Yesterday evening I started my photography course at Langara; Digital Intermediate Photography (PHTG 1048). Ideally, I would like to take their Practical Lighting course, but was told I would need to take this course first. I did get to skip over their Basic Digital Photography (PHTG 1049) and Basic Digital Workflow (PHTG 1057) which is nice and I am very glad that I could because those would have been too basic for myself.
So what does Digital Intermediate Photography involve? The following is from the objectives on a hand out we received:
- Practice exposure techniques for difficult and low light scenarios
- Identify and compose images with simplicity and impact
- Identify the properties and qualities of both artificial and natural light
- Apply dSLR White Balance (WB) settings in various lighting conditions
- Practice metering techniques with both reflective and incident light meters
- Apply lighting ratio techniques for shooting still like and portraits in the studio
- Practice lighting techniques for portraiture on location and in the studio
- Learn the required camera setting when using flash and studio strobes
- Use aperture and shutter speed for creative composition techniques
What I am really looking forward in this course is the portraiture portions, both natural light and studio light. I hope to become more comfortable photographing people as currently, I am fairly shy when pointing a camera at someone.
The current Tuesday class has roughly 15 people, though I am still a little bit unsure of the other people’s experience. The majority of the people seem to want to get into Wedding photography. Everyone else seems to be comfortable taking pictures of people, of course except me, so I hope that will change by the end of the course. It also seems that the majority of the people in the class wish to be more comfortable with their camera and seemed to be worried about shooting in Manual (M). A few of the people seem to only shoot on Auto, but that will change quite quickly for them (or so I hope).
Some of the topics we went over in the last half of our 3 hour class were
- What is the Aperture of the camera/lens
- When to use a tripod, based on Shutter speeds. ie hand held to about 1/60th unless of course you have something like a 300mm lens where you would want to shoot at least 1/300th hand-held. General rule of thumb, 1/currently use focal-length for shutter speed.
- The exposure triangle, though she put more emphasis on Shutter and Aperture
- Brief intro on camera metering and the use of Matrix, Average and Spot metering.
- She also touched on how to resize images in Lightroom and Photoshop as we are required to submit photos that are no larger than 800Kb in filesize.
So far, it is a review of I guess the previous pre-requisite courses, but that is alright. I do look forward to Week 5 where we will do our first shooting session with professional models for natural light portraiture.
We were also given our first assignment, which is due on Week 10. After our instructor went over the sections, I could probably the assignment by the weekend (if the weather gets better of course). So what do we have to do for our first assignment? We have to submit 6 photographs, these 6 photographs are broken up into 3 sections. Those sections are:
Part 1: Details
Choose and isolate 2 details (photos) from a larger scene.
Part 2: Difficult Lighting
Create 2 images from 5 different metering situations; lighter than average, darker than average, light subject on a dark scene, dark subject on a light scene and a backlit subject
Part 3: Low Lighting
Create 2 images with the use of a tripod. Pick 2 from the following 8 options:
- Skylines at Twilight
- Streaking head/tail lights
- Double exposure with the Moon (sucks that my Canon cannot do double exposures in-camera)
- Long exposure at twilight
- Sunrise & Sunset
- Point light source (light lighthouse, christmas lights etc)
- Fireworks, sparklers or flashlights (good thing Canada Day will be coming up, I am fairly decent at Firework photos)
- and Neon
While our instructor was going over the assignment, I was going over my Flickr photostream to see what I have previous done. I have essentially finished the assignment, but I cannot submit previous work (where is the fun in that anyway?). I do have some ideas in my head of what I want to do for each part/section, and I will be sure to post them here when I am ready to submit.
The trick is, I cannot do ANY post-processing to my images. I like to tweak colours a bit, so I better try and see what sort of colouring I can get out of my camera so I won’t have to tweak them in Lightroom. We’re only allowed to resize so they fit within the filesize requirements. Reminds me, she was showing us how to drop the quality of an exported photo to get within the filesize requirements. She took a 1.5MB image and then dropped the quality to 50%, I don’t see how that is an effective way of reducing the filesize as it would essentially lower the image quality. Oh well, I will play around and see what sort of results I get if I have to drop the image quality to 50%. I tend to use save-for-web features in Lightroom or Photoshop which allows me to save the image quality while keeping the filesize smaller.
On a side note, I am looking forward to reviewing White Balance (WB) as well. Typically, I do my white balance changes within Lightroom, but she would like us to set the WB properly and not have to rely on post-process for that. At least I remember how do to a custom WB setting with my Canon XSi
So please feel free to check back each week as I get further into my course and share my results! I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks!
I would also like to thank April for the gift-certificate in which allowed me to take this course. I have been wanting to take these courses for a while now.
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