The Practicing Photographer
Illustration by

The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Give yourself a year-long assignment

One of the trickiest things about going out to it could even be something more abstract, a An event, sunrise, sunset, rain if you're regularly, if you're a social person.
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  1. 3m 24s
    1. Taking a portrait that's tightly cropped or slightly obscured NEW
      3m 24s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 9h 29m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 56s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s
    87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
      3m 3s
    88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
      5m 38s
    89. Shooting stills from a drone
      6m 57s
    90. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera
      8m 0s
    91. Understanding lens profile correction
      5m 33s
    92. Working with models
      2m 40s
    93. Understanding the labels on SD cards
      10m 32s
    94. Setting up a macro time lapse of a flower
      6m 18s

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Watch the Online Video Course The Practicing Photographer
9h 34m Appropriate for all May 16, 2013 Updated Feb 26, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.

Ben Long

Give yourself a year-long assignment

One of the trickiest things about going out to shoot is figuring what to go out and shoot. There's a big world full of potential photos out there, and that can be overwhelming. When you step out the door with your camera. You might, in the face of seeing everything, not really be able to see anything. One way around this is to give yourself an assignment. A working photographer, one who's been given an assignment by an editor or something. Actually, in a way, has an easier time than someone who's free to shoot whatever they want. They've got specific targets that they need to bring back. And that limiting factor can make it much easier to really focus in and see particular images.

So, I'm going to help you out here, and give you some ideas. About giving yourself a year long assignment and you don't have to do a year. You could give yourself a shorter amount of time. But I really like the idea of a year because you go through all four seasons. And each season is going to bring with it a very different light in addition to changes in your surroundings or, or the environment that you might find yourself shooting in. So. To give yourself an assignment, you need to choose a couple of parameters here. You don't have to take all of these. You can mix and match as you like. First of all time scale. And by that I mean, actually time scale is probably wrong.

That should, we should, we should ditch that and say frequency. How often are you going to go out and look for one of these pictures. Are you going to do it daily, weekly, monthly. I have a fortnightly or once in a blue moon, you can put whatever scale you want. You can say on every second Tuesday. Actually, I have to go out every second Tuesday and because of street cleaning and move vehicles around. So maybe I would say, alright, when I go out for street cleaning, I'm going to take a picture. It's a break that I'm taking anyway. Try and work, try and pick a frequency that actually works with your schedule.

You don't want to miss a date because actually you're too busy. If you have a very busy schedule, don't go for the daily thing, try and work it in where you actually will do the shooting. It's demoralizing to miss your schedule if you can't maintain it. And, this is supposed to be an inspiring thing that I'm talking about here, so try and make it easy on yourself. Next, scope and by that I mean geographic scope. A lot of times it's much easier if you limit, where you could be shooting. So you might choose, alright, anywhere in the world is fair game, or, just the city or town I live in, just my neighborhood.

An for that, you might need to specifically lay out some boundaries that you're going to define as your neighborhood. Maybe just your street. Maybe only in your house. Maybe only in your room where you're sitting when you make this plan, or maybe even just in the chair you're sitting in. Maybe you're going to say the really drastic project of every day I'm going to try to shoot a picture in the chair that I'm sitting in. You're gutsier than I am. Next, if you want, so you could leave it at that, you could say every day I'm going to constrain myself to my neighborhood. And I'm going to go out and shoot and I'm going to try and come back with something.

That's still a pretty broad range of photographic possibilities. So maybe you want to give yourself a subject, can even pull something out of a hat. I've got some suggestions here of kind of some categories, maybe a particular type of object. Maybe, every week you're going to stay in your city and you're going to shoot a fire hydrant. Or a cat or a dog or telephone wire or something in the air or doors or cars or bicycles. it could even be something more abstract, a particular kind of texture and particular kind of light. Maybe you're going to go out fortnightly on your street and try to shoot something that's backlit, maybe you really want to experiment with that.

Some other suggestions for a subject, color. Just pick a color, yellow. I'm going to stay in my town and once a week I'm going to go shoot something yellow. And you don't have to decide what that is ahead of time. It could be anything. An event, sunrise, sunset, rain if you're regularly, if you're a social person. Maybe your'e going to shoot a party every week. A cliche, just pick one. Beauty and the beast, a penny saved, what goes around. You then interpret that however you want, and what's interesting about doing something a little more abstract like a cliche. Or I also have down here just a word you could choose the word determination, or suffrage or, I don't know, any word that you want.

Those are abstract enough and open enough that it's interesting enough to watch maybe how your take on that word changes over the scope of your project, particularly if you choose particularly if you do it for a whole year. book title can be interesting sometimes, crime and punishment. Maybe you're going to go and shoot that, whatever that means to you at any particular time. Or you can pick an emotion, today I am going to go shoot melancholy or, or ecstasy, or whatever you want. And again, you would do that within the scope and at the frequency that you've speced out ahead of time.

Again, try to, try to make this a challenge, but try not to make it such a challenge that you actually discourage yourself from do it, doing it. Set yourself up so that you're not battling your terms here. This is a, again, a great way to limit the world to help you hone in on some photographs. It's also a way to develop the discipline to be practicing all the time. Improving as a photographer is contingent on regular practice. I've got a friend who shot for quite a while just in his room. And came up with a beautiful selection of images.

He's self-published those as a book and it's really inspiring. He also wrote a lot of text to go with it. That's another great thing that can come from this. You don't know what kind of story you might stumble into by really focusing on a particular subject. You don't know how your own feelings might change and it's not a bad idea to be writing those down while you're working. Those can lead you to more ideas about how to shoot. So, write this down, codify it somehow so that you can hold yourself to it throughout the project and give it a try for you know, just a year.

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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
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