1/52: The first assignment for the year is a self-portrait. Use whatever you have at your disposal. If the only thing you have is a cell phone, use it. If you have a mirrorless, DSLR, or a point-and-shoot...use those. The important thing here is to focus on creativity, composition, exposure, and lighting. The self-portrait can be formal, casual, environmental…the choice is yours. As far as lighting goes, use whatever method (natural vs. artificial) you're comfortable with. It needs to not necessarily be the "correct" light, but the correct light for the subject or situation. It would be interesting to get a mix of different techniques, so if you have a flash whether on-camera or otherwise...break it out and give it a try. This week would be a good time to read up on the various key lighting patterns and their characteristics. There will be a couple of portrait assignments over the next 52-weeks, so that additional knowledge will come in handy. I'll include a few links to some decent reading material and video tutorials.
Recommended Viewing: 5 Common Key Light Patterns
The biggest challenge, at least for me, will be getting the focus spot on. This will be a good time for a stand-in. In my case, I’ll have either Hank or Earl that will be helping me out. Hank and Earl are styrofoam heads that neatly fit on a light stand. I can place them wherever I need a stand-in, get my framing and exposure close…then kick them out of the way. The styrofoam heads were found at Michaels for around $5.00-$10.00, and painted (water-based acrylic) as close to middle grey as I could get. That way my faux stand-in can assist with white balance, as well as exposure if need be. Assignment is due no later than 11:59PM EST, January 8th. I'll post my results to my Facebook page, feel free to post your favorite or best image, too. Most important thing to take away from this week...get outside your comfort zone, perhaps learn something new, and ultimately..have fun!
Recommended Reading: The Five Basic Portrait Lighting Setups
TIP: If you're finding yourself struggling coming up with ideas for your self-portrait, create a quick ad hoc "mood board". A mood board is used to gather and organize your thoughts and ideas. Pintrest is a great place to look for and organize some inspiration or ideas.