What I Have Learned About Photography This Week…

Photography has really never been a particular interest of mine. I mean I would take pictures to capture my favorite memories but I would never consider it to be something I really took serious. So, needless to say I had a lot to learn going into this week.

Personally, I found the Becoming a Better Photographer section from the DS106 Handbook to be the most helpful on my journey. Below is a video I found very helpful in explaining what light means to a picture.

One technique that I found to be very helpful from the handbook was about lighting. It sounds simple from someone who doesn’t know much about photography, but let me tell you, it was much more complex than I had once thought. See, it turns out that using the light to your advantage can give you control of things like shadows which can really round out a picture. As the article puts it, “Good light makes every photo”. So after reading a bit more in depth about how to use the light to my advantage, I tried to take a before and after picture. The first will be without taking lighting into consideration and the second will not neglect the lighting. We will see if we can tell a huge difference for ourselves.

For this experiment I grabbed an old wine bottle off of our win racks. As our control, I first took a picture with no changes to the lighting what-so-ever and it came out like this:

Nothing really special here with this picture, pretty much turned out as expected. Now for the next picture I will be using some front lighting. This is when the light source is illuminating the subject from the front. Here is how that one turned out:

I was sort of shocked when I first saw this picture. I really underestimated the amount of improvement that something as small as lighting can make. It doesn’t even look like it was taken on the same camera. Another variation of this method that I think would be very interesting to try would be to back-light the subject of the photo. Essentially, I could try to hide the light behind the subject of the photo.

Other notable techniques that I learned from the DS106 Handbook are better contrast makes better stories and changing my perspective by changing yours. The first technique with contrast can be accomplished many different ways in a picture. Whether it is through a difference in lighting, colors, or subject matter these things in combination will make a photo more interesting. The changing my perspective technique is used to find different angles that are not always used in pictures to change things up. For example, for the picture above instead of taking the photo from the table level I could take it from the top facing downward.

In conclusion, this week I have already learned so much about what goes into the visuals of storytelling. These are elements of pictures that I don’t believe I had thought mattered as much before. It sure has changed my mind after looking at what the lighting tips did to improve my photo.

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