Day One: Home & Getting Oriented

Home is elusive. When we think about this word, we might picture different physical locations. And while home is often found on a map, it can also be less tangible: a loved one, a state of mind.

Day Two: Street & Establishing Shots

Yesterday, we asked you to interpret home in your own way: you might have posted an image of a house, the countryside, an entire city skyline, or something else entirely.

Today, let’s focus on a street. It can be a quiet road blanketed in snow, an alley near your apartment covered with murals, or a busy street where pedestrians weave between cars and motorbikes. To capture your street snapshot, wander your own neighborhood — or explore someplace new!

Today’s Tip: While you’re free to take a picture from any angle, try to capture an establishing shot: a wide-angle photo that sets up a scene. It might mean moving back some steps, or finding higher ground (like climbing stairs) to fit all of your scene in one shot.

In your wide shot, also think about its basic components: a foreground and a background. The foreground is the part of your scene that’s nearest to the viewer, and where you can place a subject or focal point of your picture. In the image above, the woman balancing the fruit baskets is the subject in my foreground, and the storefronts behind her make up the background.

When we say “wide angle,” we’re generally referring to a type of lens with a short focal length, and its “zoomed out” nature means it can capture more within the frame. But don’t worry about lenses right now! Just know that if you want to take an establishing shot, you’ll want to capture a wide view, rather than close-up view, of what you’re seeing.

Think about these elements as you compose your street shot!

Day Three: Water & Orientation

We have different relationships to and stories about water: how it has saved or defeated us. How it reminds us of family vacations, outdoor adventures, or the hot summers of our childhood. How it might symbolize a place we’ve left behind, or a location we dream to go.

How will you interpret this theme? How can you tell a story with water?

Today’s Tip: Ever wonder whether a photograph will work better horizontally or vertically? It’s a great question to ask when looking through your viewfinder! Humans have binocular vision — which means we have two eyes, adjacent to one another — and naturally scan a scene along a horizontal, rather than vertical, plane.

After you snap your picture, rotate your camera and take a shot from the other orientation — horizontally if you first took the picture vertically, and vice versa. If you’re aiming for an establishing shot, what orientation works better? How does a vertical shot affect your scene? I opted for a horizontal shot above, as I wanted to capture more of the bay in the background.

In your street shot, you established a scene with a background, foreground, and a focal point within it. Apply this thinking to your water shot — and to your upcoming photographs this month. The tips in this course are cumulative, which means these shooting tips all work together to help you create better photographs!

You’re welcome to publish one or both versions of your image — and are free to talk about your shooting process, too.

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