Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lesson #2: View Angles--due July 5th

Get a new perspective!
  • Typically we view the world head-on, in a straight forward direction. But to add interest to your photos, explore different angles.
  • Get down onto the ground and angle your camera up and towards your subject.
  • Get up on a chair or table and shoot from above.
Examples: Other Resources: This next lesson is also about how to better compose your images. While not appropriate for all subjects, viewing your subject from a new angle asks to to expand your perspective--and might make for a very intriguing photo. Experiment with this composition technique, and post a few of your favorite photos on the Shutter School Flickr group by July 5.

Be sure to let us know that you're playing along by leaving a comment answering this question:
If you could view the world from someone else's perspective, whose would you choose and why?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lesson #1: Rule of Thirds--WrapUp

Congratulations on completing the first lesson of Shutter School!

This past week and a half, we each experimented with the Rule of Thirds. It took a bit of practice, but I think that most of us would agree that by following the "rule" (whether you are cropping your photos as you snap the picture or after the fact with PhotoShop), most of our photos ended up even more spectacular!

Here's a sample of the photos we snapped this week:

From ljam.

From Rob of Jana and Rob.

From SherrieP.

From Jana of Jana and Rob.

Keep shooting! Keep practicing the Rule of Thirds! And keep uploading to our Flickr group.
The next lesson will be up on Wednesday--look for it!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shutter School Flickr Site

I've been practicing the "Rule of Thirds" a lot lately. It really helped to begin with that lesson, because instantly some of my pictures look better. That's definitely motivation to learn more! Now that I know about the rule, it seems like I'm looking at everything I see in a new way. "How would that look over to the side a bit?" or "Wow, that road divides everything in thirds just perfectly". Am I the only one doing that??? Possibly. But, go on over to our Flickr site and check out some of the photos that have been uploaded dealing with the Rule of Thirds. And if you've taken a few shots, be sure to add them. Here's a photo I recently took while trying out the "Rule". Next time I would try to put that top "grass line" a bit closer to the top and Emmi a little bit further to the left, but at least it's more interesting than having her "dead center". Anyone else have suggestions for improving it? You can add your comments for each photo on the Shutter School Flickr Site.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Free Photo Editing Class

Just wanted to share a link with you----Jessica Sprague is offering a free photo editing class. This is an online class that will teach you how to use some of the basic features of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. She even includes a link to download a 30-day trial of the software. I'm definitely going to sign up for this. I've been wanting to learn about Photoshop and at this point, know basically nothing. Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lesson #1: Rule of Thirds--due June 21st

Move it from the Middle!
  • The goal of the Rule of Thirds is to create a photograph which is interesting and captures the viewer's attention.
  • The Rule of Thirds enhances the impression of action.
  • Divide the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically; then crop your photo so that the main subjects are located around one of the intersection points rather than in the center of the image
  • Placing the horizon at the top 1/3 or bottom 1/3, then tells the viewer that this is a sky or land shot without having them to guess.
  • Some cameras have an option to show the Rule of Thirds grid lines on the viewfinder/screen.
  • Remember, sometimes rules are meant to be broken!

Other Resources:

This will be our first challenge. Get out your camera and snap away. As you look through the lens, try to practice the rule of thirds. You can experiment with placing the subject in different thirds to produce different effects. Post a few of your favorite photos on the Shutter School Flickr group by June 21.

Be sure to let us know that you're playing along by leaving a comment telling us your name, where you're from, and your three favorite foods!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Share the Shutter School love!

