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Nikon Class: Photographing Kids and Pets

This was a rather disappointing class for me. I like photographing animals, so I was really interested in this class and learning about how to get pets to cooperate. Mostly, this class was about taking pictures of kids, how to communicate with kids and how to work around kids. Even the parts relating to pets were more about how to photograph pets as they relate to kids, as in, bringing pets into a shoot for kids; how the pets and kids work together in the photograph, etc. Needless to say, there wasn’t a whole lot for me here.

If you are interested in photographing kids, this is a good class. It does assume some level of knowledge about your camera though. You should already know how to change shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. There are great tips for how to work with kids that don’t want to be there or kids that are shy. The class also goes into what to do if you’re not able to communicate with a child well enough to get the shot you want and how to get around that barrier. Overall, it’s a great beginner-intermediate level class for people who want to get into child portraiture. If you’re interested in pets, look elsewhere.

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Nikon Class: Discovering Macro Photography

Well…I’m in trouble. This was a really well put together class. The host, Joey Terrill, explains all of the basics of macro photography. From how to work with lighting , to how to create an organic looking marco shot in nature. Later he goes into how to construct a good macro picture with found objects. It was an entirely new look at photography for me and it looks really interesting. The downside? Macro photography requires its own lens. Why must it look so interesting? Anyway, I really felt like this was a good look at the basics of macro photography and it’s definitely worth a watch.

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Nikon Class: Getting Started with your Nikon DSLR

This class is only 15 minutes long and honestly it comes across as a bit more of a promotional video. It goes lightning fast through the different features of Nikon DSLRs and gives a very basic crash course in photography and videography. The class ends with promotions of additional accessories and lenses you can get for the DSLR. You really don’t learn much, this kind of seems like a video they would send you after you register your camera or something. I don’t know if they regularly charge for this video, but don’t waste your money if they do.

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Nikon Class: Exploring Dynamic Landscape Photography

This was a fantastic class! I really enjoyed seeing the various pictures based on different times of day and weather. There were also some examples of playing with white balance, shutter speed, and aperture. The host, Taylor glen, also went through some compositional instruction. I think what I liked most is that the series didn’t push real hard on additional equipment. Only 2-3 lenses, 2 filters (neutral density and a polarizer, and 2 accessories (tripod and lens brush) were shown. There were examples of different camera settings and in general, I felt like a got a good understanding of how to create stunning and creative landscape photos.

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Nikon Class Review: Creator’s Mindset: Creating Video Content with Z 50

This is a 15 minute class by Nikon. In all honesty, it really comes across as a bit of an ad. There’s something about the host, Kitty Peters, repeating the name of the camera over and over that gives it a distinct sales pitch vibe. That’s not to say it is devoid of information. There are some tips on how to use the camera and ways to get interesting shots, but they are glossed over in favor of talking about features specific to the Z 50. It’s only 15 minutes, do there’s not much else to say about it.

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Bluprint Review: Photo Styling

This is another class from Brit & Co, like most of the classes from Brit & Co I’ve covered, this has some problems. The host really seems unsure of herself. She always has this deer in headlights look throughout the class and as the class goes on, the shaking in her voice becomes more and more prominent. It can be really distracting. It’s also worth noting that this is pretty much all about making Instagram worthy posts. It’s all about taking a bunch of props, arranging them, taking pictures with your phone, editing those pictures on your phone, and posting them to Instagram. I don’t mean this to sound like an insult, but a better title for this class would have been Basic White Girl Photography 101. Which is fine, nothing against the basic white girl style (I have a few tendencies in that direction myself) it just wasn’t what I was expecting. The host Meredith Staggers, comes from a marketing background and the images she makes do come across like generic marketing pictures that can have a variety of businesses attached to them. The issue comes with her constant references to Instagram. I don’t have a problem with classes that focus on pictures for social media, it’s just this class wasn’t positioned in that light and it really should have been.

