve managed to use a good depth of field to help focus your audience attention on the main area of interest while at the same time providing context.
I also like how you’re experimenting with unusual and non traditional shapes. The long vertical crop looks very nice.
I have two words of advice for you with this shot.
1. Cropping the shot at body joints can sometimes make the shot look awkard. Watching films is a great way to see where to amputate if you must do so. But as a general rule of thumb do not crop the body at any joint (knees, wrist, neck, ankles etc). You’ve cropped the man at his knees which is a little distracting for the viewer.
2. Secondly, I feel it may have been more powerful if there was more negative space to the left of the frame in the direction that that the little girl is looking. I feel that it would have provided better composition and more dramatic balance.
I hope this helps.
Kat, I must say that I think this is your best photograph to date from a composition standpoint. You’ve very clearly defined your rule of thirds. In fact your ground is taking up 1/3, the trees take up 1/3 and the sky takes up 1/3 which creates a very balanced looking photograph. Similarly, you’ve positioned yourself on a an angle and the line of the ground comes in on the bottom left hand corner creating a “leading line”. This helps insert the viewers eye into the picture. You’ve also placed a small boat out there which acts as a “stopper” so your viewers eye don’t simply rush in and then out of the picture. This gives the viewers eye something to rest on while they are not exploring the rest of your photograph. The clouds and overall atmosphere of this shot are great. Wonderful work.
The good news is that you don’t seem to be making the same mistake twice in any of your photographs. However, in this shot a new mistake has arisen. Your reproduction of detail is not perfect. This is because your shooting in relatively low lighting situations which kept your shutter speed open longer and therefore there is a slight blur which is noticeable to the viewers of this shot. In the smaller size it’s not that noticeable but in the larger format it’s a distracting element.
When you’re shooting on cloudy days or in the evening you’ll likely continue to see this problem unless you can find an object to rest your camera on while you take the shot. Alternatively I would recommend investing in a small tripod to help steady the shot. It will make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your photographs.
In this case you probably couldn’t have sped up your shutter speed because it would have underexposed your photograph. A tripod or other object where you could rest your camera is the only option for shots like this.
But as I said before… Great photograph and fantastic composition.
Great shots. I particularly like the slower shutter speed shot. And in these shots you have a much wider tonal range than in your last shot with too many grey tones. From a black and white photography standpoint you’ve done a really good job of seeing tonal range. I really like the tonal imbalance with both shots being low key photographs with high key highlights.
I do have two strong recommendations for you however. First of all the composition could use slight improvements. I like how the waterfall is off to the side but it’s very close to the center of the photograph along the vertical axis. I think (depending on which is more interesting) you should have placed it slightly higher or slightly lower.
Secondly and more importantly, I want to see you start to play around with foreground objects and leading lines. You’re very good at focusing on your main object that usually lies in the middleground. I want you to pay extra close attention not to your foreground.
In your photographs I notice there is a branch by the side of the river. What about positioning yourself behind the branch and either shooting through it or repositioning it to provide a leading line into the photograph. Likewise, there are great rock formations in this shot. What about getting close to one of these rocks and using them in your foreground. Especially with landscape photographs like this, a strong foreground gives the viewer the feeling of “being there” since it provides a better understanding of depth.
Other than that, I really think you’re on the right path. I’ve noticed marked improvements in your work. Very impressive.
All the best.
This concept is great. I think this is a wonderful idea for a staged photograph. When you look at this photograph you get hit with thoughts, questions and powerful imagery. Your composition is great (maybe a little too centered though) but there are no distracting elements and nothing that’s amputated poorly. It’s very well thought out.
The only thing I’m going to point out here has to do with your tonal range. Now you probably think it’s not fair that I’m going to pick on you about a subject that you don’t learn until the next lesson, but this is a great opportunity for you to learn about this advanced black and white composition technique.
I copied your image into Photoshop so you could see how it responded to your “levels” (See the next lesson if you’re not familiar with levels yet). You’ll notice you have two big spikes in the dark grey area and in the almost white area. But you have nothing in the darkest of the blacks or the whitest of the whites.
