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The Practicing Photographer

Photo assignment: shooting an egg


The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Photo assignment: shooting an egg

We've talked a lot in this series about
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  1. 7m 18s
    1. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 5h 10m
    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 55s
    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

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The Practicing Photographer
5h 19m Appropriate for all May 16, 2013 Updated Apr 17, 2014

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

Photo assignment: shooting an egg

We've talked a lot in this series about trying to find subject matter, trying to find things that'll open your eyes back up and maybe get you shooting in a different way. This week on the Practicing Photographer it's going to be easy. We're not sending you out to find some obscure lighting situation or something like that. All you got to do is go to your refrigerator and get an egg. Because we want a round shape. What I want you to do this week is an assignment around shooting an egg. I'm here at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute right now, working with a photographer named Troy Word who has just given a very interesting assignment to our group of very talented teenage photographers.

He's asked them go shoot an egg. Preferably with the idea of getting an emotion from it, without modifying the egg. This is the assignment that I want you to do. Now this may sound strange, but how do you get emotion out of an egg without drawing a frown on it, or a happy face, or something like that? You do it through lighting, and camera angle. Watch what happens even just standing out here right now as I move the egg into the sunlight. The difference between shade and Sun. I've picked up this wonderful contour right here. I've actually got another shadow right here that I can play with.

As I start manipulating the lighting, moving it around, a lot of things are going to happen. If I start with a light directly in front of the egg, I remove all contour from it. I turn it into simply a bright, white oval shape. As the light is moved around, the egg begins to pick up shadows of different kinds. Some of them may be more sinister. Some of them maybe making it appear more vulnerable. This is a very, very simple exercise in terms of what you need gear wise. You can get away with one light, or even just sunlight and a reflector or a diffuser, something like that.

There are a lot of ways of modifying the light on this egg. I can't really change the direction of the sun without waiting for a while, but I could reflect lighting in different places. Or as you see, as working with the students, we have got a single light. Now this is a very light that we are using. You can very easily go to your local building supplies store and just get a work light, a shop light of some kind. Just something, even just a lamp that you have at home. Just something to put a single light source on that you can move around. As you're doing this assignment, don't forget about all of the other aspects of building a shot.

You want to think about camera position and focal length because that's going to change the proportions of the egg. It's going to give you a very different look in terms of how long the egg is, how fat it is. Think about the entire frame, think about what you want in the background. Think about how much space you want in the frame. A small egg in a very big, empty frame is different than a dramatically imposing egg with sinister lighting coming from behind. As Troy has pointed out several times during this assignment the great thing about an egg is it's actually not that much different than the shape of someone's head or the roundness they might have in their body.

It's a really good, simple laboratory for exploring the way that light wraps around shapes. And how that different lighting can really effect mood. So I want you to, I challenge you now to go get an egg and try this experiment. In the next installment, you're going to see what the students came up with and how how much variation there can be with even a simple lighting change on just an ordinary egg.

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