The 5th Week Hump

(or Why My Torturing You Shows I Care)

Usually I try to make posts any of the photo classes could dig, but since it’s my blog…this week I’m writing a post for my classes.  Specifically, for my digital classes.

Why such a monumental post?  Well, this is the week of the much talked about 5-week hump*. If students can get through this weeks assignments and labs, things will get better and smoother for the rest of the semester.  Why?  Well, for multiple reasons:

  1. Reciprocity is the most difficult thing to grasp, and is the foundation for all the other toughie stuff we do, like hdr and raw
  2. After this, we’ll start sliding into some more creative stuff, too.  Notice the lecture on an artist?  We’ll have more of that, and more of that reflected in your own work.
  3. Some things will become muscle memory.  Looking at your metadata was unnatural week 1, but you’re getting more and more used to it, and renaming files, and checking the website, etc.
Like my graph? I DO feel your pain. But just like your veggies, it’s good for you.

Some people think that using the manual mode and knowing reciprocity isn’t neccisary.  I mean, you have an automatic mode on your camera right?  Well, many flashes, studio lighting set ups, and most true professional cameras don’t work with automatic modes. True professional-level cameras don’t even have Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority Modes.  Many medium format cameras don’t have them, either…

And between week 5 and week 10, there’s a lot of frustration. You NOW know that there are all these buttons and all these tools and all these techniques that can make your images better. But you aren’t great at using them yet. In fact, as you are starting to implement them, your images may look worse for a little while. Because manually controlling your camera takes skill–skill you are just developing. But give yourself some patience and grace. Beating yourself up about skills you are just now learning and can’t possibly be expected to already be masters of is kinda silly. Remember that this is a process, and you have the entire semester to learn them. And also realize that any entry level course, like Digital photography, just gives you the basics–that’s why there are more classes, to refine styles, skills, and advanced techniques.

So what is your soapbox about file naming, lady?
So, I am very specific about how I would like you to name your files that you turn in. At least using your Last name and a project, like “Worsfold_Landscape.jpg”  I hate the idea of leaving files as “img_3928389439843290.jpg” There is a reason.  If you are a wedding photographer, you have to be specific about your file names, as you might have 5 different clients, thousands of photos for each.  Maybe you just need to look at the shots of the reception.  Did you name them in some way that you can organize and get to?  No?  Good luck hunting them all down.

Well, not everyone is going to be a wedding photographer, right?  Well, I worked in professional graphic design/large scale print lab.  We’d get a set of files to make a banner.  Then the photoshop people would edit them, creating a new file name to separate them from the originals from the client.  Then the illustrator/designers would use those edited photos to create the design.  Then a new file name would be made for the production printers, who would alter things to translate the color correctly.  We would save the originals and the final copies, deleting the rest…so they better be named correctly! This is no different than family vacation photos stuck in an album. It’s better to learn good habits now than later, right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, so what now?  Well, once we overview technical details we start incorporating more and more creative stuff, and fun techniques!  We’re going to be doing night photography and hdr, play with photoshop tools and by the end of it all you’ll have a blast! Even if there’s a few things that aren’t your cup of tea, there will be others that you do connect with, so try everything–you’ll have a better understanding of your own style by the end.

*When I originally made this post, it was around that 5 week, lets-kill-adobe week.  

Night photography is awesome!

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