So I thought I'd keep you all posted on my progress in my online photography class at Simplicity--my life in mostly photographs.  Just finished week 3, which focused on cropping, and as an exciting bonus, my mom just signed me up for the next eclass which starts in May as an early birthday present!  I am really excited to learn the nitty gritty details of my camera; I hate being self-taught and just winging it.  But anyway, back to week 3.

 

First I had to take a photo keeping the rule of thirds in mind; if you are unfamiliar with the rule of thirds, here is a great explanation from the Digital Photography School (a website and newsletter I love).  These photos had to be SOOC (no editing), so I couldn't crop them later, which was surprisingly frustrating for me.  I had to to submit two photos of inanimate objects (better for practicing than squirrely children), one detail shot and one with negative space (DPS explanation here).  Here's what I came up with:

 

 

 

Unfortunately I didn't save copies of these so I am copying and pasting them from flickr; hence the graininess.  I know I could download them but I'm working on borrowed time as it is.

 

The feedback was mixed.  Loved the vertical of my negative space cake topper, but the horizontal was too boring and needed to be brighter.  Raggedy Anne's detail shots needed to be cropped tighter, the out-of-focus feet were a little distracting, and the exposure was off.  Damn, I didn't realize how much I depend on editing until I had to submit photos SOOC.  What did I do before I became an editing addict?

 

My second assignment was to submit a photo of my kids playing without me (i.e. not looking at the camera).  I had to try to get a negative space shot and a detail shot SOOC.

 

The shots of Em are my negative space shots and the one of our friend Matthew is a detail shot.

 

 

 

 

The large one of Em in our living room got really good feedback, especially since that lighting can be really difficult with the sun being so bright.  Got some kudos for composition on that one.  Em with the slinky had good composition but imperfect focus and not true negative space, since the lines in the doorways draw the eye away from her (I think).  Matthew got good reviews, too, even though it's not perfect rule of thirds (which is hard to do with toddlers playing!).  I got love for focus and perspective.  Phew!  I officially hate SOOC!

 

Lastly was my final portrait submission.  I must admit I asked JDubbs's cousin Jaime for her help choosing, since I feel like I'm so invested in these shots, sometimes I can't pick.  The only requirement was it had to be a "passive" shot (when they kids weren't looking at me) and to try to be creative.  Here are my SOOC and final edits, SOOC first.

 

 

 

I made this one black and white because I really liked the lighting and felt like the colors were distracting.  I also made it sharper and tighter.

 

 

 

I didn't change too much in this one, except alter the white balance and crop it so that his eye was on the intersection of the "rule of thirds" lines.  Looking at it now, I think I kind of like the first one better.  Oh, well.  I really struggled editing those because some colors were so vibrant but I didn't want to oversaturate Jax.  I don't know how to use my adjustment brush and only edit certain parts of my photo and I think I played it too safe.  As Jaime pointed out, I also wish I hadn't cut his ear off, but his left hand actually was resting on my leg, so I was pretty close to him and couldn't get the bigger picture, if you will.  I'm pretty happy with both of them, really.  Haven't gotten any feedback yet--I'll add that once I do.

 

So I'm down to my final week of this class, and have I started my assignments?  Nope, nope, nope.  I think I have one for the second assignment--I had it in mind at Em's birthday party on Sunday--and I'm praying for good weather this weekend for my final portraits.  Fingers crossed for spring to finally be here to stay in Vermont!

 

To read more and see my photo submissions for the week, click here to go to Rub Some Dirt On It!

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