Want to add a Shutter School button to your own blog?
Here's how in Blogger:
  • While logged in to your Blogger account and looking at the "Dashboard," click on the "Layout" link.
  • Choose "Add a Gadget" and then choose "HTML/Javascript."
  • Copy the following HTML code: <a href=''><img alt='Shutter School' height='220' id='Image1_img' src='' width='175'/>a>
  • Make sure to click "SAVE" on the "Configure HTML" page and the "Add and Arrange Page Elements" page.
You should be able to use the same code in Typepad or other hosts, but the process might be a little different.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Welcome to Shutter School

  • If you drool over professional photographer blogs, but are too embarrassed to post your own photos...
  • If you dream of capturing bright blue skies and vivid green grass, but have never switched out of automatic mode...
  • If your scrapbooks are cleverly designed, but the quality of the photos distracts from the pages...
  • If you wish you had captured that spontaneous moment earlier, but forgot to bring your camera along...
Then welcome to Shutter School!
Shutter School is an online photo challenge which hopes to inspire you to pull out your digital camera and learn to love your lens.

How it works:
  1. Every 10 days (or so!) a new lesson will be posted on this blog, as well as our personal blogs, Dancing Commas and Mommy's Treasures. The lesson will focus on a single photography skill (either a camera mode, a style of photography, or a hint about composition). Along with a list of tips about that skill, a directory of other photography resources will be listed for you to gain an even better understanding of the concept.
  2. We'll ask you to comment on the post to take attendance. (We want to know who is playing along with us!) Also, please feel free to share your own hints or other resources that you find. Let's learn from each other!
  3. Your homework is to spend the next 10 days practicing that skill. Carry your camera with you. Pull out your manual to figure out how the skill applies to your particular camera. . . and snap away!
  4. At the end of the two weeks (or as you go along), you will want to post your best images to our Flickr group: "Shutter School" and if you have one, to your own personal blog.
  5. To complete the lesson, we'll post some of the photos that best employ the lesson's technique.
Gather your supplies and join our Flickr group, so that you'll be all ready when the first lesson is posted on June 10!

Be sure to leave us a comment below or on our individual blogs so that we'll know you want to learn with us---I think it will be fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What do I need to do to play along with a lesson?
A: A camera, digital photos, a Flickr account, and willingness to share your creativity! A personal blog and photo editing software are helpful, but not necessary.

Q: How do I get a Flickr account? Is it free?
A: You can create a basic Flickr account for free by visiting and clicking on the "Create Your Account" link. You will need to sign up for a Yahoo! id, if you don't already have one. When you have a free Flickr account, you can upload 2 videos and 100MB worth of photos each calendar month. For just $24.95 a year, you can upgrade to a Pro account which allows unlimited uploads and unlimited storage. You can do that here.

Q: How do I join the "Shutter School" Flickr group?
A: Once you have created your Flickr account, go to, and click the "Join?" link. Send the group administrator a message asking for an invitation, and we will accept your request shortly!

Q: How do I add my photos to the "Shutter School" Flickr group pool?
A: Once you have uploaded photos to your account, the easiest way add a photo to a group pool is to go to the photo's page and click the "Send to Group" button between the photo title and the photo. Then choose the group you want to send it to, and you're done!

Q: How can I get my hands on some photo editing software?
A: Many printers and digital cameras come with some basic photo editing tools. If you are interested in getting something more professional, let us know and we'll be able to point you in the right direction. Many colleges and universities offer these kinds of software at greatly reduced rates, so if you're enrolled, this might be the time to take advantage of that discount.

Q: Do the photos I post have to be ones I have taken myself?
A: Yes, please only use photos you have taken.

Q: Do I have to be invited to play?
A: Nope. Jump in, sign up and have fun!

What if none of my pictures are turning out very well. Should I go ahead and post them?
A. You bet! Chances are, someone else is having or has had the same problem and they may be able to give you some hints. Plus, this is supposed to be fun--no grades assigned, no failing!

Q: Must I participate in every lesson?
Nope. Join us for any lessons that you want to be a part of. Feel free also to look back at Archives to gain further photo insight. The point is to learn about your camera, not to be a stickler for the rules!

Q: Are there prizes?
A: The prize is learning to love your lens.

Note: If you have any questions regarding Shutter School, please leave a comment on this blog or on either Dancing Commas or Mommy's Treasures.