OBLIGATED to Take Photos

rexbobcat

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
5,014
Reaction score
1,966
Location
United States
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I'm just curious, has anyone here taken a photography class/workshop/something that wasn't optional, in which you HAD to take certain types of photos (obviously)?

Is there anyone here who really hated it?

That's kind of where I am with my photography college class. For one, my professor is.....okay....but not really on the photographic up-in-up I guess...she knows theory....she talks the talk. She just can't....walk the walk as much.

This makes me want to really do well and impress her (shouldn't be tooooo hard) but I'm finding it kind of depressing. I've never had certain restrictions set on my photography before, and I've never been forced (pretty much) to take photos. As a result, I don't feel like I'll be giving it my best since I'm not taking photos intuitively, I'm taking them to meet a rigid, and quite frankly, frustrating, criteria...

Does anyone ever feel like this? I think this is the reason I've never done a 365 day project.

Also; I understand that with a career in photography deadlines must be met and that involves photographic obligations and stress, blah blah blah, but what I'm getting at is this is a very basic class, in which I'm only getting paid in knowledge I already know, and photos that I don't need.

Has anyone else ever felt like this?

PS: I am NOT trying to start some big debate over some vaguely related aspect of this topic, I'm just curious about others' experiences. Please don't derail this thread.
 

EIngerson

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
3,544
Reaction score
1,648
Location
San Diego, California
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
You're teacher probably feels the same exact way. Started out with a career that revolved around what she loved only to find it bound by critiria and void of any creative freedom. And this year here comes another snot nosed, punk, know it all that's going to show her what's up.


:lol: Just kidding. I couldn't help myself.
 

paigew

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
3,854
Reaction score
1,792
Location
Texas (Hill Country)
Website
www.paigewilks.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
/\/\/\ :lmao:


ugg...kinda like those books you have to read ;) Maybe just think of it as a challenge. You might love the way your shots turn out. Good luck! Are you a photo major?
 

Mot

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
208
Reaction score
32
Location
Cumbria, England
Website
theflashbulb.blogspot.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Does it restrict your creativity or does it test your ability to generate ideas?

If you're wanting to be a professional and you're complaining about restrictions in a learning environment you might want to feel the pressure of being in the positon where that limited brief that you're complaining about pays your wages!

I have experienced your position. Did I complain? No. Almost every successful photographer's success can be traced back to shooting what they love. Even when the mundane or 'bread and butter' work is getting on top of you you still have to be creative with your personal work. That personal work is what could get you your big break.

I'm not describing myself, by the way, but rather several successful photographers who I have read about or even met.
 

Bossy

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
1,372
Reaction score
252
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Yes. Actually, I just had to do a shoot with the subject "protien". Or meat, specifically. I did subpar, food just isn't my thing. But if nothing else, it taught me that food isn't my thing, and even more so that its much harder than it looks! You can also almost always put a creative interpretation of the subject though, or extend it to include other things you aren't so practiced on.
 

tirediron

Watch the Birdy!
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
45,747
Reaction score
14,800
Location
Victoria, BC
Website
www.johnsphotography.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If all I had to shoot were things I liked, I'm not sure how challenging that would be or how much you would learn. I've not been in that position for a few years, but when I was, I remember all kinds of assignments I didn't really want to do. They all helped me grow however, and even now I sometimes force myself to shoot outside my comfort zone. Maternity... *shudder*
 

KenC

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
5,700
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Philadelphia
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
In the few photo courses I took I always found the assignments had enough latitude that I could pretty much do what I wanted and make it fit. I did skip the first black and white course, which may have had more specific assignments, but the ones I took weren't a problem. I had been shooting for about ten years when I took these courses, so I was pretty much intent on doing what I wanted going in. If you have less experience I guess it could be harder to have fun with it.
 
OP
rexbobcat

rexbobcat

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
5,014
Reaction score
1,966
Location
United States
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Does it restrict your creativity or does it test your ability to generate ideas?

If you're wanting to be a professional and you're complaining about restrictions in a learning environment you might want to feel the pressure of being in the positon where that limited brief that you're complaining about pays your wages!

I have experienced your position. Did I complain? No. Almost every successful photographer's success can be traced back to shooting what they love. Even when the mundane or 'bread and butter' work is getting on top of you you still have to be creative with your personal work. That personal work is what could get you your big break.

I'm not describing myself, by the way, but rather several successful photographers who I have read about or even met.

That ability to generate idead, and creativity are one and the same in my opinion. I want my ideas to be creative. That's the problem.

It's like a landscape photographer who is thrust into the position of a sports photographer on short notice. They'll probably do pretty well given the circumstances, but will that specific body of work compare favorably to their work in their field of expertise? Most likely not. That's how I'm feeling now. She's wanting the class to shoot as she shoots, which is fine since most of the class is full of beginning photographers, but when you already know what you like and what you don't it's a little difficult to feel like its worth it. lol

I mean, I'll get over it. I'm just observing how much it sucks to have to move backwards.
 
