Photo Workout: Flex Your Photographic Skills
Try these five exercises for strengthening your core photo techniques
When we think about color in photography, we're usually thinking of a colorful subject—but what about color as the subject? Workout #4 will help you train your eye to see color as the centerpiece of your shot, and not merely as an element or ornament.
What You Need: A camera and a zoom lens or a selection of lenses. Wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths have a great effect on color, so it can be useful to have choices in focal length.
What To Do: Go out and look for color. This exercise is a lot like the one on photographing light. Once again, you're not looking for a subject or a scene as you normally might do. Look for and photograph color and its effects. Set a goal to photograph at least 30 images in a row for this exercise.
It's essential that you turn off all thoughts of capturing subjects or scenes. You're just photographing interesting color. You need to be aware of how your camera is responding to the colors, so that they're properly exposed. Your subject is color—single colors, color contrasts, saturated color, dull color and color patterns.
Review: Look at what's happening in your photographs because of the color. See how color can make fascinating effects all by itself and completely change things like atmosphere and tone in an image. This exercise will teach you about how you use color in a photo.
Workout 5: Highs And Lows
I once heard it said that the only people who see things at eye level are photographers. Normally, we see the world from many positions—when we're lying down, when we're sitting, when we're standing on something and so on. Photographs become more interesting when we get the camera in many of those positions, as well. Frankly, pictures start to look the same when they're always shot from the same height. In this exercise, you'll stretch your muscles getting the camera from low to high positions.
Exercise: Photograph High And Low
What You Need: A camera and a zoom lens. Do this exercise in any convenient setting.
Most of the time, we photograph standing up, from eye level. That leads to the same types of compositions, over and over and over. Use Workout #5 to see how changing your point of view can lead to much more interesting photographic arrangements.
What To Do: For this series of photographs, you're alternating shots from low to high. Take your first picture with a camera positioned as low to the ground as possible. You don't have to lie on the ground to do this. You simply can hold your camera down, take the picture and then check it on the LCD. If it isn't quite right, try again. Next, go for a high angle. Try climbing onto something that has a little height, or you can hold your camera over your head as high as you can reach. For that reaching shot, you'll also need to check your LCD to be sure you get the picture you want. For extreme height, you can put your camera on a tripod, set the self-timer and then hold the camera and tripod as high as possible when it goes off. Now alternate pictures for a good 20 to 30 shots, where you go from low to high to low to high.
Review: You'll see some amazing differences in pictures as you look at the results from this exercise. It's true that photographers often get stuck taking all their pictures at eye level. This exercise will show you that there are amazing images to be seen from other heights.
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