Yearbook Teacher Learns New Photo Techniques


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In this Multimedia unit, we were instructed to work with and learn more about the cameras that we check out to students everyday.  When I took the Teaching Photojournalism class last semester, we only spent about two weeks working with manual mode, so I was excited to get the opportunity to practice with these capabilities some more.  The ten images that we were to shoot included both compositional elements as well as shutter speed and aperture experiments.  While I felt comfortable with the compositional ideas, the depth of field and action images gave me a bit more trouble.

So after school one day, I checked out a camera and a couple lenses and enlisted a few students to be my subjects.  I shot the compositional photos first, since I felt the most comfortable with those.  For both the rule of thirds and extreme perspective photos, I had to remind myself how to focus in manual, and I also forgot to adjust the ISO for shooting outside.  Since it was bright out, I should have turned my ISO down.  For the rule of thirds shot which was in the full sun, it turned out too bright.  The extreme perspectives shot was in the shade, so the lighting was okay.

Moving into the depth of field photos, I chose to shoot inside.  For the shallow depth of field photo, I made my aperture smaller, and at 1.8 I was able to focus on the shoes and blur the podium in the foreground and the back of the chair in the background.  For the wide depth of field, I opened up the aperture wider and at 4.8, I was able to capture the subject and her background in focus.

The next task was the action photos.  I had two students run past me outside in order to capture their motion.  For the stopped action photo, I had to use a faster shutter speed.  At 1/750, I was able to capture my running student without blur.  In order to capture a blurred subject with a focused background, I turned my shutter speed down to 1/180, and even lower than that, 1/30 to capture a panned action photo (the hardest one of the bunch).

The last task was lighting.  For the silhouette photo, I placed my subject in front of a bright doorway and made my shutter speed quicker to capture a dark subject.  For the extreme lighting photo, I put the subject in a dark room and had a student use the flashlight app on their iPhone for a light source.  The difficulty here was that I had to open my aperture to bring in more light and also slow my shutter speed, but it led to blur.  I steadied my arms against my body to bring some stability to the camera.  For the optional photo, I chose a soft lighting situation where I took my subject into a shadowed area outside to reduce the contrast in the photo and the shadows on her face.

Overall, it was very helpful to experiment with these different elements in the manual mode of the camera.  The next day, I got to use my new knowledge as I helped a student set up their camera to shoot a basketball game in the gym.


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