Giving an informative presentation on photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Foxx, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Foxx

    Foxx TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm taking a public speaking class and our current assignment is to create an 8-10 minute presentation on something we can teach the class how to do or educate them on a subject. For my presentation I've chosen "how to take a photo" and what I want to do is give a few examples of basic exposure/composition rules to help improve the skills of my classmates.

    Being that this is a SHORT presentation and I was told to assume my audience has zero skills with the subject matter I want to accomplish the following:

    • Use examples that are applicable to the majority of casual shooting situation
    • Be able to accomplish all examples using a P&S(AKA assume no manual/priority controls)
    • Make the rules/examples easy enough to remember that my audience will be able to actually use them

    I already have a few situations I think I could use. Let me know if there's anything I could change about them OR give me better suggestions. All feedback is appreciated!

    #1 - Subjects should be brightest part of the shot
    -Example with sun in background(overexposed sky) versus properly exposed with subject facing the sun

    #2 - For people pictures, shorten DoF to make them "pop"
    - Example shot with no zoom versus a shot that is zoomed in(with P&S) and photographer steps back to increase focal length and shorten DoF.

    #3 - Utilize ambient light in low light situations
    -Try to shoot with available light rather than use the flash​
    -If using flash, shoot against a background/wall and stand back(5-7ft)
    -Don't use flash if subject is farther than 7-10ft.​

    #4 - Look for lines
    -Example shot of a subject paying no attention to lines versus shot with leading lines

    #5 - Rule of Thirds

    #6 - Think different
    -Same subject with 3 or 4 different angles taken to show the variety of perspectives you can get to make a shot more interesting.


    So those are the examples I've been able to conjure up. Any comments, changes, sugggestions?


     
  2. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would keep it very basic and generalized. If you have too many topics you will leave the audience feeling uninformed because 8-10 minutes is not a lot of time to explain things. I would hit just a few key things and make 1 or 2 points on each.

    For example;

    Exposure
    1, proper exposure
    2, over exposed
    3, under exposed

    Framing,
    1, Rule of thirds
    2, portrait vs landscape.

    Close with digital vs film (or possibly start with it)

    10 minutes will go very fast once you get talking.
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Much better approach, although I wouldn't even worry too much about exposure. It's safe to assume that the majority of people to whom you would be presenting this talk (assuming they were interested in photographers and not simply other students on the course) would be using point-and-shoot type cameras with limited manual control. Therefore, I would cover as mentioned, the portrait vs. landscape and rule of thirds (since it is the most basic compositional technique), quickly mention golden light vs. high-noon shooting, distracting backgrounds, keeping the camera level and how to do that, watching for cropped body-parts in the viewfinder, and two or three suggestions on how condiitions effect exposure (eg. open shade, facing into or out of the sun, etc). I wouldn't even mention film, and yes, 10 minutes will go VERY quickly.
     
  4. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'd think about the role of emotion. How to get people to react to images? What are the kind of messages we get and/or want to convey?

    For instance, we know that an image of someone with their eyes clearly visible is something we react to more readily than one where the eyes are hidden or obscured. That ties into our psychology and sociology, of treating the eyes as the windows to the soul. There are various photographic techniques used to ensure that the viewer's attention is directed in the right direction: sharpness, brightness, non-important areas blurred, placement in the frame, etc.

    A big difference between the way we normally look at things and the way the camera does, is the phenomenon of selective focus - we have excellent ability to focus on something that is of interest to us, and essentially block out perception of the uninteresting or unimportant. The camera, on the other hand, sees it all, and therefore we get the classic snapshots with the centally placed subject (that's what the viewer was focusing on), but with the background (and foreground) clearly visible to the camera, and therefore the viewers of the image. In our brains, we have a 3-dimensional view, but the camera presents it in 2D. That means that the depth cues in 2D must be more explicitly included to allow us to decode the image properly. On the other hand, what we ignore in our 3D view, the camera does not, and the photographer has to use appropriate techniques (OOF backgound, choice of background, light direction, inclusion of shadow and perspective) to control the image and the perception of the people viewing that image.

    Don't know if that is relevant to your project, but I thought it would help you tie in the mechanics of photography to the understanding/viewing of the displayed image.
     
  5. Foxx

    Foxx TPF Noob!

