Author Topic: Teaching photography  (Read 3248 times)

  • Offline zpyder

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Teaching photography
on: May 04, 2013, 14:46:51 PM
Next week I'm teaching a short course on Forensic photography. Should be fun, thankfully forensic photography is more about technically perfect, analytical photos, rather than artistic composition.

It's also going to be interesting as we're using Nikons, so it'll be a change from my Canon kit.

Posting this asking for suggestions for mini-challenges for the students. We're basically wanting to give as many different subjects/scenarios as possible. Here's a small list of the kinds of things already planned:

Macro photography of a pill, want them to get as close as possible, get the whole thing in focus. Then to spice it up I'll get them to do it on a white background.
Photography in a dark unlit room. Using speedlights and light painting.
Different rooms with different lighting, adjusting white balance to suit
Hand holding the camera and documenting a scene, then same thing but with tripod

I've got a range of other ideas, but I'm curious if there are certain techniques you guys have used in the past that you find difficult, or that provide interesting results. It's easy for me to focus on the techniques I know well, but I want to give as broad an experience as possible to the students.

Re: Teaching photography
Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 22:30:33 PM
Hmm bit difficult as I've not really done anything like that, I'll have a think and post if I come up with anything but sounds like you've got most ideas covered.  Guess its all about making sure everythings in focus and lit correctly to get the correct detail so lots of work on flash setups and macro work, obviously ring flashes will come up as I imagine they're rather useful for this sort of thing.

Might be worth thinking about mentioning ratios in macro photography, ie because a pill is small you might want to make it bigger than 1:1 so make sure they've got lenses that can deal with it and know what it means.  Also what about hyperfocal distances etc, does it play a part in macro photography, never really tried it but could be worth mentioning in general.

I can't think of any specific examples at the mo that were difficult  (not trying to be big headed and saying that this photography lark is easy to me its not honest!) but I'll try and think and see if there's any macro stuff that might be relevant.

  • Offline zpyder

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Re: Teaching photography
Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 07:38:24 AM
I get what you mean.

Macro wise it's cool, the process of forensic photography involves first wide angle scene stuff, then closer mid range shots of evidence, then they do the same shots but with evidence markers in place. After that they do macro shots with and without markers and rulers, before evidence is taken away. So they cover most things. The one thing they can't do is post process, camera is set to fine jpg, and that's it. So no hdr etc.

One thing I find odd is that white balance is meant to be set to auto. When everything else is manual, I'd have thought we should use manual presets, given auto white balances tendency to screw up in certain situations.

Not sure hyperfocal distance applies that much,  but the rule of thirds regarding focal distance does.

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  • Offline zpyder

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Re: Teaching photography
Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 21:33:42 PM
Well today went quite well.  Mix of abilities, but it wasn't too hard to keep them all challenged.  Tomorrow will be fun with the flash guns. I hope I can keep them all going till 4, today they were starting to wain by 3.30!

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Re: Teaching photography
Reply #4 on: May 09, 2013, 18:08:16 PM
Well today went quite well.  Mix of abilities, but it wasn't too hard to keep them all challenged.  Tomorrow will be fun with the flash guns. I hope I can keep them all going till 4, today they were starting to wain by 3.30!

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Flashes should make it a little bit more awkward for them, I don't use mine loads but its quite a bit different to using a camera normally should be a nice challenge for them (and you!)

  • Offline zpyder

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Re: Teaching photography
Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 22:42:07 PM
Well that's all over now! Was an interesting week. We think it all went well, the students enjoyed it all and it was good that when I asked them what the main thing they each found most useful was, they all said different things, flash, tripod etc.

It was good from my point of view too, it's quite amazing how much it makes you think about your own photography when you have to explain the processes to other people!

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Re: Teaching photography
Reply #6 on: May 11, 2013, 10:02:39 AM
Well that's all over now! Was an interesting week. We think it all went well, the students enjoyed it all and it was good that when I asked them what the main thing they each found most useful was, they all said different things, flash, tripod etc.

It was good from my point of view too, it's quite amazing how much it makes you think about your own photography when you have to explain the processes to other people!

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I used to find that when I ran some workshop sessions for a computer training place a few years ago, I've also tried teaching photography to a friend who's into it as well and it is quite difficult, ideas and things you take for granted when your taking photos can sometimes be a bit difficult to explain.

Re: Teaching photography
Reply #7 on: May 11, 2013, 11:11:16 AM
I have had this issue. Was trying to teach two very experienced colleagues about some new research I was doing.

Keep thinking that because I know it, they must know it therefore it should be easy.

It wasn't. One of the hardest things I've ever done, balancing between them sucking eggs and making them feel retarded.

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  • Offline zpyder

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Re: Teaching photography
Reply #8 on: May 11, 2013, 17:18:46 PM
The hardest part I found, was the classic "wall of silence". You spend 10 minutes explaining something new, and then ask if they are all happy and understand it, and are met with silence. No responses of "yes", no responses of "no".

I hate it, as there is no way of telling whether you need to go through it again or try a different approach. You can't assume they don't get it and do it again, because if they do get it, you'll just waste time and bore them to death. At the same time if you assume they do get it, inevitably 10 minutes later you get asked questions on the subject halfway through something else, leading you to need to then repeat what you were just saying as they were thinking about the other topic and not what you just said!

The feedback from the course was all really positive, the only "negative" was one person ticked the 3/5 box for material covered in enough detail. At the end of the day I was asking them all whether they understood everything and/or wanted me to go through things in more detail, so I'm not really concerned :)

Re: Teaching photography
Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 11:25:29 AM
That was probably the one person who already had a good idea what they were doing and thought you were going to teach them something they didn't know already, as long as the rest were happy then its safe to say you can ignore that one.

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