Final Photos

So we have finally arrived at the end of photography journey (or it may be just the beginning, as there are always many new techniques to learn.) This past weekend was my sister’s high school graduation, which is held in a hockey rink (horrible for lighting). The ceremony portion is done with the house lights off and alternative stage lighting. I went back to the tried and trusted article of  How to take great pictures in bad lighting and I also found one that outlined 10 Graduation Photography Tips. Though many of these tips were self-explanatory I found it helpful to refresh my knowledge to make sure I had everything.

The first photos were under the arch at the top of the stairs.  This was difficult because I had to zoom in from far away. To paint you a picture I was sitting where the ice would be as my sister was at the top of the stands. Thankfully our last name is at the end of the alphabet so I was able to practice on a few students before she passed through the arch. I was able to get her in the pictures but I think that the focus missed her a bit and was more on the arch.

Thank goodness she was on the opposite side so the light was able to hit her face.

The second group of photos was her actually crossing the stage to receive her diploma. Though this had better lighting, the subject had to be in the right spot to be hit by the stage lights, meaning when she was coming and leaving stage it was hard to see her through the camera.

The second half of grad is called the grand march, where the graduates are in their suits or gowns and walk around the rink. Though the house lights were on during this portion making it easier to see, the lights were on everywhere meaning the crowd could be in focus when I was hoping to get a photo of someone walking by. They also go in reverse alphabetical order so I did not have time to practice on other people before my sister processed. The first two photos show how different a change in the light meter can do. In the first photo the light meter was centered at zero but as you can see it is very bright and almost 2D, the subject look flat to the background. This was due to the light meter miss reading the amount of light, because of the large white screen in the background. With the second I moved the light meter to around -2.5 to help even out the light. I love the set-up of this shot because of the blurry foreground that helps to frame the photo.

By the time I got to the third photo I had figured out the perfect light ratio so that the subjects were light but the background was not. The fourth photo was a complete accident but I love that it just shows the raw emotion.

The final part of grad is the dances. So my father and sister were so nice to me that they dance right under the stage lights so the lighting was much easier.

Around this time, I was close enough to my subject that I could use my flash and it focus on the right area.  It just happens that my sister has a sensitivity to light because of her concussion so she graciously wore her sunglasses. I was also able to drop my ISO to make the photos less grainy.

The two weeks that prepared me the most for my final week were week 3 (Sunsets) and week 5 (portraits). Week 3 taught me who to take pictures in bad lighting and to adjust my light meter quickly every time I moved. Week 5 of course taught me how to take pictures of people but I also learned how to make my camera take multiple pictures at once.

Week 1

I was trying to mimic what I thought the photo should look like and was not stepping out of a box view

Week 2

During this week I was able to play with lighting and color. I went back to the basic of exposure triangles and focusing.

I was given this website afterwards but it was very helpful, thanks Serena

Week 3

The sunset week. This maybe one of my favorite weeks because I had such a short matter of time to get these photos but it was so cool to see how I could and did improve. This was something I had never done before so it was so cool to see the process that goes behind a picture like that.

Week 4

This is the week where I found how my creativity could match with my photography skills. I love looking back on these pictures and the vibrant colors they have.

Week 5

Coming into this I did not like taking portraits that much, I actually found them quite stressful because you are portraying a person.

This focused me to be present, I was not thinking about anything other than my subject. I was able to use photography as a creative outlet to put myself into as I was both learning and creating.


Smile for the camera

I have found that I learn best from websites that are set up in a list format, for example 14 portrait photography tips you’ll never want to forget, though videos, especially from Skill Share, are helpful and full of information but many are long and not very clear.

This article gives a based understanding of what to do when taking portraits.

To start with portraits, you need asubject, and in this instance, my sister so graciously agreed to be my subject. Next islocation, where are these pictures going to take place. I would recommend going outside since lighting inside can both be difficult to manipulate and can look harsh on the subject’s face. It just so happened that we were camping this weekend so the trees were a great background.