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Art Snacks Review: Basic Box April 2020

Meant to post this Monday, but forgot.

First, here is everything in the Art Snacks Box this month:

Everything went pretty smoothly with shipping. I liked that I got this much earlier in the month, unlike Scrawlr Box. I also liked the materials I got. Watercolor pencils and alcohol markers are really up my alley. I noticed everything was a primary color, which I both like and dislike. One the one hand. I like that everything is guaranteed to coordinate, on the other hand, I don’t work with just primary colors much and it was hard for me to figure out anything to draw. I tried several different things but wasn’t really pleased with any of them. Also, one thing I like about Scrawlr box over Art Snacks was the prompt they gave me. No prompt comes with Art Snacks which is harder for me as I like having prompts. I learned much later that there is a prompt for everyday of the month on their Mix forum. So, next month I’ll probably do something like that.

The quality of the materials was great. The alcohol marks are a lovely deep pigment, the watercolor pencils wash through paper nicely and create a nice even coat. Overall, the materials themselves are great. I just struggled with the colors I was given.

No art this month, I just wasn’t able to make something I liked. That being said, the quality of the art supplies was really nice and I look forward to using them in the future.

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Bluprint Class Review: Intro to DSLR Photography

This is another Brit & Co class, but it’s better than the previous ones. The technical stuff with the camera was decent, but the background was still an unpleasant pastel pink. The host seemed plenty knowledgeable. The class is kind of a crash course into DSLR photography. It wasn’t terribly in-depth, but it did lay some foundation work to understanding how a DSLR camera works. In particular, a lot of time was spent on explaining ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed.  At the end of the class, we got to see how a photoshoot works as the host likes shooting weddings and couples. Overall, it was a pretty decent class, but there are better, more in-depth classes available on Bluprint (which I will be reviewing later.)

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Scrawlr Box March 2020

Alright, it’s time for another Scrawlr Box! I didn’t get this box until the very last day of March. Here’s the March box:

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Let’s take a look at the inspiration card.

This box gave me some more interesting tools. It doesn’t seem to have a hard theme like the last two boxes, but there does seem to be a focus on markers.

The prompt this month was “Imaginarium” which was supposed to be a place, but I took the perspective of a potion. Imagination can be depleted, you have to refill the jar. And at the bottom of the jar is a sediment of all the negative things that come with creativity; self-doubt, self-criticism, etc.

Screenshot_2020-04-16 Never Fear ( 1000_attempts) • Instagram photos and videos(1)

Overall, I really liked the box this month. The Spectrum Noir markers are awesome! However, since this was the first box of the three that I really liked, and that it always takes forever to get the box, I’m going to switch to Art Snacks for a few months. I think I’ll survey all of the art subscription boxes before I settle on one.

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Bluprint Class: Floral Arrangement

Okay this is another Brit & Co class, since I’ve already reviewed one of them ahead of my typical schedule, I figured I would just post the reviews of them as I come across them.

Something I’m noticing about these classes is that they aren’t poorly hosted. In this class, the two hosts are knowledgeable, clear with their instructions, and concise in their explanations without getting bogged down in jargon or meandering off topic. The hosts are solid. The background is still a solid pastel wall, which I’m not thrilled about, but hey, a minimalist set is more about preference than quality. The editing isn’t bad. There are no lulls or poorly placed jump cuts. Oh my god though, the camera! When it’s just a wide front stationary shot, the camera is fine, it’s steady, it’s clear, and it’s centered. When the camera tries to do a close up, or a different angle, it’s really clear someone is holding it and they don’t know how to keep the camera stead. In these shots the camera moves a lot to the point it starts to cause motion sickness for me, the hosts are always off center, badly, and the camera goes in and out of focus. Quality check people! These pieces should have been re-shot! It makes it almost unwatchable in my opinion, but I tend to be sensitive to camera movement. Just the fact that it is an outsourced video is enough to not justify a subscription for this class though!