Same Subject - 12 Months

Discussion in 'Photo Challenges' started by Ricky Smithson, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. I don't know if anyone else has debated or tried a 365 or even a 52 project, but from previous experience I know that these can quickly become very demanding projects due to the amount of time and creativity they demand. I managed to do a good few months of a 365 last year but found that I was running out of ideas for what to shoot, and when I did I was beginning to lose interest in the shots themselves. So I decided to kill the project off as to not damage my enjoyment of photography as a whole.

    Another problem I found was that because I was consistently shooting new subjects there was no real way to monitor the progression I was making through developing new skills. This year though I have decided to try something different and work on a monthly project shooting the same subject; myself.

    Over the course of the year I intend to take a self portrait each month using the skills I hope to develop, and at the end of the year I can use the shots as a record of my progress. I was debating a whole host of subjects to shoot but opted for self portraiture as I am the only subject I can 100% guarantee I will have with me every time I shoot.

    I thought I would post the idea as a challenge for the users of pixelated to try for themselves too. Obviously you don't need to do self portraits, just shoot the same subject each month. By going for the monthly intervals it gives us all plenty of time to get shots and play about with new ideas. I shall be posting my results in this tread each month so feel free to join in, or if you wish just give it a go as a personal project.

    So pick up that camera, start shooting and have a great and creative 2012.
    Chris likes this.
  2. Great idea! I might have to give this a try.. I did my 365 project before it was a lot... too much almost. I was thinking of maybe doing a once a week 52 deal, but now that you mention it 12 shots for the year is probably more my speed! lol.. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

  3. Sounds like a great plan! I have a shot I have wanted to do for a while now that I could use as a kick start for that sort of thing. I'll see if I can imagine some more and join you.
  4. That's a brilliant idea.

    Now to come up with a subject, I automatically thought of doing a simple landscape scene and capturing it each month would show how the land changes through the seasons. Only problem with that is I'm not sure how this would improve my photography, it would be interesting but not sure how useful.

    I'll have another think.
  5. Yeah I have wanted to do something like that before. I have seen some nice ones done with the four seasons so I may try that this year along with my other projects and assignments on here. I'm trying to keep myself constantly busy with photography this year :)
  6. Right. I've been mulling over how to do this. My most logical subject is my son. At 2 years old he still has to do what I tell him! I take a zillion photos of him though already so to make this challenge more real I am setting myself the task of taking a specific, properly set up and thought through shot of him every month. Thought through means location, lighting etc.

    This shots below are my first attempt. I've been wanting to do some outdoor portraits using flash against the sun the a while so yesterday that's what we did. One good thing about this time of year is that you can get a sunset type effect even in the middle of the day!

    In the park 2 by Ade968, on Flickr

    In the park 1 by Ade968, on Flickr

    I already have an idea for February!

    Comments are welcome but I'm going to post these elsewhere on the forum as well.
  7. Oooh nice idea, I love the thought that's gone into the challenge and I wish you the best of luck.
    It's not often I read these posts and feel I can offer words of wisdom but...
    "At 2 years old he still has to do what I tell him!" Does he know this?
    So in your camera bag along side your flash don't forget toys, blowing bubbles and sugary bribes, a tonne of patience and a length of bungee cord to keep him in place for when you've got the lighting just right and he spots a bee!
  8. Is it cheating to bank some while you have the opportunity? Maybe I could be a magazine publisher and call these February even though we aren't there yet?

    Reading Chair 1 by Ade968, on Flickr

    Reading Chair 3 by Ade968, on Flickr

    He's gonna get so board by March :)
    Andy and Ricky Smithson like this.
  9. @Ade968 some great shots there my friend. I especially love the 'Reading Chair' just captures an innocence that you can't really force into a shot it has to come naturally. Lighting works perfectly for it too, keep up the good work.

    Ok I cut it a little fine this month :S but I managed to have a play about with some shots yesterday and I looked utterly ridiculous whilst doing so (face covered in chocolate) but it was a fun experience and highlighted a lot of things I need to work on.
    There were quite a few I took but this is the one I am using for the 12 months challenge, also put it in as an entry for a self-portrait competition pointed out by @Evilmunky.

    Mudded Up by Rickyroy87, on Flickr
    Andy, Gooner, Davis and 3 others like this.
  10. That's chocolate???

    Great shot! The light is at just the right angle to catch your eye nicely. How did you light it? It looks like one flash below camera right. Seems like a very narrow beam though.
  11. Yeah I was thinking about heading out to buy an actual mud mask or something, but saw that another tog had done a similar thing with chocolate, so I figure I have a big dairy milk bar downstairs that'll do.