You could have used this same photograph to get a winder tonal range, but you may have had to underexpose it a little to get the dark black. Maybe you could have given it some side lighting to further bring out the textures in the hands and highlight the white areas.
While your tonal range in this picture is pretty good, it could be improved just slightly by taking photographs with different lighting and different exposures.
Try “bracketing” when you’re taking photographs like this. This means you will take one photograph the way you like it, then take the same photograph exposed 1 notch higher, and take the last photograph exposed one notch lower. Then you’ll have a range to choose from!
All the best. Keep up the good work.
p.s. the levels for this picture are added as the attachment.
These are two great photographs which do a wonderful job of highlighting the difference between hard and soft lighting. The hard lighting shot in particular shows the harshness of shadows caused by lines in your photograph. There are the shadows caused by the railing, trees, telephone poles. As you can see these objects create shadows which take on their attributes of their own objects in shadows. This is why it’s important to use hard lighting with care. Harsh shadows will change your composition, create shapes that you may or may not want and possibly even change the shape or dimension of other objects within your photograph.
From a technical standpoint, these two photographs show exactly the definition of hard and soft lighting. Great work.
I know this assignments wasn’t necessarily about composition, but I do want to point out one thing. In your soft lighting picture you amputated the top half of the window. This amputation is really distracting for the viewer. Be extra careful not to cut important elements off with the 4 walls of your photograph. Take a look at these compositions of windows…
There are also some great pictures where the edges are amputated as well, but the amputation needs to be carefully planned.
The last comment I have about the same photograph has to do with visual space. When you have a person in your photograph looking one way there should be more space in the direction they are looking. This is not a hard set rule, but it’s a good place to start until you can find shots that would look good reversed.
You’ve placed your main character a little further to the left in this picture and she’s looking left. She should be position to the right to show more of the distance she’s looking in. Look at this photograph for example.
Notice there is more space the direction they are looking. If this couple was located further to the left it would look like they were going to walk out of the photograph.
I hope this helps! Great work!
This is exactly what I was looking for. A simplified outdoor photograph. Beautiful!
I am very impressed from your progression fro your last assignment to this one. I love how you’re playing with negative space, color simplification and object simplification.
You’ve also shown progression with your willingness to alter your perspective. This photograph is stunning. It almost looks like a painting and the clouds provide the perfect backdrop for this plant. In fact the clouds seem to be almost “molded” around the plant. You greatly go this shot at the perfect time. You’ve also managed to capture a the vibrancy of the blue in the sky. Did you use a polarizing filter for this? It’s great.
My one and only criticism of this photograph is you’ve “blown out” a small portion of it near the bottom. Being “blown out” is photography slang for being highly overexposed. When it happens you loose all detail in a white area. The challenging part is being able to identify the blown out part in your small LDC screen or viewfinder. Some cameras come with a ‘zebra’ setting which puts lines on any areas which are highly overexposed.
Your overexposed area is on the bottom, left hand side of the branch. If you look at it from different angles you’ll notice that is a spot about 0.5 inches wide by about 1 inch tall which is overexposed and lacks all details. It doesn’t look terrible at the picture size you have now, but if you enlarged this print it would look very distracting. It would look like a noticeable mistake if it was enlarged. Just be careful about that.
Otherwise, I love this shot. Great progression so far.
Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing your next assignment.
Great shot Kat. You’ve definitely managed to simplify the colors in this photograph. A very challenging assignment for landscape photography. What I want you to experiment with a little more is your camera’s positioning and your composition. Don’t be afraid to change your point of view (POV). Duck down and get your camera just inches of the ground.
You’ve managed to simplify the colors quite nicely, but the composition lacks a center piece or a main area of interest. It has elements which are of interest independently but nothing that stands out as the primary object.
For your next assignment, I want you to try changing your perspective (get low to the ground or high above it). It’s the easiest thing to change and it can have a dramatic impact on your photographs.
Also try incorporating more foreground elements into your shots. It helps lead the eye into the photograph and gives the viewer the feeling that they are in the photograph, rather than outside it.
Overall great work. I’m excited to see what you can come up with next!
