Tag Archives: Photography Course

My Latest Photography Course

It’s been a while since I posted anything strictly photography related, so I thought it was about time. In September and October, I finished my 8th photography course (and last for my Certificate of achievement) at SAIT. (Not that I’ve done anything about actually getting the piece of paper since, but that’s besides the point.)

In this course, we 5 assignments with various topics. While some of them were more challenging than others, it was really good to take photos with a purpose.

All of these photos are essentially straight out of the camera – I just added the watermark & the “advertising” for the product shoot.

1. Sun

f/22, 1/400s, ISO 400, 35mm

This was taken at the view-point of the plain of the six glaciers at Lake Louise, where people had made these little Inuksuk guys. My mom helped me to move rocks so that I could lie behind the figure to get the sun at the angle that I wanted it at. Some other hikers thought that we had lost something and were looking for it – anything to get the shot, right?

I took this shot at a very small aperture (f/22) to get the sun to have rays. (This is how it works – the sunlight refracts around the shutters in your camera lens in varying amounts depending on how much overlap there is, causing the rays of the sunburst.)

2. Portrait

f/3.5, 1/200s, ISO 400, 66mm

We needed to take a portrait of someone doing something they liked to do, so here’s my dad in his backyard play the guitar. I used a fairly open aperture to blur the background and to slow me to use a higher shutter speed. I need to remember when I am taking shots of people in shadows to change my white balance settings so things aren’t quite as blue.

3. Product Shoot

f/3.5, 1/15s, ISO 200, 24mm

Apparently Crave Cupcakes now have gluten free friendly cupcakes, so when we were supposed to do a shoot of some kind of product outside of where it’s usually found, I thought why not? This is probably a shot that I’ve put the most thought into. It didn’t turn out quite how I wanted it to as they didn’t have any big cupcakes left by the time we got there, so I had to improvise a bit. I think it worked out in the end and the cupcake was getting pretty close to “I can’t leave this behind.” The icing on the other hand, I definitely could have (way too sweet and too much.)

I am also apparently quite predictable – one of my classmates knew the photo was mine as it had hiking gear in it. For some reason, that makes me happy.

Another random tidbit – apparently shutter speeds between 1/8 s & 1/30 s (1/15s being the worst) are bad for camera shake due to the mirror in the SLR moving while the shutter is open. If you want to prevent this, lock your mirror up!

4. Screaming Motion

f/8.0, ~35 min, ISO 400 (should/could have used 200), 24mm

This is by far the one that I had the most fun with (knowing my love of night photography, it shouldn’t be that surprising.) This is taken at my parents cabin looking NNW to get Polaris in the shot. To be honest, it was actually kind of by fluke that it worked out so well – I just pointed it in that direction and hoped for the best and it turned out quite well.

I wish I had taken it at slightly lower ISO so that the sky would be a bit darker, but given that I took this at 11 pm for 35 minutes, I didn’t really want to take it again. Plus, I was getting really cold so I wanted to get inside to bed!

5. Shadows

f/7.1, 1/800s, ISO 320, 52mm

This was a shot that I took while wandering around the neighbourhood looking for shadows and fall colours. The pine cone was just sitting on a patch of newer sidewalk and I thought the textures work quite well together. My instructor apparently thought that it could be sold at a tourist shop in Banff or as part of a collage or story on pine cones, which was flattering and hilarious.

There you have it! I’m not sure if I will take any more photography courses at SAIT for the moment as time is not something I have oodles of lately and I find it hard when you don’t get home in the evening until after 10pm. Perhaps in the future?

What are your thoughts about taking photography courses? Have you taken any good ones lately?


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Brother and Fiance Edits

Thank you all who left wonderfully nice comments for my brother and his new fiancé! It’s very kind of you and much appreciated.

This week with my edits, I tried to do a clean edit and something a bit different with most of the shots. After all this talk about presets, I made a few of my own. The above is one called “Pretty B&W.” It’s based on the Creamtone B&W Creative option in Lightroom.

This one is “Bean Bleach w/o Grain,” based on PSKiss-Bleach 01.

