Friday, January 30, 2009

Homework: ETTR

This week I have been very fortunate to find a mentor who is willing to critique my work to help me become a better photographer. Her name is Chrissy, from Chrissy Torney Photography. I have a very big fan of Chrissy's work for a while now so I jumped at the chance to accept mentoring from her when it was offered!

I felt I was stuck in a rut, not knowing where to start or what I should be learning first in order to improve, so after chatting with Chrissy online for a little while I have decided to concentrate on mastering correct exposure as my first challenge. More specifically, I am working on ETTR (exposing to the right).

I took these a couple of days ago and I think I'm back on track now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The journey so far

The photo below is my absolutely favourite photo that I've taken to date, and it is the one I've used to create the header for this blog. Unfortunately for me it was taken in full auto mode when I first received my camera. I am yet to be able to take a photo that captures the innocence of my daughter quite like this one. I feel it lets me look into her soul. It's exactly the type of image I want to be able to create in manual mode.

Below are a few photos that I took over Christmas of family and friends at various lunches. They were all shot in manual mode, and were the first photos I put up on an online forum for critique.

The most frequent critique made on these (namely the first four images) was in regards to the white balance (WB) within the shots. And to be honest, WB wasn't something I had even considered at that point, but those critiques have definitely given me something to think about since then. They have also shown me how much I need to work on my focus!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A catch up

I just wanted to explain a little of where I'm at right now with my photography.

I know it seems a little cliched but I've never had any previous experience with photography but I have always been interested in it, and have long since wanted a DSLR of my own. For my birthday, just over 2 months ago, I was given a Canon 450D with the 18-55mm kit lens, a 50mm f/1.8 lens, and a Lowepro Apex 140 AW bag. Needless to say I was in heaven! Since then I have slowly acquired a Velbon CX640 tripod, a Lowepro Flipside 200 bag, and I now have a 430EX II speedlite on order. I have a long way to go before I have mastered this equipment so I think it'll do me for now.

After I received my camera I spent about 2 minutes clicking away on auto mode, then changed straight over to manual mode with no idea what I was doing. I was determined to master manual mode from the start so I have since refused to change back. I have read (and re-read) Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" which has been invaluable in helping me understand the basics of manual photography. That book (together with the instruction manual for my camera) never leaves my side!

I have joined a few photography forums where I read as much as I can to learn as much as I can. I've posted some images up for CC which has really shown me what to focus on for the moment. I'll be back soon to post some of those images here, along with the CC I received, but for now I have to go as we're having guests over for dinner and I need to get cook!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Let us begin

I have been wanting to start this blog for a little while now but I have been procrastinating to avoid feeling embarrassed by posting photos that I feel are not worthy of public viewing. Though I have now concluded that this makes little sense as the whole point of creating this blog has always been to document my journey from the amateurish photos I take now, to hopefully one day soon, the ability to take photographs that seemingly come to life.

I have set a time limit for this journey. By the end of 2009 I aim to have mastered my camera, and the ability to take professional, powerful, and captivating images. I aim to have in the works the beginnings of a home-based business in portraiture photography.

So, that is my goal for this year. Let's see if it comes to fruition.