When I first started shooting I took a class or two on photography at the local community college. In retrospect I don’t know if I would recommend that as the most effective way to start of your photography career. However, there were a couple assignments which proved invaluable. Those assignments had one thing in common. They each had a list of instructions to follow as you took photos. Later the class would review each image individually. They key to this was it really got me in the habit of evaluating each image in camera as I composed it.
As part of my one-on-one mentor program I will sometimes give this assignment out. It’s a step by step guide, and list of photos to take when doing a simple one person portrait session. It includes tight shots, mid length shots, wide shots, as well as a few things to think about when framing. Every person, location and session is different, so this isn’t a guide to memorize and repeat. However, when you are shooting portraits you want to remember to always get a few really good photos from a wide range of focal lengths. I think this guide will be really helpful if you’re wondering what photos to take and include in a session. It might also be helpful if you’re having trouble finding people to photograph. You can just tell them you have an assignment to complete. It worked for me when I was looking for my first few volunteers.
So here’s the assignment and the prize. Print out THE ASSIGNMENT and read it over. Find a friend, model, family member or anyone who you think would like some fun photos of themselves. Complete the assignment and post the results on your blog or on Facebook in the order they are listed on the assignment. Put a link to the photos and mention me in a tweet or Facebook status sometime before March 18th 2012. The entry that follows the assignment with the most style gets a free 30 minute Skype mentor session with me. If only one person enters they win.
I did the assignment myself this morning and it only took me 25 minutes. Thanks Grace for volunteering to model for me! You can also check out the time lapse video of me doing the session at the bottom of this post!
I labeled all my photos from the assignment below. Good luck!
2.a. (left) 2.b. (right)
3.b. (left) 3.c. (right)
3.g. (right) 3.h. (left)
3.h. (left) 4.a. (right)
4.a. (left) 4.b. (right)
The whole session in under 1 minute!