(NEW) REQUIRED READING - Photo Assignment Instructions
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Before outlining the RULES AND OBJECTIVES of this Forum, it is important to state at the outset that posts not complying with these rules and objectives will be deleted at the discretion of the Moderators. PLEASE understand that we are not trying to be draconian here; rather, the intent of the Assignment Forum is to challenge you to become a better photographer and make it fun in the process, yet not allow posts that fail to meet these criteria as all they do is bog down the Assignment threads.
That said, kindly read this post carefully, and re-read it if necessary. We know it is long, but trust us, it is important. It is possible that these RULES AND OBJECTIVES may be modified from time to time, and if they are, those revisions that are substantive will be in color with a date in order to easily identify them. So as to maintain this post in an easy-to-read format (and to prevent it from becoming unwieldy with response posts), I have locked it; however, please feel free to email me with any thoughts or suggestions you may have, including ideas for assignments.
As stated, the intent of this Forum is to challenge you to become a better photographer by giving you an assignment to fulfill. In some instances, it may be stated in an Assignment that shots in your archive DO NOT qualify; meaning and intending that under those circumstances, only shots taken in response to an Assignment will be permitted.
How do we challenge you (or ourselves) to become better photographers?
First and foremost, we need to be creative. Not everyone is given the gift of creativity, but that should not stop us from trying to be creative. It is a challenge for sure, but in the end, we will all be better for trying. Let those artistic juices flow. Close your eyes and imagine the shot. Try something different. Experiment. Take notes so that if you hit on something, you can remember how you did it. Some people get lucky and nail a shot on the first try. Most are not so lucky and have to work at it to get it right. Do not be afraid to work at it!
Please think through the composition of the photograph, taking into consideration the following (in no particular order of importance) to make it the best possible shot:
• How does the available or supplied lighting affect the shot and can it be used to enhance the shot?
• What appropriate in-camera adjustments are necessary (assuming of course that you have a camera capable of such adjustments)?
(1) Shutterspeed - am I trying to stop action?
(2) F-stop - what am I looking for with depth of field – do I want the background in or out of focus?
(3) Is there a need for EV compensation – is there a lot of white or black in the photo?
(4) ISO – noise issues – how will they affect the end result?
(5) White balance – do I need a gray card?
(6) Bracketing – is there time to bracket the shot to obtain a wide range of samples for better evaluation later?
(7) RAW or JPEG (however, that said, you should not let shooting RAW be an excuse for being lazy – get it right in the camera – that’s what the pros do!)?
(8) How should the shot be metered – spot, center weighted or matrix?
• Is a Tripod necessary? – Speaks for itself!
• What is your position in relation to the subject of the photograph – should you be in close, far away, to the side, above it, below it, etc.?
• How should the shot be framed/cropped – think about things like the Rule of Thirds – or should that rule be “broken”?
• Would a filter enhance or detract from the shot?
• Please read Tom’s Tips?
• There are lots of books out there that inspire better photographs. Check out the websites of the many photographic greats. Many Nikonians have websites with fabulous photos displayed. Nikonians also has Resources beyond your wildest imagination – all for the benefit of its members. Check them out!
• How would photographic greats like Ansel Adams view the shot? (This of course is a leap, but try asking yourself when you think you have that “perfect shot” – you may surprise yourself with the answer!)
We certainly recognize the fact that some shots require fast action and that thinking it through could result in the shot being “lost”. That’s fine. It happens. Most of the time, however, there is time to think it through. Once you get used to thinking it through, you may find an enhanced ability to adjust “on the fly” making for better photos in those cases where before you did not have time to think.
Bottom line folks - we want your BEST work, NOT SNAPSHOTS. Anyone can take a snapshot. If you are a person who likes to take pictures without thinking things through, please do not post your shots in this Forum in response to an Assignment. There are other Forums at Nikonians for you such as “A Picture I Took” and “Family and Pets Pictures”. Conversely, if you are striving to take photography to the next level and become the best photographer you can be, then exercise the considerations mentioned above when evaluating a scene, take your best shot, process it, critique it yourself, and if you feel it is worthy to post here in light of the foregoing, then do so and we will absolutely look forward to seeing it too.
If you follow our guidelines for each Assignment, we will in turn respond back to you with thoughtful observations and critique. As creative opinions often differ, all Nikonians are encouraged to offer observations and thoughtful critique to the posts in any Assignment.
To make this exercise a learning experience for us all, we must insist that all posted shots in this Forum provide at a minimum the shooting statistics – i.e. shutterspeed, F-stop, method of metering, camera and lens used, WB setting, ISO and whether there was any EV compensation. Posts lacking this information will be deleted. Not only is it time consuming for us to respond and ask for the information, the multiple posts created as a result make the thread unnecessarily long. If you happen to forget to post the information and your post is deleted, please do not be offended - simply re-post it, but be sure to include the information.
Additionally, although not required, we would all benefit from an explanation of the “thinking behind the shot”. Why did you take it? What motivated you to execute the shot the way you did? Were there other shots of the same subject that you took but disregarded; and if so, why?
If you have any questions regarding these rules and objectives, please email me. If there is a photographic concept outlined herein that you do not understand, we have many forums here where you can ask the question and you will get a quick response; or again, feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to answer it.
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