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Monday, July 24, 2017

Photography Class - Week 1 - With the "worker bees"

Ever since my son J was a toddler, his favorite thing to do was to take pictures with Grandpa's camera. Now that he's older, he has purchased his own point and shoot to use. He also likes to borrow mine. So much so that he worked out a deal with my husband and I to purchase my camera! Part of the deal was that he'd learn how to use it and not just use it as a glorified point and shoot.

My daughter M is less vocal about it than my son, but loves taking pictures too. She'll use any opportunity she can to try to learn what makes a good photo. I discussed the possibility of a photography class for high school credit with her, and she liked that idea.

Since one child was going to do photography class, why not have both of them do it? The best part is that my son can earn his photography merit badge too. So our homeschool photography class was born. In another post I'll show you what we are using to learn (my brain is fully capable, but I have some neat books that are helpful).

These are the cameras that will be used. The Canon S5IS is the second digital camera we owned, and is now known as "Dad's camera". When I was first learning photography and how to shoot in manual, this is the camera that showed me I had figured out what I was doing. It's called a superzoom camera, also known as a bridge. It's a higher end point and shoot, but still very much a point and shoot. You don't need an expensive camera and lenses to learn photography!

The Canon 50D is my first digital SLR camera, and now belongs to J. It is an amateur crop sensor single lens reflex camera. It is sometimes considered a lower end pro camera. I would not buy any less than this line if you are serious about learning photography.

I started off by teaching the kids some basics. We first learned about white balance, why the colors are so different (and the kelvin scale), light sources, and safety with the equipment.

Learning about white balance

Then we learned about the exposure triangle. I strongly believe that a person should understand the three points of the triangle (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed), what light means for each of those points, and how each affects the outcome of the image before they learn anything else. If you understand my reference to "worker bees" in the title, I am proud of you! If not, you'll find out where you can learn that vital information when I post about the books we are using.

Practicing depth of field

The children and I spent some time each day talking about concepts, reading from our books, looking for examples, and setting the camera properly. Then they practiced what they had learned. The next day I had them practice again before we discussed a new concept. We took a couple of days to talk about the exposure triangle and how each point on it has two functions.

Once they understood how to set the in camera's light meter correctly at the center for proper exposure, we discussed composition. Below you will see some examples of leading lines, rule of thirds, using depth of field, and framing. I asked the children what they liked about their images and if they would change anything. Only the sunflower image has been edited, to darken the sky a tiny bit. Nothing else is, other than to resize for the web, and some of these images were shot in RAW. So realize that these are very beginner pictures and the RAW ones are completely unedited. I'm pretty proud of what my kids have learned in just one week!

I find it interesting that my children are thinking a lot about the distractions in their images. For instance, my son framed a black-eyed susan in the metal porch column. He told me when we looked at it together that he wished he had moved the trash cans from the background, or at least positioned something to create a better background.

Below are some images that they practiced changing the shutter speed with.

This is turning out to be a lot of fun, and I hope the kids continue to think so!

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