Lauren Sargent

How to Train Your Camera

I’d like to think I have a natural eye for what looks good visually. Take one look at my Instagram feed and it appears to be otherwise. Luckily for me, this week we got a whole guide of tips on how to take better and more visually engaging photos. A lot of these tips were ones that I thought would be common sense but when I thought about it, I don’t usually follow their recommendations. I’m a point and shoot, in the moment type of photographer so the tip to be picky was helpful. If I’m pickier with the moments I capture and the pictures I choose to publicize then I can hopefully slow down and get quality over quantity and speed. I also liked the tips to get balanced in the layout of your photo with the Rule of Thirds and use contrast to your advantage. I will do my best in the future to be a more strict photog with more discretion! No more ugly blurred photos that I claim are artistic but are really just me going too fast.

The Abandoned America blog was really cool to see. Sometimes I like to watch these videos that are trendy on YouTube where people explore abandoned spaces from empty malls to spooky desolate hospitals. A lot of the photos reminded me of these because they explored the same concepts and areas but I was fascinated by the churches. Religious iconography is something beautiful and of interest to me and seeing it juxtaposed with wreckage makes it seem holy and terrifying at the same time. It was really that juxtaposition of subject matter, as well as lighting that made his abandoned images pop. The fact that there were whole pieces of life in tact, like the piano in the image below, alongside decaying architecture made it seem like the places were frozen in time. While windows and molding chip and break, the beautiful floor stayed in a still remarkable state. His images often focus on what’s left just as much as what’s gone and it leaves me wondering if the people who left furniture and last sat in these chairs knew it would be for the last time.

You can imagine someone sitting right there and playing a hymn.

Once I had learned how to pose photos like a pro and seen some of the best apocalyptic vibing photos ever, I set out to do a Photoblitz. I was really excited to complete this activity and even though it was raining, I immediately started running around inside and outside to snap my photos. The first prompt I got to do was making a picture of a tree, any kind of tree. I didn’t want to take a picture of any normal old tree so I thought to take one of the fake succulents in my apartment and ‘plant’ it outside to make an illusion of it as a larger tree.

The next photo I snapped was easy because it said to take a picture of a body of water and I had the perfect subject in huge puddles left from the day of rain. I tried to take the photo tip of getting different perspectives so I snapped 3 different angles and finally decided on the one below. After playing with the editing, I realized it sort of looked like there was a huge mountain beneath the water so I tried to emphasize it. I’m not totally happy with the quality of the photo but it got the job done. Better lighting or more knowledge with photo editing might have helped me.

And so ended my extreme photography bootcamp. I’m still looking into how to create the visual content aesthetic that I like but for now, this was a good start.

1 thought on “How to Train Your Camera”

  • I also rush and take a million photos usually. So I too learned to slow down and try to elevate my quality. I also chose to look at an Abandoned America church site. I think that we as a society like the idea of the sanctity of the church (whatever denomination). The church should be eternal and flawless, so seeing it destroyed or abandoned strikes a weird funny chord in us. I also love your Photo Blitz images!

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