OP
rexbobcat

rexbobcat

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
5,014
Reaction score
1,966
Location
United States
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
In the few photo courses I took I always found the assignments had enough latitude that I could pretty much do what I wanted and make it fit. I did skip the first black and white course, which may have had more specific assignments, but the ones I took weren't a problem. I had been shooting for about ten years when I took these courses, so I was pretty much intent on doing what I wanted going in. If you have less experience I guess it could be harder to have fun with it.

I'm sure that I've been creatively spoiled, because I've never been restricted. But our prof. wants us to do the first assignment at 200 ISO at 50mm, with the subject of campus architecture. Doesn't seem too hard until you consider the fact that there is so little space between buildings, and they're so big, that in order to capture the essence of the architecture you would need atleast a 20mm or wider. I know that I could take photos of the architectural detail, but that's so few and far between on this campus....the buildings look better as a sum of their parts....the individual parts themselves aren't very interesting...
 

Bossy

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
1,372
Reaction score
252
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
That actually sounds like it should be fun. Make it work. Make it interesting. I'm sure there's a reason he/she wants you to do those certain things.
 

KenC

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
5,700
Reaction score
1,472
Location
Philadelphia
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
There are always interesting details. The curves or lines of a small portion of any building can make a good minimalist composition. You could also do something with the interiors - there must be some nice spaces in there somewhere. What about repeating patterns with something else superimposed on them or interrupting them - sort of like some of the stuff Bitter posted not long ago - or reflections in a set of windows (need to scout the best time of day for this).
 

Framed365

TPF Noob!
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
Manchester, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Reflections in windows sounds like a great idea. How about also thinking about shadow on the buildings? Does the light cast any interesting shapes and shadows on the corners of the buildings? Can you get a photograph of the buildings from an unusual angle by accessing an area that others usually can't, for example the roof or shooting a building from inside another building, or even laying on the floor?

Just some thoughts that I had about your assignment, hope they help!

I have also had to shoot to university briefs before that seemed dull and uninspiring. I agree that it felt frustrating, however the best piece of advice I can give you is to try thinking outside of the box. If it is a boring brief, forget your first reaction to it and stretch the boundaries wherever possible.... you might be surprised by the results!
 

Mot

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
208
Reaction score
32
Location
Cumbria, England
Website
theflashbulb.blogspot.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
That ability to generate idead, and creativity are one and the same in my opinion. I want my ideas to be creative. That's the problem.

I agree with that. I suppose what I really meant that this brief should not stop you being creative, it should make you more creative. If there a limitations then you must push the boundaries, that's a test of how creative you can be.

Do you see creativity and originality as the same thing? Of course nothing in the modern day is original but it's easy to generate ideas that are creative but not original.
 

SCraig

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
Messages
6,474
Reaction score
2,450
Location
Nashville, TN
Website
sc-photo-tn.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
If you have any inclination to be a professional photographer, which is what classes in college are aimed at, you might as well get used to shooting things that you don't like, that the client wants, and that you don't want to do. Shooting what you want takes a distance second place to shooting what your client wants.

And now you know why I have never had any interest whatsoever in a professional career.
 

sm4him

In memoriam
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Messages
10,726
Reaction score
5,468
Location
The Beautiful Hills of East Tennessee
Website
sm4him.500px.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
The only time I've been put to that kind of photographic rigor is when I've *chosen* to do it myself. For instance, the challenge to walk into a room and shoot the very first object you see, and make it as interesting as you can. Or, photographing an egg to learn about light. You can't move the egg once you place it. You have to move the light to make it the way you want it.

But I have experienced a VERY similar type of teaching in writing classes. I write for the same reason I do photography; I enjoy it. But I want to write about what INTERESTS me, and in college (if I remember, lo these many, many years later...) we rarely got to write what we wanted. We were given topics, or other restrictions. It might be a specific topic, or something really vague. For instance, we might be told to write about a current news event from the perspective of someone who experienced it firsthand. Or, we might just be given the word, "Shoe" and told to write a short story employing the use of irony and keep it between 250 and 350 words.

I hated those exercises, and while I did well on them, I knew I would do "better" if I was allowed to write what I want. But the TRUTH is, all of that is training us to fine-tune our style, to learn to do what we like *better*, more creatively.
If you can write an interesting ironic short story with nothing more of a clue than the word "shoe," you're going to improve your skills.

By the same token, if you can take the restrictions you're given--50mm at 200ISO, campus architecture--and you can make something creative (whether it's the kind of thing YOU "like" or not!), it WILL help you down the road to be better at what you DO like.

EDIT: SCraig is right, too. If photography becomes your career, you will NOT always get to just shoot what you love. Again, this is the same as writing. I make money by using my writing and editorial skills talking about Public Transit. This does not really interest me, but I work hard to make it as interesting as I possibly can. For "fun" I write blogs, short stories, and presentations for women's ministry events. One day, I'd love to make my living as a women's ministry speaker, but until and unless that happens, I'll be the best public transit Information Specialist I can possibly be.
 
Last edited:

Most reactions

Top