Monday, January 25, 2016

52 Week Challenge: Weeks 1 through 4

I'm caught up on projects for the moment (literally for the moment; I have to delve back into things later this week) so I thought I'd share my first few weeks of the 52 Week Challenge I'm doing this year. You might remember that in the past I've attempted a photo-a-day 365 challenge, and it was hard. I missed a lot of days. I'm hoping that this one-a-week format might be a little easier for me to adhere to; I plan to shoot mostly on the weekends when I have a little more wiggle room in my schedule.

Each week, I'll take either a portrait, landscape or artistic shot, with each category featuring a smaller set of guidelines to follow. I'm the most confident about the portraits, because that's 90% of my paid work, and I'm least confident about the artistic shots because that's about 1% of the work I've done since getting a DSLR.

Week 1 (portrait). Theme: Selfie.


Verdict: Not a bad shot overall, and I achieved most of the look I wanted with the natural light coming through my glass storm door. Could have used more fill on the right side of my face via a reflector, but somehow I managed to nail the focus (which is hard to do with a remote).

Week 2 (landscape). Theme: Traditional landscape.


Verdict: Great sky and reflection, though I wish I'd had a wider lens on me to avoid cutting off the bridge on the left and the reflection at the bottom. Also, I could have made the grass a touch greener in post-processing. Shadows are a bit harsh, but my only chance to shoot this scene that week was on a lunch break during a work day.

Week 3 (artistic). Theme: Red.


Verdict: My first-ever attempt at light trail photography. I loved making this photo, though the limitations of the bridge I was on were pretty frustrating. I wound up having to kind of dangle my camera on the tripod out over the freeway, which was terrifying. I could do without those headlight artifacts in the red lane, and I really wish I had been able to stand directly over the tail light section of road instead of off to the side.

Week 4 (portrait). Theme: Headshot.


Verdict: My favorite one so far. This is my awesome friend Emily, who obliged when I surprised her with a photo shoot at lunch. I added the steam in post-processing, which was another first, and I think I got the angle a little too harsh in an attempt to avoid covering her eyes. I kept the rule of thirds but intentionally had her looking out of the frame to prevent the photo from being too rule-following. Overall, a really nice shot.

This week is landscape/black and white. I shot a few frames this weekend, but I'm not 100% sure I love them. We'll see how they turn out, I guess :) Have you ever done a photo challenge like this? Any words of wisdom to share?

(P.S. You can follow along in real-time via my photography Instagram account, @elfiephotos. That's also where you'll find highlights from all my paid photo shoots!)

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