Week 3


This week is all about technique. I want everyone to review the basics of photography, and to practice SEEING differences in exposure, focal length, and composition, as well as practice TALKING about these things in the context of real photos.

And I also want you to consider the story finding techniques at play behind good quotes.

Now I know some of you already have a developed working knowledge of these techniques, while some of you are learning for the first time. That’s just fine. All skill levels are welcome.

The tutorial I found to introduce the main concepts of photography does a fairly good job of keeping things simple, although you will find that the first two sections – Exposure and Understanding Your Camera – does assume that you are working with a DSLR (digital single lens reflex), opposed to an automatic point-and-shoot or smartphone camera, which many of you are using. Even though these sections may seem overly technical, it is still valuable for you to learn the gist of the concepts, because many of them still translate. For example, smartphone cameras typically allow you to adjust the exposure by tapping on different focal points in your view-finder. It is important that we all share a common language for these techniques, and consider why or why not a photographer might chose to employ them.

What I want you to do this week:

  1. Read through this illustrated tutorial, by Joshua Dunlop (I apologize for the pop-up ad; ignore that) and pay special attention to the composition section. I want you feeling familiar with the rule of thirds, visual weight, triangles, eye lines, and balance.
  2. Take this new (or reviewed) knowledge and terminology, and apply it! Please do this by circling back to both the Week 1 and Week 2 posts – the self portraits and the HONY posts – and see if you can identify what’s going on, technically speaking, and consider the effects. How does making choices around exposure, depth of field, and composition (or any other technique reviewed in the tutorial), impact the way the audience ultimately experiences and understands the image? Can you think of one technical change the photographer could have made, that would have significantly shifted the overall tone or message? Using these questions, please contemplate 3 – 5 photos, and post your observations in the comment section of each blog post.
  3. In addition to considering the techniques involved in capturing a good photo, I want you to think about the techniques involved in capturing good stories. After making photo commentary on the HONY posts, end your blog comment by writing out at least one question that you think could have elicited the featured quotation. What might Brandon have asked to get that response? And after making photo commentary on the self-portraits, write out at least one follow-up question that might elicit a meaningful response – the question should honor and engage your classmate in a way that is both respectful and curious. This can be a tricky mix to master, so let’s start practicing. NOTE: you are NOT obligated to respond to the questions that you receive – this assignment is about the ASKING, not the answering.

To clarify, You will not be creating any new posts this week. We will simply be revisiting the ones we already made, and writing in the comment sections of 3-5 posts.

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