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Self Assignment

What are Self Assignments and Why Do Them?

We all tend to get in creative ruts sometimes. We start assuming too much about what we can and can't photograph, and about the limits of our equipment, our film, and ourselves. These assignments (hopefully) take you out of your comfort zone and get you photographing things you might not normally shoot. 

The only way to really learn is to do and the more film you put through your camera the better you'll get.  Plus you get the chance to win a bunch of film.  This months winners will get 30 rolls of the Fuji Professional film of their choice courtesy of B&H Photo Video.

This Month - Create an Interesting Portrait

This month's self assignment is about creating interesting portraits.

Great portraits tell a story or evoke emotion.  They stop you in your tracks when you see them, and they tell you something about the person in front of the lens.

A portrait can convey profound sadness and despair,  immense joy, hope, sorrow, or triumph.  It can be in the eyes of an old man or in the smile of a child, or it can just make you laugh and say "why is there a cheeseburger on her head?"  It can contain a person's entire body or focus only on their eyes.  Be creative.

This months self assignment is to go out and capture an interesting portrait wherever you find it.  There's no restriction on costumes or locations and nudes or semi-nudes are allowed.  The only limit is that the image should preserve the dignity of the subject, and no image should be taken against the subject's will.

So why is she wearing a cheeseburger on her head?  This image was taken in the parking lot outside a Jimmy Buffett concert.  For those of you not familiar with Buffett's music, his fans dress up in wild Caribbean costumes, and costumes based on his songs.  One of his biggest hits is "Cheeseburger in Paradise."

Film Types
Color or Black & White, Negative or Slide

Lens Types
50mm to 200mm lenses

Each month we pick several photos from the previous months contest that we think are worthy of publication. Photos should be submitted by email in JPEG format, and should be no larger than 700x700 pixels, 24 bit color (1.4MB). Overly large images will not be reviewed. Panoramic images may exceed 700 pixels in one direction but should not exceed 1.4MB in total file size. Submission of a photo will be considered a defacto release for publication. Please include the following in your email:

  • Name
    email address
    Brand & model of camera
    Brand & focal length of lens
    Brand & speed of film used (or specify digital)
    Scanner and/or scanning method
    How/if the image was manipulated digitally
    The story behind the image
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text and photography copyright 2001 Vivid Light Publishing