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    tirediron and EIngerson -- I agree with your suggestions for keeping the talk general and very basic, I would be doing this 100% if I was making this a series or was talking to a group of prospective photographers who were there to learn about the field. However this is not my class. Though I know it would be more proper to explain the basics and give them a real lesson on photographer, I have to admit this is not the goal of my presentation.

    One of the goals of the presentation is to capture the attention of my audience, and while proper exposure or portrait/landscape is paramount to us(having an eye for photography), I think it is much less impressive/impacting to people who are there to listen to me talk for 10 minutes and then go to their next class. My real objective with this presentation is to "wow" my audience while also conveying a few(though obviously not the most important or basic) tricks of the trade that are easily replicable with a P&S. I want the examples I show to be VERY bold and easily discernible for the average joe.

    This is more of what I'm trying to do. I want to show an example of two shots of the same subject which are drastically different from each other. This is why I'm thinking about doing the DoF example and leading lines.

    Of course I can't do all the examples I originally listed -- I just listed them all to see if anyone thought some were better than others. So any other suggestions for BIG/bold examples I can show?
     
  6. JClishe

    JClishe No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would recommend including a point on "filling the frame". IMO one of the most common beginner mistakes is a photo that has tiny little subjects sitting in a huge expanse of wasted space.
     
  7. WesternGuy

    WesternGuy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If the first task is to capture your audience's attention, I would start with a picture. e,g, a portrait or a picture of a pet (people are always taking pictures of their pets) that is full of "beginner's mistakes", e.g. centred vs ROThirds, things growing out of their head, over/underexposed because of bright background or bad lighting, etc. - you get the idea - then I would show them how they can improve on this image - use rule of thirds, good/better lighting, DOF, etc. You might do this with a series of images that adds, one at a time, different effects to the image to show how using each improves the image until you arrive at the final image or finished product - don't try and take on too much - your audience can only absorb so much before they turn off and nothing turns a non-technical audience off faster than techno-speak. For example, I would not even mention the "Rule of Thirds" at first, but concentrate on drawing the "thirds" grid in your mind and then placing things at the "thirds" points, etc - when I have finished all this talk about thirds, then I would mention the "rule of thirds" - "this postioning/placement is called the rule of thirds"...

    I did a lot of presentations to clients both to get business and for education, when I was working and most recently gave a presentation to a senior's group on some basic "rules" of photographic composition using a very, nontechnical approach and I used my own images and slides to make the points I was trying to achieve. Years ago, I took a course from a consultant who specialized in this sort of thing (presentations) and I will always remember one thing he told us - "When you start, you have about 25 seconds to capture your audience's attention. If you don't have it by then, you have lost them - period!" This is why the first "slide" is so important and your opening statements are even more important. HTH.

    Cheers,

    WesternGuy

    P.S. As others have said - TEN MINUTES wll go faster than you think, about twice as fast in my experience!
     
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  8. tacticdesigns

    tacticdesigns TPF Noob!

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    Are you assuming people want to try to improve their pictures, or are you going to try to break through to the people that aren't aware that there are some attainable things that they can do to get much better pictures up front? And then point them into the direction of learning more?
     
  9. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think photography's incidental to the OP's objective - he's in a public speaking class, and he's trying to come up with an interesting presentation to people who are not photographers, and probably don't identify with photography. So, Western Guy's ideas are a good way to approach this, I would think.
     
  10. Vipor

    Vipor TPF Noob!

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    I also agree with Westernguy. Starting off with a visual up on the screen (a photo) will capture the audience's attention right off the bat. If it is full of rookie mistakes, and assuming your audience is majority rookies, they will likely not even notice the mistakes. That is, until you begin to point out the areas of improvement. At this point, you can incorporate EIngerson's ideas and begin to discuss framing and exposure and how those areas can easily be improved by understanding their functions. Then you can show the same photo with proper framing and exposure to contrast with the original "rookie" photo. Just a thought...
     
  11. Foxx

    Foxx TPF Noob!

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    Trying to break through basically. Western Guy, I like your approach the best! That is exactly what I need to do. Thanks for the advice :)
     
  12. tacticdesigns

    tacticdesigns TPF Noob!

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    This is probably completely in left field, but . . . let me play devil's advocate.

    Let's pretend that there are people in the audience that currently just want to take snap shots, and either currently don't care to learn more about taking better pictures, or currently are scared that it might be too over whelming.

    What can you say / do / show them that will make this presentation important to them?

    You're answering the What and How, but haven't addressed the Why? Why is it important to you? Why should it be important to them?

    Just a thought . . .
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012

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