Camera settings, this is very important. When taking portraits, you want the ISO to be as low as possible, for a reference it sound be between 200 and 600. If you shoot with higher ISO there is a greater chance that the results will be grainy, which looks even worse on a person’s face.

The biggest thing when taking any portrait is that the eyes need to be the focus.

There are two basic forms of portraits: action and posed.


With posed photographs you need to decide how close to the face you are shooting, meaning is this going to be a close up or a full body shot.

I started with full/partial body shots. (sorry for the weird poses, but she was singing Waka Waka by Shakira while dancing)

With the first two pictures they were cropped weird. With the first picture, though it does follow the rule of thirds, her leg and arm guide the eye away from the main focus of the picture. The second photo is cropped better but just like the sunset photos; she is right in the middle so the photo is not portioned right. With the third picture, I finally thought to change my levels, so this shot was taken with me sitting on the ground and looking upwards at the subject.

Then we went to close ups and headshots. (and again she was singing)

With these the background does not matter very much because there will be very little of it shown in the photo.  These are the photos where the eyes are so important and need to be showcased.

Action Portraits

These can either be really great or really bad, it is hard to get an in between. I would recommend setting your camera to take multiple shots, also known as burst mode, when you hold down the trigger so you can catch every part of the movement. You have a lot more photographs to sort through but you have better odds of getting the just right shot.


Inspiration of Pinterest

This week I dove into the world of Pinterest looking for inspiration or a new photographic technique to learn about.  Now that I understand the main setting and functions of the camera, I wanted to go out and take pictures of my own. From my past weeks I knew how to manipulate light so all of the extra light was from the flashlight on my phone.


Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 9.24.15 AMMy first search was still life photograph and this picture showed up. Knowing that I don’t have the patients or talent to make fruit balloons, I decided to find different ways I could manipulate fruit.

I took most of the pictures at a bird’s eye view (camera is higher than the subject and looks down) and then changed it so only one slice of the fruit was in focus. If I were to try this again I would bring the food outside to have better lighting and spray the fruit with a little water to add detail.


Next I was trying to make a heart by taking the handle of the mug and making its shadow reflect onto the side of the mug. I_MG_4832 did this by pointing the camera straight onto the mug and shining the light from the left side. I was somewhat successful; I was able to get the shadow in the right spot but when it would line up with the handle the shadow would expand. If I were to try this again I would either move the light source or the camera to see if I would be able to make the shadow right.

After this I decided to go on a man hunt to see if there was anything else within my house that I could take a picture of. After searching for a little bit I found a form paint roller and a monopoly game piece, so I decide to try a tunnel technique that forces the eye to look at the object at the end of the tunnel. I started by setting the hockey player behind the roller, though I was able to get a few good pictures from it, half of the body was cut off and it was not very interesting. I than taped the hockey player inside of the roller and put my phone behind it. The light from behind helped to backlight the game piece and add dimension. If I were to try this again I would use a larger and longer roller to make it a little easier and I would try to tilt my phone so you cannot see it in the background.

I think my favourite of this week was this orange one, because of the detail and colour. _MG_4793Since I had added light and smaller objects I was able to lower my ISO so my pictures were less grainy this week.

Magic of a Sunset

After seeing one post on Pinterest I had a spur of the moment decision to take pictures of the sunset, which seems easy but it definitely is not. The mechanical side of it is simple, for a silhouette picture I had to drop the triangle balance (which I discussed last week) to below the equal line of zero. The difficult part is staging the picture, including what level you are taking the picture at, and what is in the foreground or background.

This video outlines what a silhouette is and how to do it (particularly with a sunset)

When I first started taking these pictures I was struggling to get the picture to match what I was seeing in the view finder. I would change the shutter speed and it would either be too bright or too dark so I decide to take pictures at a variety of shutter speeds and look at them on the computer instead. The camera screen is too small and does not always show the resolution so it is easier once they are on the computer.

