Monday, March 4, 2013

Student Photography, Post 1

I began a formal course in professional photography from The New York Institute of Photography this year. Being self taught with a crash course introduction from west coast photo journalist Frank Bolling at my first TV station gig in Medford, Oregon in 1977, I have never had a formal education or even one class in photography, even though I actually served as a photo judge for a group of schools taking part in the PILOT competition program for a number of years. So, as I go through the course, I thought it would be interesting to blog about what I learn and how these lessons might underscore the things I learned since 1977 as I went on to work professionally in photography, TV camera operation, commercial work, network media and graphic arts.

What makes a great photo?
There is no tried and true set of laws or rules about what is a great photo that forces everyone to recognize the same photographic work as their favorite, or THE best. Any art form presented to humans is subjective, not objective. But photography that follows a certain set of rules, has and will certainly always evoke foreseeable results in emotions and reactions to the photo in question.

It is these sets of rules to which I aspire to learn from those who have gone on before; specifically, successful photographers that have and are making a living from the art form known as photography.

Lesson 1; The Eye of the Photographer. explained some generalities involved in good composing tools that photographers use to decide where they will crop the photo as they look for where to point the camera.
Some important key visuals include;

  • Keep the recognizable main subject easy to see by using focus, natural eye drawing lines, color, light and dark tones and angles to draw the eye to the main subject of the photo.
  • All great photos have one main theme or subject. So, when shooting decide what the theme of that photo will be before firing the trigger.
  • All photo compositions can usually be broken into thirds horizontally and vertically, equaling nine indistinct zones to fill when composing. eg, 3 x 3 = 9.
I knew all of this, but it was extremely gratifying to see this underscored. Doing something because it works is one thing. But doing something that works and finding out that the most prestigious photographic institute in the US has been teaching that to all of their students for decades is quite another.
So far, I am enjoying going back to school again (I went back to school at the age of 47 for a four year degree in Multimedia-advertising and web design, gaining a BFA from the Illinois Institute of Art at Schaumburg/Chicago Art Institute).

More next week, or as I have time to complete these modules. Stay tuned.

If you are interested in following this blog, be sure to subscribe.

No comments:

Post a Comment