That is an absolutely spectacular photo. Personally I love the infrared look so I’m a little biased. But even the composition is very well done in this photograph. I would like to draw your (and other students) attention to some of the key highlights of this photograph.
1. You’ve used your foreground very effectively. I have different “layers” in the photograph but your foreground is particularly impressive. A good foreground helps lead the viewers eye into the picture.
2. Secondly your use of a leading line (the cement pillars in the foreground) act as a nice diagonal to further help lead the viewers eye into the photograph.
3. All of the elements of the photograph are interesting. The trees, the texture and the shapes all help create a beautiful piece. However, you’ve also managed to fit in a “primary object” in your center (the waterfall). This gives the eye something to rest on while it’s not exploring the rest of the photograph.
4. due to the filer used, you’ve managed to simplify the color range and also provide a very dramatic tonal range.
5. Considering you used a large range of high tones in this photograph, nothing is overexposed or washed out (including your sky). This is quite rare in outdoor daytime photographs.
Great job. The best of yours I’ve seen so far from a composition standpoint!
Great macro photograph.
I’ve noticed you’ve found an opportunity to break the compositional rule of thirds. In this photography you celebrate nature’s ability to create almost perfectly symmetrical shapes with your formal (balanced) composition.
The colors are great, but I feel the texture of the photograph could be enhanced a little bit. Consider playing around with different lighting if possible. Side lighting helps bring out little bits of texture in shots like this and make it look more three dimensional. This shot looks a little “flat” due to the lighting. I’m not sure if this is natural lighting or indoor lighting but try playing around with side lighting and how it can enhance texture. There is a lot of hidden texture in this photograph that you should try to pull out.
Also, although the color is very vivid in this photograph try increasing the color vibrancy just a little bit. You can often do this by using lower ISO speeds, or purposely underexposing your picture by a small fraction. Also some cameras have color settings built in.
I’m looking forward to seeing your next set of photographs!
All the best
I’m not sure if you’re doing this intentionally or not, but I’m noticing that you’re incorporating triangles and diagonal lines into your photographs. This is a secret of many photographers. It turns out that diagonal or “leading lines” help guide the viewers eye into the photograph. From a composition standpoint the triangular shapes that the diagonals create also seem to be desired by audiences.
In this photograph you’ve done a great job with capturing the beauty of the natural lighting. The polarizing filter helps greatly with the dramatization of the sky. Otherwise the sky will often appear washed out.
There are 2 things I want you to keep an eye out for.
1. You’ll notice off to the left hand side you’ve cut off the majority of a building. Remember to pay extra close attention to the 4 walls of your photograph. This crop looks accidental and adds a distracting element to you photograph. Either take it out completely (you can even do this in post production if you wish) or bring the entire object in.
2. Secondly, you’re great with leading the eye into the picture. However, try to find an object that the viewers eye can rest on after it’s entered into the photograph. The reflection in the water is a possible main area of interest, but think about objects which may be more obvious or pronounced. It’s not mandatory, and this shot looks nice as is, but it does help with the overall ease and enjoyment of looking at photographs.
Another great job!
Great shots. Both display your understanding of what was asked of you. The shallow depth of field shot is perfect. Your framing with the mans shoulders into the frame, the off center framing, the blurred background without loosing the context of the shot are all, from a technical standpoint, perfectly done. Well done!
The slow shutter speed photograph is also very well done, but the composition is more complicated and distracting. Technically you’ve captured what you were supposed to. The waterfall looks spectacular. However, some of the details in the background are distracting to the viewers eye. Especially in the top left hand corner. I like the angle of the shot, but you might want to try to simplify the background a little bit more by changing your position. With photography, often ‘less is more’.
Likewise, the colors of the photograph are washed out and the harsh shadows are creating shapes in and of themselves. I know you have no control over the lighting of the time of day, this shot would have had more texture if you took the shot early in the morning or later at night. The texture of the brick and the shadows may have been more appealing if the shot was taken during the golden hours. Alternatively I would recommend framing the shot a little closer to highlight the waterfall and remove some of the distracting elements. Have you considered manipulating the color of this print? I think if the contrast in the brick was slightly more pronounced this photograph would be much more appealing.
Overall… Great work! Keep it up.