As I’ve recently gotten a new camera, and much more time on my hands since finishing graduate school, I thought I would take some dedicated time to intentionally work on my photography skills. I’ve gotten a lot better over the last few years, but it’s mostly been by accident and lots of practice. I wanted to work on getting consistently excellent shots, so I purchased one of the best books out there for working on portraits/etc: Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs. It came highly recommended.
The first lesson was on Geometry- seeing shapes in the environment, in framing, and for balance. The assignment was to find 5-10 examples of squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, and converging lines, and photograph them, ignoring everything else. I took some photos around my house, then ended up going to the Harn Museum of Art, a free art museum we have here in Gainesville, FL.
I tried to edit these as little as possible- just a smidge of lighting adjustment and cropping/rotation if necessary. I spent probably 1-2 minutes per photo in post processing, rather than the 4-5 I usually spend.
Things learned from this assignment:
Squares are hard to find. Most things are rectangles.
Bring a tripod.
“Ignore everything else” is kind of hard, and geometric shapes are really only (obviously) one part of composition.
Work alone, and with dedicated time. Going through the museum with Jorge was a really fun afternoon, but it was difficult to get some of the shots I wanted because he (quite rightly) was getting annoyed with me spending fifteen minutes staring at a window or putting a magnifying glass in his face. 😀
This next week I’ll work on the next chapter and assignment: Balance.