    Thanks matey, and you are right about it being a single flash off camera bottom right :) I made it using a DIY strip box I made a while ago. I'll do a post on how to make one, but basically it is a box with kitchen foil all inside, one side cut out and covered in bubble wrap to act as a diffuser, and then a hole in the bottom for the flash to go in.

    You can see the strip reflection in my eyes much clearer on this one and a few of the other I got.
    Blue Eyes by Rickyroy87, on Flickr
    Davis and Randomsnapper like this.
  12. OK. I first saw this post on my phone. Now I just opened it on my iMac and it scared the cr*p out of me :)

    I see what you mean about the strip light though. Looks cool!
  13. Right, it's February so another photo is due. I have struggled this month to set up a formal shot but did get this informal one. In my defence, it does fit the remit of my challenge as it is a properly set up shot with three lights.

    Drinking straw by Ade968, on Flickr

    Two of the three lights are bounce flashes, positioned in the room to bounce back to nicely light his face, rather than anything else. The third light is off camera right and gives just a little shine to his hair. It's more pronounced in the colour versions but I deliberately wanted a high key look in black and white.
    Andy Grundy, Ricky Smithson and Adam like this.
  14. I didn't want to let March get ahead of me so I took the kids out yesterday. I went for the single light option balancing the ambient again as in the January shots. Exif says this one is 1/200 second at f/2, ISO 100. The flash was on manual at 1/4 power, gelled slightly orange to match the ambient...

    The photographer's apprentice by Ade968, on Flickr
    Batty79 and Adam like this.
  15. I can see payback coming soon - your gonna be getting a camera in your face all the time :p
  16. I think the little fella is way ahead of me. He didn't stand still for long and wanted to use my camera as much as his own. So I stuck mine on a tree stump and he took this!

    And no, I'm not posing, just trying to get down to the level of a camera on a very low tree stump :p

    Taken by a two year old by Ade968, on Flickr
  17. Adam likes this.
  18. OK, so I missed May - technically. However, I did bag 5 shots by April so adding a 6th in June just evens it out. I have been wanting to try the "Venture" look for a while ever since I found out how much they charge :)

    Note for non-UKers: Venture Photography is a chain of high street studios that lure you in with almost free shoots and then charge the earth for mounted prints. Currently their cheapest print is a 6x9 mounted and framed at about £300.

    The results are not quite what I really hoped for but I am quietly pleased. I prefer the one just of my daughter but this 12 month project started out being of my son so I have included one of them both. I was shooting at f4 but, as you can see, it wasn't quite deep enough to get them both in focus.

    Little one by Ade968, on Flickr

    'Orrible monsters by Ade968, on Flickr

    Technical improvement on these can come from getting them both in focus of course :) However, to do that I need to shoot at about f8 which means I would get about 2 stops less flash through even if I lengthened the shutter speed. My lovely little Nikon strobes would struggle to cope with another two stops though. Of course I could increase the ISO from 100 to 200 or 400 but my ageing (but execllent) Nikon D80 shows quality losses even at 400 ISO. Does this sound like an argument for big new lights or a new SLR yet? :)

    More next month
    Davis and Andy Grundy like this.
  19. Great job! I love the look.. I have wanted to set something up similar but wasn't sure I could pull it off with just the two strobes I have. I assume you have one light on the background and another in front? Looks to be front and center by the catch lights?

    Just a thought but maybe you could use both lights in front to get your f/8... depending on the distance of the background some would spill over. Just thinking out loud since I have yet to set anything up myself. Mostly because I don't have a subject willing to sit still for me. But you seem to have your two trained pretty well! ;) I might have to see what I can get mine to do!

    Again, very nicely done!

  20. Thanks!

    You're right about the strobes. One is in a softbox above camera. The other is behind her. She is sat on a bed so it is just lying on the bed pointing up a little.

    Unfortunately you are also right it is difficult with just two lights that small. The shots out of camera didn't manage to blow out all the background so some of the whiteness is from post adjustments.

    As for set up it's very simple. A white sheet hanging over a white duvet on a bed. Baby about 3 feet in front of the sheet to guard against the background light reflecting back onto her. We were on vacation last week so it was a very small bed in a very small room. Almost not enough room to take the shot.

    I felt quite good about the results. Not quite the key lighting I wanted as it is a bit flat even though I was feathering the softbox. It is proof you can build a makeshift studio anywhere though :)

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