One thing that I did not think of when taking the pictures was how am I standing. I did not realize until I went back and looked at the pictures on my computer that my horizon line was in the middle of the pictures. Though this is not particularly appealing to the_MG_4422 eye, it is even worse is silhouettes because of the drastic contrast. For example, this picture has light, a subject and landscape but the horizon line makes half of the picture completely black.

The other area I was struggling with was having the silhouette of anything other than a tall standing tree. If you have any suggestions for objects for silhouettes I would be happy to read about them in the comments. I wanted to take the picture either with leaves or a bridge as the silhouette but they did not turn out as well.


I have gone out a few times after this but because of the rain there was not as much of a sunset.  Even though they sky was not as colourful, I was able to use the river to practice taking pictures of reflections, since I was planning on doing that as the theme for next week. It was so much fun because the water was so still. The only area that I struggled with was where to put the line between the water and land, I could either put it in the upper or lower third of the picture. I ended up going with both but I think I prefer the lower thirds being land and water rather than the upper third.


My goal for next time is to practice dropping my ISO and finding better lighting so my pictures do not become grainy.

My favorite pictures over all from this week were…


Exposure Triangle and Focus

This week I based my learning around a few different Skill Share Classes. I also watchedIMG_8306 some YouTube videos for more information.I am mainly focussing on the Exposure Triangle: ISO, shutter speed and F-stop. The triangle is affected by the amount of light present and the speed in which the picture is taken. When one of these are adjusted, it affects the other two settings.


To practice this, I took pictures of a three blade moving fan. The fan is able to show movement which is affected by the f-stop. Within the first picture the third fan blades come together, it as shot with a f/25 and a shutter speed of 1/25. The other picture, were all three blades are separate, has a f/4.5and shutter speed of 1/1000.

The next topic was subject, what the photo is centred around. A good rule of thumb is toScreen Shot 2019-05-20 at 3.47.16 PM have a the subject 1/3 into the picture to have both foreground and background.

Within this time, I realized that I still struggle with understanding which specific part of the picture is in focus, especially when taking it. For example, I was taking a picture of a tree beginning to bloom. In one picture the flowers are in focus but the other it is clear that the flowers are blurry. This was just a simple change of orientation of the camera, which changed the whole focus of the picture. (within the second picture the black lines are pointing to the areas that are in focus, while the blue is what was supposed to be in focus.)

I took all of this information and I decide to take a few candid pictures of my dog.

Quick Update

I found this hack on Pinterest this morning and I was so excited to try it out. It is really easy to do, all that is needed is a computer and an object to be the subject. I used a standard picture of lights off line and made it full screen, then placed my object in front of it. After fussing with the lighting and finding out how to hide my key board, I am proud of the results. I would love to try this again with different lighting to see how the reflection on the bottle would change.

The Beginning of My Photography Journey!

For my learning project I will be learning about photography, focusing on taking a strong picture and not having to edit it afterwards. I took a photography class in grade 10, where I learned the basics of how to take pictures in the manual setting and basic editing techniques, but my knowledge stopped there. I have forgot much of the information, especially within the setting and lighting sections so I would like to learn this again and expand my knowledge. This weekend it was raining on and off so the lighting was not ideal, so this is when I found an article title “How to Take Great Pictures in Bad Lighting”.   I then went back to my teacher’s class website, that has small explanations and exemplars of our assignments. Along with a few other websites I was able to understand the terminology again and how to change the setting in the camera.

I have created two Pinterest boards, one for the technical side photography and the other as an inspiration board of different pictures I would like to recreate.  These boards will be my starting point each week and then I will be able to use the suggestion area to solicit more information.

My goal is to learn more about shooting pictures at night, taking portraits and taking wide focus pictures. When looking at the pictures I took without any theme in mind, I was drawn to still motion close ups rather than a wide variety of pictures.  My end goal is to practice my photography skills so I can take pictures for my sister’s high school graduation.

These are just a few of the pictures I took this weekend.