Category Archives: Introductory exercises

Exercise: Evidence of action (TAoP)

For this exercise I am required to produce one photograph in which it can be seen that something has happened. As a suggestion, the handbook mentions photographing something that is broken or emptied.

In planning possible pictures I was inundated with options!! Evidence of action appeared to me almost everywhere – an empty plate, a tyre mark in the road, an empty crisp packet, freshly cut grass, a stubbed out cigarette butt and so on. I wanted to find something that was a bit more meaningful than the examples above.

Evidence of action

The initial evidence of action is that someone has passed away, the secondary evidence of action is that the grave has been damaged; albeit through nature rather than vandalism.


Exercise: A narrative picture essay (TAoP)

This project requires you to set yourself an assignment and then photograph it. Based on what you have learnt so far, tell a story of any kind, in a set of pictures numbering between 5 and 15. It could even be something as simple as the preparation of some food.

For this exercise i had several ideas in mind. First i was looking at some sort of event happening in my area that would be interesting to document. Unfortunately this was slightly spoilt by the wet weather we have had recently. I often find that i spend too long trying to make my exercises interesting and artistic while also filling the brief. SO, with that in mind i decided to keep it simple, and shoot some pudding in the making.

The brief requires that we vary the size of our final images, and write a small caption describing what each shot shows. Here is my work


Firstly, I did not want to document every single step of this event. Where do you draw the line? Do you show peeling the banana, or do you deem that self explanatory?! I decided on photographing the main steps, hoping that by looking at the pictures and reading a small caption it was easy to follow. Often with blog food photography the aim is to use as little steps as possible so the reader/viewer is not overwhelmed and the recipe appears simple and easy.

A huge draw back to this ‘event’ was that I did not have a model! Trying to demonstrate something AND photograph it is near on impossible!!

Regarding different image sizes – i think the most important and therefore largest images should be the main ingredients and the final product.

Documenting any event requires preparation. From planning sequence of events, camera equipment, camera angles, to camera settings and layout of the final images; each step needs careful planning.


Exercise: Shutter speeds (TAoP)

Objective :To demonstrate how shutter speed effects movement. Altering shutter speed also determines the levels of sharpness obtained.

For this exercise i selected ‘S’ mode on my Nikon. This is ‘Shutter priority’ mode. I have a range from 30 (1/2 a minute) to 1/200 (200th of a second) with the standard camera.  (This can be increased using high speed flash sync to 1/4000th with compatible flashguns.)

Initially I intended to use a fountain as my subject but due to wisdom teeth problems and thunderstorms i decided to use a closer, easier object instead as i wanted to stick to my deadline and not fall behind on further projects.

I will however be re doing this exercise as planned, but for now i think I’ve demonstrated the objective of this exercise.

I have chosen the following pictures that best represent the difference between shutter speeds. these were shot at 30, 6, and 1.6, to demonstrate a long shutter speed and 1/60, 1/125 and 1/200 for the fast shutter speed. The ISO remained at 400 throughout.

30 seconds


6 seconds


1.6 seconds


1/60th of a second


1/125th of a second


1/200th of a second


As anticipated, a longer shutter speeds makes the water look silky and soft, almost creamy. The short shutter speed captures the water more dramatically resulting in a much sharper image.

I have also noticed that a longer shutter speed shows the background in more focus, whereas the later shots at 1/125 and 1/200 have blurred backgrounds. The background starts to be out of focus around 1.6 of a second.

There were a few issues I faced with this exercise. In theory it was pretty straight forward but i hadn’t taken into account the flash bouncing off the ceramic bath surface, the white background behind the water (my results may have been more noticeable if there was a different colour behind the water – especially for the long shutter speed shots) and the amount of light. For the long shutter speeds I had to turn off the bathroom light and take the pictures almost in complete darkness. I would like to see how this exercise would turn out if I used an outdoor setting with a constant light source. The built in flash became necessary at 1/30 making the pictures look very different to the shots taken with a long shutter speed.

My favourite image is the 1/200th. I love how the water looks sparkly and sharp and the contrast is vivid. It feels much more ‘artistic’ than the other shots.

Exercise: Focus at different apertures (TAoP)

Objective: To demonstrate how aperture affects the depth of field. 

For this exercise I have to focus on one spot within the frame, but change the aperture settings. I focused on the middle area of the image (mainly the fret board). My aperture range is between f5.6 to f22. I stayed with the same subject as before (my guitar) but included a bit more detail to each frame as a way of measuring how much comes into focus and at what aperture.The idea of the exercise is to demonstrate that a wide aperture of f5.6 will have a shallow depth of field, whilst an aperture of f22 should have depth ranging from front to back in the image.

I shot 4 images at f5.6, f7, f13 and f22. These settings were the best in order to highlight my results.


This image taken at f5.6 has a very blurred overall feel, with only the middle of the fret board in focus.


At f7 the guitar body is much more focused and you can start to distinguish more detail in the background i.e. a cable running up behind the left curtain and a small black spot under the window frame.


At f13 there is a significant difference. The folds in the curtains and the cable are becoming much sharper, and the black spot is more noticable. The guitar is in full focus.


The final image at f22 is in full focus. The curtain folds are sharp and detailed. I feel that the reflection in the window on all images is distracting and blurry. However, i was reluctant to crop this out as i wanted to include the folds in the curtains. This was a result of not using a tripod for the last pictures in particular as the shutter speed was significantly decreased. I would like to re do these shots when my new tripod arrives 🙂

Exercise: Focus with a set aperture (TAoP)

Objective: To show how changing the focus point with an aperture set at its widest affects the picture and make a choice as to which is the preferred image.

For this exercise I have chosen f5.6 as my fixed aperture as I feel it worked very well.

My subject is a guitar fret board shot from a slightly raised angle. I tried this exercise with a row of books but felt that the different font styles, colours and font sizes added some confusion to the final picture and were slightly distracting. I chose to use black and white photos for my final selection as I feel it helps to demonstrate the objective.

The first picture is focused on the nearest few frets.

Cropped near focus

Photo 2 is focusing on the centre frets

Cropped mid focus

The final photo is focused on the last frets

Cropped far focus

As I expected, anything that is not the at the centre of focus is blurred. The photos are fairly basic – there is nothing in particular that could distract the eye (perhaps the strap to the left of each image) – no background objects or colours, and the positioning of the camera almost turns the fret board into a runway. Your eye is led directly to the centre of focus.

As for choosing my favourite image, I think it has to be the far focus picture. The area in focus is directly in the middle of the whole image whereas the near focus falls right at the bottom of the image rendering the rest of the picture quite useless as it is just a lot of blur. You can almost make out the tuning heads on the far focus as well – making the subject more apparent.

I would like to experiment a bit more with this exercise and have different objects in the background to measure just how blurry they become at different focal ranges and use colour too, but for now, I think the images portray the objective.