The preset on the right is “Vintage Sunshine RAW” by Frog – Photo Blog.

To see all the other edits for the Teen/Adult Portrait for this week’s Good to Wow: Shoot and Edit, check out Ashley’s blog!


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Studio Portraits

My latest (and last for this school year) photography course has been all about studio portrait photography. Three out of the six classes have been shooting days, which has been a great experience because of the different lighting set ups, backgrounds and models. It’s definitely gotten more fun with time – the first day was incredibly stressful as I was overwhelmed from using strobe lighting and have everyone watch you let alone knowing how to pose the model. Thankfully, that got easier with each session – thanks to some books from the library and the good ‘ol interwebs.

The first day we did high-key lighting, which is basically where you have a white background.

Second, we did low key lighting (dark background.) As you can see, it’s incredibly more dramatic than high key.

I don’t know why, but out of all the photos I shot, the ones I liked the most were generally ones where the person was not smiling. It’s almost as if you’re letting the eyes do most of the talking instead of the mouth.

The third night we had coloured backgrounds – the first with a blue backdrop and the second with coloured gels.

Technically you’re not supposed to look down or at the ground while using gels (basically a light shining on the backdrop with a coloured gel piece over it) as then you can start to see the original colour of the backdrop, but I just like this picture so much that I don’t care.

It’s really neat to see how studio portrait photography is so much more than cheesy family, school and graduation photos. The thing with a studio is that you have way more control of the light you’re using, so if you know how to manipulate it properly, you can get some pretty cool shots. (If you want to see what you can do with lights outside of a studio, try looking at Ryan Brenizer’s blog. Holy wow does that guy know how to control light!)

Which do you prefer: studio or natural light photos?


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Shoot and Edit: Yellow

As I promised, here are the edited versions of my yellow and portrait shots:

Just so you know, I haven’t had to use my anti-cold arsenal yet – I think I did use the lemon in last night’s dinner though…

Edit 1 - Sun Kissed

Edit 2 - Dated Yellow

What I did:

Sun Kissed: I followed the methodology Ashley used to create her sun-kissed photo for week 10 in the Shoot and Edit minus the sun flare.

Dated Yellow: I played around in lightroom for this one: I decreased the vibrance to -100 and increased the saturation to +100. I then upped the contrast and the black clipping. I then played around with split toning: I set the highlights to be an off yellow and the shadows to be a purple-y blue.

And now onto my assignment for my Photoshop Course: the cute Mr. A.

I edited this photo in Adobe Camera Raw for my assignment. They can also be easily done in Lightroom and most likely other photo retouching software. These are the recommended steps for quick portrait retouching:

  1. Adjust exposure and white balance as necessary.
  2. Use the spot remover to heal any spots/zits/dust/etc. Poor A was sick when I took this picture, so I did my best to remove some of the blotches and snot (sorry).
  3. Brighten up the eyes. Using the adjustment brush, use a very feathered brush with a small increase in brightness (brightness can be adjusted later) paint over and around the eye. Start a new adjustment and decrease your brush size to lighten up just the irises.
  4. Soften and smooth the skin. Using a very feathered brush, reduce the clarity and paint over the entire face. Adjust the clarity depending on gender and age. DO NOT soften lips or eyes.
  5. Sharpen important features. Using a feathered brush, sharpen the eyes and eyelashes, eyebrows, tip of nose and mouth.
  6. You’re done!

What are the most useful Photoshop tutorials you’ve found?


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SOOC: Yellow

Given that I’m currently enrolled in a Photoshop course, I thought it would be fun to play along with the Good to Wow Photo Challenge hosted by Ashley and Jill. This week’s theme is yellow. I’ve been feeling a bit run down over the last few days, so I thought it would be appropriate to take a photo of something I want to avoid: getting sick. So no lemon water or cough drops for me! (Hopefully!)

Our next assignment in my course is to edit a portrait. You remember this guy? This is the photo of him that I’m going to edit.

I’m so excited to see what I’m going to learn this week about editing – both in the challenge and in my course! Check back on Thursday for the edited versions of both photos! 🙂


Filed under Photography