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Taylor Publishing Florida Yearbook Seminar

It’s that time again folks! The advisers and students have all gathered in St. Pete, Florida at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg for the Florida Yearbook Seminar put on by Taylor Publishing. Students and advisers willingly gather each year on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico to to hone their design, layout and photography skills in an effort to create another memorable yearbook for their school. It is at this seminar where themes are defined, color palettes are developed and the all important covers for the books are created. These four long days will get many books well underway for the 2011 school year.

It is my privilege to be one of the instructors at the seminar. My specialty is photography and PhotoShop and the kids seem to love these course offerings. While the courses are pretty basic, I often wonder how many aspiring photographers leave with even more love for the art of photography.

Tonight’s first session with the lab group was spent on introductions and getting familiar with the camera. Many students shoot either in full automatic or one of the preset modes and make the camera do all the work. I always emphasize that a good photographer creates images with their camera by shooting in full manual or a priority mode. This technique allows the user to be the creative force and make the decisions on shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings that will produce a well exposed image on the squeeze of the shutter button.

After showing and explaining how to set the camera to run in manual or priority mode, the students went out to shoot and had a good time exploring how each setting would affect the resulting image. Lots of good images and some rather strangely exposed shots made for some good learning. Keep practicing and shooting, your skills will improve in no time! I’ll pop some samples on to the post a bit later.

After having a short comment and critique session on their efforts, it was time for the daily assignment. One comment on last year’s lab sessions was that we did not shoot enough. I have coem up with several shooting assignments that will allow the aspiring photgraphers more shooting time. Their first assignment is to document their yearbook staffs in the planning sessions that go on into the wee hours of the morning. I encouraged 3 things in these photos. Look for creative angles, fill the frame and shoot a variety of photos that can be used to create a two page spread for their book. Let’s see what they come up with for tomorrow!

It is important to read about current trends, evaluate other photographers’ work and keep up with advances in gear. Here are some links to get started –

Until tomorrow – keep shooting!