So my Project 365 photography thing is still going strong. I’ve been finding it frustrating lately, however, because there’s no feedback on all these pictures I’m taking. Being a blogger trains you to expect instant comments, and Twitter is even worse – if you don’t get a response to a tweet within ten minutes, it’s total rejection. OVER. HAS BEEN.
I took a one-day photography course from BeachMama a couple of weeks ago, and that was the first time ever I had taken my camera off of total-automatic mode. It was a great class, and I highly recommend it if you are interested at all in developing your own personal style or artistic flair with your photos. Since then I’ve been trying really, really hard to improve my photography skills but mostly I’ve taken a lot of really crappy pictures. It’s very tempting to just pop the camera back into automatic mode, but I know I’ll never develop any mad skillz if I don’t work it, so I keep plugging away.
I have a writer’s group where I take my non-blog writing for evaluation, editing, and ideas, and it’s great. I feel like I need something like that for my photos but I don’t want it to be online, as I don’t want to post the kids’ pics up on Flickr or my blog or anything like that. I think what I need to do is email all my photos every day to all the friends I have who take photos, then badger them for feedback on a constant basis until they block me, then send them photos by snail mail and call them over and over until they tell me they LOVE ME, LOVE ME.
Good plan, don’t you think?
I just need a few pointers. Sometimes I’ll try for a specific shot and it’s okay, but not amazing, and I want to know how to get from okay to amazing. Do I need to mess with the camera settings? Choose different framing or a new angle? Would different lighting have helped?
Also, I am totally confused and overwhelmed by the post-processing that is possible. I have GIMP, and it can do about a million things but I only ever really use it to increase contrast, maybe crop the photo. I need someone with the vision to say, man, that shot would be so great if you zoomed in on this one part, or amped up the brightness, or highlighted the reds. Know what I mean?
Here’s a shot I took a few days ago of Little Miss Sunshine swinging at the park. It was a very sunny day and I liked the way her shadow was trailing after her as she was swinging. I wanted to take a picture of her and her shadow in action.
This is the original picture. It turned out okay but I wish the background (the fence and the road) were more in focus (I know that means I should have used a smaller aperture):
Here is the picture after I brightened it a bit in GIMP – better? or worse?
After I looked at it for a while I noticed that the horizon line, which is very clearly marked by the fence and pathway, was extremely crooked. And I thought that if I were to post this photo to some kind of Flickr group, I’d get 500 comments saying, “Your horizon is crooked, DUMMY.” So I decided to straighten it.
Is that one better? It’s straight now, but I feel like the sense of motion has been lost – now she looks like she’s just dangling there, instead of actively cresting the top of the curve (which she was). So was crooked better?
Here are a few other kid-free shots from the past couple of weeks. If you love them, that’s awesome! But if you have ideas on how they could be better…I’m dying to hear them.