The process was rather scattered, since I was coordinating photoshoots while editing past ones while trying to format my final instructional manual, but I wouldn't have had it any other way because it kept me busy!
After this year long process of creating a portfolio and then putting it all together in a portrait guide, I have learned a lot about myself as a photographer and myself as a learner. First of all, I learned a ton more about how to compose a nice shot and about lighting, framing and editing. I also learned how important it is to be organized with photoshoots and to not procrastinate on editing pictures, because it can all really back up!
Overall, the capstone process for me was a wonderful one. I'm extremely proud of the pictures that I took and the final manual that I created, and I hope that future photography classes at SLA will use my manual as a guide.
1. Busselle, Michael, and David Wilson. The Perfect Portrait Guide: How to Photograph People.
Mies: RotoVision, 2002. Internet Archive. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
While this is a physical book, I found a free copy of it online on an internet archive which is extremely helpful because now I can access it whenever I please. The section in particular that I looked at was on page 24, the “Directing Relaxed Poses” section. This is so important to my project because I want my subjects to be looking natural and happy rather than stiff and uptight. Along with this section, I related it to the next section entitled “The Candid Camera” which was useful specifically in teaching about take candid portraits, which I will use when I do group photoshoots.
The limitation that I found with this source is that while they showed example photographs in the two main sections that I looked at, they did not talk very much about the composition of the photograph but rather about the subject. I wish that with some of the photographs they had talked about the f-stop and shutter speed that they used since that is a huge component of any photograph.
Overall, however, this source was extremely helpful and will aid me in my group shots and family portraits as well as my overall composition.
2. Dickson, Christina N. "6 Tips for Perfect Composition in Portrait Photography." Digital
Photography School. N.p., 20 Sept. 2009. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
This source was incredible because the entire site is full of amazing photography tips. The thing that I liked most about this source was that I started reading and taking notes on this article but then ended up clicking all around the website and learning tons of new things about photography.
This particular article, however, was useful because it reminded me of all the basics of portrait photography such as filling the frame, the rule of thirds and creating texture. While I have found other specific sources for different kinds of photography, this was a resource that I found that gives an overall review of everything that any type of photographer needs to know no matter what kind of portraits they’re doing.
The one limitation to this article is that I don’t like the example photos that they chose. They had awesome lessons and great explanations about six different points, but the images that they chose to represent the mini-lesson were not very appealing in my opinion. While this may seem like a negative thing, it actually helped me because I was able to look at the photograph and think about what I would have done differently, which in turn helps me become a better photographer.
3. Drew Bittel. "8 Framing Secrets for Creating Interesting Portraits." NYIP Photo Articles. New York
Institute of Photography, 29 June 2013. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
This source is extremely credible because it is from the New York Institute of Photography. While it provided basic information on how to shoot portraits, it was particularly helpful because it showed creative ways to frame different portraits and simply make them more interesting to look at. I am going to use this knowledge especially when I take family portraits to make them look nicer and in order to use props. Overall, this reliable source opened up my creative eye to new ways to take portraits using props, different backgrounds and texture.
The limitation to this source was that they only provided eight examples of ways to frame the photographs more creatively and I would have preferred more. However, even though there were minimal examples it makes me think about if I had written the article what I would have added and how I can incorporate those into my pictures.
4. Gregory, Alyssa. "7 Tips for Writing an Effective Instruction Manual."Business and Marketing.
Sitepoint, 16 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
This source shifted the focus away from my actual photography skills and more onto my final product: the manual. Since I’ve never written a manual before, this source was so useful because it talked about the main things that I should include and how to make it effective and creative. It included strategies such as outlining it first, getting out of your own head, being brief and using visual aids. In my opinion, the visual aids are particularly helpful because high school students especially like to look at pictures and read as little as possible.
The limitation that I found with this website is that they didn’t give an example of a good instructional manual, they just listed different things that a good one had in it. While this website brought up good points with how to be thorough and well understood with my manual, it didn’t show any examples of good instructional manuals or even link to something else that I could read about how to be effective.
Overall, however, this source was overall very helpful because it gave me basic knowledge on how to create an informative manual.
5. Klinger, Teri. "7 Steps to Making a Great Silhouette." Weblog post. Teri Klinger Photography. N.p.,
30 May 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
First of all, I know that this source is credible because this is the photographer who took my friend’s senior pictures and who I have been in contact with about different photography things. I have studied Teri’s work and discussed it with her so I know that she is not only an excellent photographer but also very smart with editing and framing photos, which is knowledge that she has shared with me.
