Tuesday, October 1, 2013

WIN an Online Photography Class from Craftsy!

Channel your inner Martha Stewart with Craftsy!
Being an avid traveller, I always take hundreds of photos to try and get that perfect, beautiful image which captures the mood and space of the scene, drawing us right into the moment. I had a chance to give Craftsy a try and take my photography skills to a higher level with their Landscape Photography Class ($61.99). 

Crafsty has something for everyone, from sewing, cake decorating and jewellery making to quilting, cooking and photography classes. Classes are taught through a series of topic-based video lessons and demonstrations within each respective class.

The class is divided into several video lessons covering photography gear (lessons are based on using a DSLR camera), tips and tricks on making the most of sunrise, midday and sunset shoots. All video lessons are shot onsite at a destination and include photographic examples of each concept covered to give students a visual understanding.  
I found the lessons to be pretty basic and easy to follow along. At times, I did get lost in some of the technical terminology and confused by the different camera settings and functions. While I have had my DSLR for awhile, I am not familiar with all the functions, what they mean and how to properly use them.  Despite this, I don’t feel you would need to have this knowledge in order to take or benefit from the class (it would only serve to elevate your photography skills even more). 

The class teaches you the basics and importance of photo composition, what makes a good landscape photo and how to take it. Tips are offered on how to create a sense of place, make people feel like they are a part of the scene, as well as how to create a more interesting and unique photograph. These techniques still apply whether you are a skilled or amateur photographer.

Here are some of my favourite tips I took away from the class:
  • Make a picture, don’t just take a picture. Think about what story you would like to tell with your photos and what subjects you would like to capture. Compose your photo.
  • Use an off-centre composition. Placing the subject off centre produces a more interesting photo, forcing your eyes to go around and look at the rest of the scene and not only the subject.
  • Shooting odd numbers is more visually appealing (ex. Capturing a cluster of 3 or 5 trees versus 2 or 4).
  • Shadows are your friend. Shadows create definition, depth and dimension in your photos.  Shoot at sunrise and after sunset for the best shadows. As the sun rises, shadows become shorter.
  • Create a sense of place and space. Include foreground elements to achieve a sense of place and make the viewer feel like they are a part of the picture. Include people in a photo to give a sense of scale to the photo.
  • Placement of the horizon line is important. For example, if the sky and clouds are more interesting than the foreground, place the horizon line at the bottom of the photo and vice versa. 
  • Silhouette shots. Create a starburst effect by setting your camera aperture to F22, shoot into the sun and allow the sun to peak out just behind the subject.
  • Shoot at golden hour. Soft golden light is cast during the first and last hour of sunlight.
Each lesson is 20 minutes or less and can be done at your own pace according to your own schedule.  The class never expires, so you can re-watch the lessons as often as you’d like. No notebook and pen are required! You can take virtual notes and bookmark parts of the video you would like to return to and remember. Students are also encouraged to post questions and apply what they’ve learned by taking photos and sharing them with the class.  As a high school teacher of mine used to say, “Repetition is the Mother of Learning.” Many of the concepts taught are often repeated throughout the lessons, making them easier to remember. 

Want to try your hand at one of their classes?  Craftsy is giving away a free class to one lucky HUG reader!  All you need to do is follow this link and sign up for Craftsy by October 7. Winner will be selected by Craftsy at 6pm on October 8th 

Natalia Dziubaniwsky is a professional in the not-for-profit sector, freelance writer and an avid traveller forever searching for a new adventure. A lover of life, wildlife enthusiast, movie buff and hobbyaholic, you can interact with her on Twitter @taliasfootsteps or follow her footsteps through her blog.

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