Continuing to learn is especially important in creative photography because there are so many different subject areas and photographic styles, not to mention the changes in technology. I try to continuously develop my own photography and, as today is my birthday, it’s time for a bit of reflection on some of the things I’ve learnt in the past year.
This shot, from an advanced studio photography course I attended, shows that sometimes you need lots of lights to get a great shot. The person was lit with just 2 lights, it was the bike that was the challenge. It was lit by light reflecting off a large white sheet that was itself lit with 5 lights. This technique gave a better quality of illumination on the bike’s shiny surfaces, and I’m using it in my commissioned work for clients.
Digital photography involves the use of computers, and these days keeping up to date with developments in image editing software is vital. I was happy with the composition of this shot of Niagara Falls from below, after all my “The Creative Eye” course includes sections on composition, but I wanted to add a bit more punch to the image. I used the latest version of Adobe Photoshop to make a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image from a single RAW file. It’s a technique I learned this year, and it’s great for giving more detail in the shadow areas while keeping the highlight detail.
Setting yourself photographic challenges is a great way to learn, and this year I challenged myself to take as many creative images as I could in 30 minutes. I blogged about this previously, and this is another image from that shoot. A simple shot of a wild strawberry taken with a 50mm Sigma macro lens. Getting effective simple shots takes a lot of practice.
Pushing the boundaries of your cameras is also a great way to learn. I use a Lumix FX-500 digital compact camera, and it’s a great photographic tool. It has a surprising close-up ability, and by experimenting I’ve found that it’s ideal for close up portraits. This shot, of a horse’s eye, shows that you don’t need to show the whole of the face to show the subject well. To me there’s a sadness in there.
This year I’ve also been inspired by other photographers’ work, and by other works of art. We can learn so much by looking at paintings, sculpture (and the way it’s displayed), architecture, film and TV. The newly revised Ashmolean museum in Oxford is fabulous, and I loved the way this sculpture was silhouetted against the sun on the window blinds.
Sometimes by being a photographer we learn things about subjects other than photography. I saw these through a “potting shed” window in the grounds of Chastleton House in Oxfordshire. At first glance they looked like eggs, although I did wonder why eggs would be there. They are in fact potatoes, and they are getting a good start to growing by being left in the sun for a while. They did look as if they were sunbathing!
If my learning this year has inspired you to learn then my “The Creative Eye” course could be ideal. The next course is on Sat 13th Nov 2010 at the Court Hill Centre near Wantage. Online sales have ended, but you can still book by calling 01793 783859.