This source was especially helpful because it gave a bunch of tips on how to capture an awesome silhouette, which I will need to use when I take pictures at the shelter and I can’t reveal the identity of the children or the moms. Therefore, this source was so helpful because it gave me tangible tips about lighting and position in order to produce a beautiful silhouette.
The one limitation that I found with this source is that she only wrote about outdoor silhouettes and most of her examples used sunsets. In my case, however, I am going to have to use backlighting of windows or other natural light and this source did not provide information on how to take those kind of pictures.
6. "Lightroom Tutorials." Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Adobe, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2015.
This source was one of the most helpful ones out of everything that I’ve used so far. While this is mainly the home page of the tutorials, in connected me to a bunch of different links about everything I could ever want to know about Lightroom, which was so useful because that is the editing program that I am using. Also, I know that it’s reliable because the company that produces Lightroom, Adobe, is the one who owns this website and posts all of the tutorials.
Honestly, this resource did not have any down sides. Everything that I needed to know about Lightroom was on one reliable source and could be easily found through either the drop-down menus or the search bar. There were videos as well as images as well as readings, which catered to all three of the ways that I learn best. In addition, if I was still confused, there is a live chat option which meant that all of my questions could be answered by a real person and left this resource being an overall success.
7. Meyer, Jeff. "Family Photos: What the Pros Don't Say about Taking Pictures of Family." Digital
Camera World. Future, 26 Feb. 2013. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.
This source was so helpful because I am doing multiple different shoots with families. Some of them have little kids, some have dogs and some are all older kids, but this resource pretty much touched on every single one of those. Within this article, there are eight different pages focusing on different aspects of family portraits such as capturing action photos, posed photos and candid photos. These three pages in particular were so useful to me because I like to have a blend of all of those when I do a photoshoot.
The limitation to this source, like many other sources, is that I didn’t find that they had enough examples of photographs showing each of their techniques. For instance, they only had one picture for each of the candid, action and posed pages which lead me to believe that either not enough time was put into this article or the photographer simply couldn’t capture what he needed. However, this makes me want to be able to try out all of the techniques the author mentioned and prove his points even more than he could.
8. Smith, Brian. Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous. San
Francisco: New Riders, 2013. Print.
This was definitely one of the coolest sources that I found in my search. Brian Smith is an incredible photographer and has been doing it for many years according to his book, which I believe makes him an expert and a credible source.
While this book focuses on all aspects of portrait photography, what I noticed and found particularly helpful in this book was his use of color and how he used the skin color, outfits and backgrounds to create beautiful portrait photography. For example, he took a beautiful picture of an actress in a red dress with red lipstick against a red curtain.
Originally, I thought that it would look silly if almost everything in the photo was the same color or even in the same color scheme, but his purpose in that photograph was to make the actress’ ivory skin stand out and in the end, it made for a stunning photograph.
While this was an incredible book that I learned a lot from, the one downside was that it was extremely expensive so I couldn’t buy it. However, I am happy that I was able to find it, read it, take notes on it and have it overall be useful in my capstone.
9. Stitzer, Barbara. "How to Use Triangles to Improve Your Portraits Composition." Photodoto. N.p.,
23 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
Even though I have taken a photography class and have been taking pictures for as long as I can remember (even though they weren’t always good), this is an aspect of photography that I’ve never quite realized but that this website brought up, which is extremely helpful. This source is all about using triangles in your portraits to make the pictures more balanced and appealing to the eye, which I will use specifically when I take group portraits.
I also know that this source is credible because one of my previous sources, the Digital Photography School, linked me to this website for further information. Therefore, through the sharing of reliable sources I was able to find this article and learn a lot from it.
10. Wilson, Jodi. "Photography: How to Capture Your Kids without Revealing Their Identity."
Practising Simplicity. N.p., 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
This source is one of the most important ones to me because I will be using these skills in one of my most important shoots. It is one thing to be able to capture the identity of someone well and create a beautiful portrait, but another thing to keep the identity hidden and still capture the essence of someone in a photograph, which is what the website taught me to do and how I will use it.
This source might not be completely credible because it is a blog written by a woman named Jodi Wilson, but since all of these photography websites are opinions and tips anyway, not facts, I’m not bothered by the fact that every single thing that she writes might not be true.
However, that being said, I think that all of the points that she brings up are awesome and will really help me in my photoshoots.