We sure learned Photography!

By Robert Frankó
Question: -Why in the world would you apply for a one week photo course during the autumn holiday? One week? Are you out of your mind? Waking up to get to school at 9:00 holiday time to learn only for a week about something others have been studying for decades and they still suck?

Answer: -Because you are curious, bored and the plane ticket is more expensive than you can afford. In summary, these are the thoughts I had in mind when I applied. I happen to have a DSLR camera but use it as a dummy, switching to the auto settings hoping the picture will not be a complete disaster.

Ville Salminen -former student of TAMK and professional photographer- has been asked to teach us, true dummies from sketches beginning with: How to turn on the camera. His patience seemed endless, as some of us have truly had difficulties even with such a simple method.

Monday mostly passed by putting down the basics of knowledge, the dry theory part, which was sometimes strange as a whole day was gone almost without taking a single picture. ISO, white balance, exposure, shutter speed, manual settings, single shot, focus settings, quality, RAW, jpeg, lens types... things and definitions many of us have never even heard of.

Stuffing so many information into one single day seemed so impossible, but somehow Ville managed and by the end of the day everything started to just simply make sense. Around 3pm we marched to the street and started shooting. People, faces, shoes, bricks on the wall, leaves, cigarette decks... Nothing remain unrevealed on Finlaysoninkatu. We rocked, still, we had just a fracture of idea what we are actually doing.

Tuesday was all about lights. Flash, natural light, artificial lights, reflectors, direction, strength, color, hardness, and the trinity of lights: key, fill and backlight. And about our main enemies: hard shadows. Believe it or not, by the end of the day we have been building our own studio setting creating a today's fashion light setting and we have actually been shooting studio pictures. What more: we didn't suck!!! Unbelievable... We have shot quality pictures, and some of us truly looked even better on the pictures then in real life. Amazing achievement!

Wednesday we dug even deeper, learning special techniques. First topic was light painting and I must admit, this has been such an eye candy I can't really get rid of the addiction. Was hard to believe that with a simple "entry-level" camera like my Canon 1100D I could shoot breathtaking pictures. At least they took mine away...

From the first amaze we popped into the next one: super-macro. Many of us made already macro pictures provided by the owned lenses, but never tried to step to a next level, when you try to shoot your own DNA sequence without purchasing professional equipments that cost over 10.000 Euros. Do not do it at home without parental advisory, but turning two lenses against each other and getting close enough to another person's eyeball -with his/her permission- can lead to awesome experiences.

Last but not least we had an introduction to HDR photography and panorama. Ville was amazing: in such a short time he covered so many possible technical details and things you have to be aware of.

Thursday was all about Photoshop. 72% longer eyelashes, 92% sexier look by simply modifying the size of the eyes and the iris, removing unwanted chicken pots and fixing screwed up make- ups. Simply changing the light-balance and colors to achieving artistic sets of shots without becoming a ridiculous one-in-a- billion Instagram user. We also got our assignments: Ville has shown us four individual songs on youtube, and we had to shoot three pictures inspired by the three chosen ones. Bloody hell! I just had a quick introduction to photography, and I am supposed to shoot pictures by my own? Deep water after three days... Why not? As a hungry horde we have spread all over Tampere, so that on Friday we could manipulate and introduce them to Ville and to each other. And what more? Even having them printed on expensive paper downstairs in the basement. I can only hope for Ville's sake that Cai did not hear of it from me for the first time...

So, if you are interested in how we managed and what we have achieved, please do not hesitate visiting our little exhibition at Finlayson campus Pesurumpu, better known as the entry hallway of the campus.

PS: Check out the songs that inspired us shooting the pictures! Eyes closed, see what impressions they give You!
John Myrphy - Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor)
Jack Trammell - Crushing Blow
The Servant - Cells (Instrumental)
Desireless - Voyage Voyage

The author is student of TAMK UAS Degree Programme in Media
Read more stories by and about the IMPs, the International Media Programme students