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Monthly Challenge – Study Photographers

It's that time again – to wrap up last month's challenge and start a new one.

Wrap up of last month's challenge

Last month your challenge was to give yourself a limitation by picking and using only one lens, no others, for 30 days. There were over 140 comments and many dozen people put their name in as participating. However . . . only 10 people came back and completed the second part of the contest requirements which was: when the month is complete, comment again saying you’ve completed it, how it worked out for you, and what you’ve learned.

Please take note if you were one of those that participated but didn't do part two, and make sure you complete it fully this month to be eligible to win.

What people learned by only using one lens

There were some great images and comments and once again it sounds like this was a very valuable thing to do. Here are a few of the ones that completed the challenge:

  • Gold top 10 winner
    Image by Sam Churchill

    I have to say, this task was harder than I expected. My trusty Canon Rebel T3i, with its lens taped at 35mm, and I arrived at Tokyo a few days ago and I wanted to take some pictures but couldn't quite get the shots I hoped for. I was quite tempted to take the tape off my camera a few times, but resisted the urge and decided to try different approaches to my photos. I realized that I don't need a bag full of lenses to be a confident photographer, instead I look to get closer or further away, positioning myself to take the picture I have in mind, and if that isn't enough, I can always find new perspectives, compositions or details to photograph. This also taught me that these are the pictures that are most interesting, and this has widen my view as a photographer. These last days I found myself laying on the ground, leaning over fences, and stopping in the middle of the streets to take my pictures. I really enjoyed this challenge, but I'm sure the japanese people who were looking at me on the street enjoyed it more! – Sackie Sakai

  • I have been using my Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime for a month. I'm growing to love this lens. It makes me become more engaged with my environment and my subject. – Jim Ruse
  • I did it, one month with only one lens. I was a little doubtful of my purchase of the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 since I already had the 1.8, but your challenge has made me love this new lens. I stuck with it and it paid off. I am quite amazed at the wonderful photos I made in different conditions, both inside and out. I passed the 1.8 on to my grandson who is taking photography courses in school and is loving it. It's a great addition to his camera bag, and hopefully he'll love it as much as I love my new f1.4. Thank you for making me see the full potential in this wonderful lens. – Jutta Bialke
  • I missed several days of not taking photos during this challenge. I'm glad that I did take on the challenge. I learned how to better work with my lens. I had chosen to use the Lensbaby Spark I discover I could swop out and use different optics. It's been fun. – Gloria Roldan

The winner is . . .

Image by Kreg Steppe

Drumroll please

The winner is – Jutta Bialke!

See what she learned by doing this challenge above. We'll be in touch by email Jutta, so you can collect your $50 Amazon gift card.

New challenge – study photography and photographers

Okay you might be thinking, “This is going to be easy!”. But there are a few parameters for doing this I want to define.

Image by Anant Nath Sharma

Rules of the challenge:

  1. Pick a specific genre of photography that you enjoy doing. It could be anything such as: street photography, portraits, landscape, and so on.
  2. Select FIVE photographers whose work you are drawn you, are who are masters (top notch) of that kind of photography. They can be active, working photographers, or some of the great masters in photography history.
  3. Study their work. Really look at it closely. Find books of their work at the library or local bookstore. Look for online exhibits and galleries. See as much of their work as you can.
  4. What can you learn from their images? Look at one image and analyze things like camera angle, light direction, quality of light, can you tell what time of day it an image was taken, post-processing style or technique, aperture, lens focal length, and anything else you can gather just be seeing the image.
  5. How can you apply that to your photography? Now take a look at your photography and see how you can apply those same settings and techniques to your photography to make your own style.

How to find photographers to study:

Image by Guido Gloor Modjib

I already mentioned a few sources about but you can also:

 The contest

In order to be eligible to win this month's challenge you must complete the assignment, and post a comment below by April 20th (midnight EST) that includes:

  1. The names of your five photographers and links (if applicable) to their work.
  2. What you learned about their work by an in-depth study.
  3. How your photography has been influenced, changed, or improved by this exercise.

The prize

This month is all about learning. A great way to improve and grow is to have your images reviewed and to get constructive, helpful comments. So the prize for the winner this month is:

FIVE of your images reviewed by me!  

I'm my own worst critic – you too?

I do not normally do image reviews so this is a special one. I will take your images and do a spoken review of them, record it to video for you to watch on a private page for your eyes only. When I do image reviews in my classroom sometimes there is some anxiety around that, but fear not.

No one else will see it – just you.

I always find positive things to encourage you, and give a few tips on things you can either improve through post-processing, or in camera next time.

The goal is to make you feel good about your images and have something to move toward.


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