Many of you knew that I’m in Otto’s (In Flow) e-workshop, Finding Your Photographic Voice, now. I’d asked Otto if I could blog about my e-workshop experience; he said yes. I particularly like to share what I’ve learned in hope that my experience would be helpful for other people. Let me start from why I took the workshop and how the workshop works.
Making my Decision
Lynne (Six Degrees Photography) had attended Otto’s e-workshop before and liked it. I like Lynne’s photos a lot, so I decided to check it out. It didn’t take me long to sign up because, at this stage of my photographing life, finding my photographic voice is important to me. You see, I seem to like everything from macro to landscaping, but, at the same time, I don’t like everything equally. I want to know more about myself as a photographer and that’s what I am hoping to achieve at this workshop.
How does the Workshop Work
Every Monday, we will receive a lesson from Otto, and we have one week to work on our assignments. We then submit our photos, and later receive feedback from Otto. The feedback is given to us via a video. While watching the video, which has our photos displayed on screen one by one, we listen to Otto’s feedback. It’s very easy to follow.
My Experience for Lesson 1
• Our first assignment is to capture natural existing contours and second assignment pure forms. For contour, my first thought was to take a photo of a maple leaf against a bright sky. Such a simple idea; I couldn’t believe it took me at least 10 tries… the leaf was not angled right (I didn’t like the shape of the silhouette), the leaf was not dark enough (so it wouldn’t be contour anymore), wall was in the photo… But I finally got one I like.
Otto’s feedback was that it would be better if I didn’t place the leaf in the center. He was right, of course.
• It’s not easy to photo “contour” only. The “form”, quite often, sneaks into your “contour” photo. 😉
• I thought I knew the definition of “contour”, but I found myself asking the question “is this a photo of contour or form” over and over. I even googled the word “contour”.
• Photographing is like writing. Revision (post processing or retake photo) can go on forever. At one point, you just have to press submit button and let your instructor to worry about it. (At first, I thought we were supposed to submit original photos so I didn’t do any post processing for my lesson 1 assignment, but I did take the same photo several times.)
• Make sure your subject is dust free if you don’t want people see it. 😉
• I wasn’t too thrilled with these two assignments in the beginning. But I was surprise to find out that after doing these exercises, I am more aware of contour and form. I always know which photo I like better, but now I can tell why I like it better. That’s a big improvement!
My Experience for Lesson 2
• Lesson 2 is about colors. Since I don’t know too much about colors, this is a great lesson for me. Otto explains colors well. I learned how to make colors work for me!
• It’s hard to find a “perfect” background in house. I think I have tried every corner and every wall of my house.
• It’s hard to find “perfect” light. Again, I carried my subject from one room to the next and next.
• Auto ISO is a bad news. For some reason, when I use auto-ISO, it always ended up overexposed and that makes color look not as good. I finally turned the auto-ISO off and I liked the result much better.
• Even when I was working on my lesson 2 assignments, I kept thinking of contour and form. Surprise. Surprise…
• It’s easy to understand the words, but it’s hard to really grasp the concept (maybe it’s the deficiency in my brain). For example, it’s better not to place your subject in the center (I am not talking about exceptional cases here.) But if I take a photo of a person and his head is near center, but his body (large part of him) is to the right, does this mean my subject is in the center or not? I am not sure…
• I haven’t receive feedback on my lesson 2 assignment, so I don’t have any to show you 😉
Well, I am having a lot of fun and, already, I’ve learned a lot! I hope you enjoy reading this post. Writing about it gives me a chance to organize what I have learned.