Results From Assignment #3: "Look Smart"

(Click on any photo to get to its Flickr page.)

OK, it is time to get back to Boot Camp. Assignment number three was the toughest one so far. And you folks rose to the occasion.

My goal in this series is not only to get you more comfortable with your Light Lite kits (oops) use of lighting, but to give you some experience in working within a set of constraints.

On this assignment, you were looking for good light. But it also had to be appropriate light to the subject.

The subject was not (yet) a known face, but they still needed a bit of the "Rock Star" treatment.

And you were to try to capture the spark of their intelligence, too. Which I suspect several of you now know is easier said than done.

Given the challenge, the work on this assignment was far more ambitious than what was produced for the other two.

Leading off (up top) was a photo that was not only simple, effective and elegant, but was also one of the first photos turned in on the assignment. There were several photos on this theme that were well done. But I thought this one was particularly nice.

The photo is graphic, really "pops," and she has that "I-know-something-you-don't-know" look.

And, speaking of ambitious, you'll want to click through and check out the "how-to" on this one.

If memory serves, this shooter works for a university. So this assignment was right up his alley.

Still, a very nice effort, using a variety of media and contraptions to get to the desired result.

Working with a similar thought, this photographer took the same idea and developed it in a different way.

There is also a photo that shows the lighting setup, if you click through.

This is a simple photo that could have been done anywhere you could scrounge a blank wall. Being able to make a cool picture in almost any environment is the key benefit of knoning how to use off-camera strobe.

This effort really pops, too.

Simple - and very graphic. Massage the composition a little, and it could also have worked as a cover.

The photo connotes the feel of the assignment very well, while in fact, showing very little.

Being able to do this is a very valuable skill. You never know what you will - or will not - have available to you on an assignment's location.

I very much like the effectiveness and efficiency of this entry from Sweden.

The panels work as a background, another layer (reflection of the model) and as fill lights (they are also light reflectors.)

Nicely done.

If you can find some space on one of those things without the numbers, so much the better.

In another variation of the light-bulb-as-idea theme, this photographer demonstrated excellent light control and strobe/ambient balancing to get his desired effect.

A snooted light on the background could have have given the photo additional depth, with sacrificing strong graphics.

And, speaking of light control, kudos to this Swedish entry.

I love the choice of subject. There's something about her that really makes me think she could have pulled off an earth-changing invention.

Great expression, too. That's important.

I thought this person had an interesting choice of location for the photo. Very striking.

I am not sure about the purple water, tho. Get a room of scientists, combine them with some beer and get them talking about the use of dyed water in their feature photos.

You will quickly learn how people from their profession view people from ours!

(Hey, we are only trying to make them look interesting...)

I liked this photo for it's "don't-give-away-the-invention-until-they-read-the-story" aspect.

Gimmicky? Sure.

Does it work to draw the readers in?

Every time.

You can't use it every time, though. But it is nice to have in your pocket for when it is needed.

And now, before we get to two entries I thought were outstanding, it's time for the awards.

The "More Of A Strobist Than That Guy From Pop Photo" award goes to this guy, who included a VIDEO on how it was made.

You rock, Education Man.

The "Idea LIkely To Be Stolen By Strobist" (with credit, of course) award goes to this bright idea.

And remember, it is only bringing up the rest of the photo with flash that lets you effectively use the sun as in this way. Nice light control.

The photographer nailed the tones on this one, But remember to work the subject for an engaging expression.

The "Pardon Me While I turn Your Office Into My Own Private Studio" award goes to this effort.

You really need to read the Flickr caption to imagine this one in action.

The "Most Creative Use of an Air Filter" award goes to this photo.

Not in a million years would I have thought of using as air filter as a solar panel stand in. But, oddly, it works.

(From all of us, thanks for using a clean one.)

The "Where Can I Find A Really, Really, Really Smart-Looking Subject" award goes to this person, whose subject is, in fact, the photographer.

(I imagine a sort of basement lair, with computers and light stands and cables and the like...)

And the "I am Gonna Make Sure They Play My Photo REALLY Big" award goes to this person, for saving the designer the trouble of deciding how to use it.


Finally, two photos which were elegant in their simplicity, effectiveness and look.

But first, a caveat. This is one person's opinion. We all have our biases. I am a "Keep It Simple, Stupid" kind of guy. IMO, less is frequently more.
I love this photo for the light control, graphic quality and simplicity of concept.

If you look at the Flickr page, you'll see that he could have offered the designer several choices within the shoot, too. That's a good thing.

And also this photo, which showcased the concept simply, and without being in-your-face about it.

But more than that because of the simple, earnest look of the subject. She appears at once humbled by her own discovery, yet look absolutely capable of having pulled it off.

Very nice work, all. Remember, these examples are not a "cut" but merely a selection of photos that, for various reasons, merited discussion points.

Clearly, there were other photos that illustrated similar concepts which, had they been chosen, would have been redundant to the discussion.

You all have much to be proud of from this assignment, and I hope you will continue the discussion here.

Next on Boot Camp: A cool, refreshing break.


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