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Self-improvement assignments

This is a discussion on Self-improvement assignments within the General photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; I am sure we have all heard of things to do to improve our photography. With all the workshops, websites, ...

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    Greg_Nuspel's Avatar
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    Default Self-improvement assignments

    I am sure we have all heard of things to do to improve our photography. With all the workshops, websites, podcasts, etc. there is a wealth of self assignments for people to try to improve their photo techniques. So lets share your favourite tasks here. I'll start with this one.

    Learning to see what you lens sees:
    1. Take your lens, if it is a zoom set it at one focal length.
    2. Now for the fun part, get on your belly and while looking through your camera crawl around your house, yard, local park.....
    3. Observe how perspective and composition changes as you move about
    4. Now get on your knees and repeat the above
    5. Work your way up even use a chair or step ladder if you wish

    As you do this you will start to learn how your lens sees the world, how perspectives change. Try this with each lens you own or at different zoom settings. Soon you will be able to look at a scene and know what lens/focal length you want to use first. This helps when subjects aren't going to stay for you to try everything in your bag. It may also show you new ways of seeing.

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    tomorrowstreasures is offline Senior Member
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    great exercise, Greg!

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    Greg if you choose to start this off - I can place it in the assignments section and create a subforum for it!

    Thanks!
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    Sounds great I hope everyone will contribute their favorite exercise.

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    If I'm trying to push myself or teaching others around me I usually set a single subject or specific location as an assignment and then set a number of different photos I want to see.

    For instance, it might be a statue in a park and I might want to see 20 or 30 different shots.

    This forces me (or the person I'm teaching) to really give lots of thought of how to get those shots.

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    Default Camera Tag

    I'm not sure if this will help anyone's photog skills, but it's a fun game to play with the little ones. I came up with it while at a playground with my son. He always want me to catch him but I sometimes don't have the energy to just straight out catch him. He would also run (and scream) whenever he saw me coming with the camera. So I just put the 2 together into a game.

    You will need a place to play. I recommend a playground/jungle gym type place but you could do this at a park, inside a big house, or where ever is big enough to run around and hide. The more complex the place, the more fun it is and the more potential for interesting pics.

    You will need at least one child (or child at heart) willing to run around and hide.

    And you will of course need a camera. A fast one, such as a dslr is preferable, although a point and shoot might be a fun challenge. A real challenge would be to turn off your auto focus!

    The object of the game is to get "good" shots of the child while they are evading you. I warn you, if you "spray and pray" with burst mode, you gonna have lots of pics. But memory's cheap and digital's free. And even if you don't come home with any winners, at least you get to bond with the subject.

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    mindforge is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueX View Post
    I'm not sure if this will help anyone's photog skills, but it's a fun game to play with the little ones. I came up with it while at a playground with my son. He always want me to catch him but I sometimes don't have the energy to just straight out catch him. He would also run (and scream) whenever he saw me coming with the camera. So I just put the 2 together into a game.
    Changing perspectives is always a good thing. Here are some photo exercises I do.

    1. Take pictures of letters. Try to do the alphabet in 10 minutes. The drawback -- you cannot take pictures of actual letters they must be formed by objects with minimal manipulation. This makes you change perspective around objects. The time limit really helps.

    2. In twilight, try and take slower shots of passing cars. It really helps with panning. Increase zoom to make it harder.

    3. Chase your kids around with a camera. Use single shots only. Decrease shutter speed for a challenge.

    4. Shoot film. I used to shoot one shot a day with a film camera. I shoot three to five shots a day now. I am upgrading my film camera soon. Shooting film brings you backward, slows your composition down -- you have to pay for film.

    5. My favorite. Use 3 or more wireless flashes to create interesting lighting on a subject. I started doing this with lamps and aluminum wrapped cardboard tubes and stuff.

    6. Get out once a week to take pictures at a place you have never been. Make a list of these places. Print ten pictures from each trip but only ten for your own album for the trips. Plan them a month in advance... take your family... whatever. Just print the pictures... it really helps to keep a album or journal with the pictures in them.

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