Photo Shoot | Photo Class Assignment #1

Whenever anyone asks me how I learned about photography, or what they should do to learn more about photography, my answer is always the same - take a class. I took an online portrait class when G-Man was no longer interested in holding still so I could practice on him, and it's one of the best things I ever did. Workshops are great, but online courses allow you access to great teachers who you may not get to work with otherwise. I've taken a couple other online classes since, and I'm currently taking a class that I'm just loving so far.

I've been following our teacher, Brooke Snow, online for a little while now. I came across her website through the ShowIT Sites website, saw she was a Utah photographer, and stuck around because I was really drawn to her style. (And as we've become e-mail friends, it's kind of shocking how much we have in common as musician/photographers!) As I'm kicking off my year on sabbatical, I thought her class would be a great thing to keep me shooting, and to push me creatively.

I was right.

Our first assignment involved preparation - planning a detailed shoot, and choosing a location and using all the possible spots you can in that location.

Well, I've been planning a detailed shoot for the past week - L's first birthday/cake smash shoot.

(Which I shot today. It turned out really well. I'll show you soon.)

But, I shot that stuff in the studio, and we're focusing on natural light for this class.

So, I decided to focus instead on the location portion of the assignment.

Location selection is tough. I try to encourage clients to choose a place that means something to them - someplace they've spent time together as a family, and someplace they are comfortable being themselves. I personally think one of the best places to accomplish this is in the client's home. But whenever I suggest it, clients aren't usually interested in that. Which is fine, but I always suggest it. I think clients don't take me up on the idea because they can't imagine we can find any spots in their home that would photograph well. They only see their piles of paper scattered around on counters and the toys in the backyard.

Well, I decided to put myself to the test and shoot G-Man in our own backyard.

Our backyard, while nice, is not super large or green right now. We have a pool that takes up a lot of space, and there are lots of other visual distractions around. Brooke challenged us to "exhaust the location" as we did this homework assignment, and it was a bit of a challenge at first until I got going.

Here are my three favorites I'm submitting for my homework:

And here are a few more if you have time - including a couple from the studio showing off G-Man's "payment" for helping me with so many photos today. (We did Valentine's Day photos in addition to these and L's photos. I pushed his 4 1/2 year old patience right to the limit...)

(They're the Captain America brothers, if you were wondering...)