Interior designThe past few weeks I have been pretty busy. Yes, at work and such, but also with a bit of photography. Some of you know that I am somewhat active on Google+. And they have what they call Google Plus Mentorships, which is a wonderful and free way of improving on your photography skills no matter where you are at. There is the teacher, in my case Sam Breach, a wonderful and creative photographer from Oakland, CA, usually a bunch of helpers and us, the students. Yes, I was a student, because you or I am never too old to learn.

What did I learn? For the past eight weeks my photography world circled around isolation of a subject. Ways to make it stand out. Different methods to help convey better to the viewer whatever I wanted to express with my photo. Some of what got taught, technical stuff, I already knew, however for me the real benefit of this mentorship was: Go out there and shoot. With intent (and possibly a tripod).

Cameras, old and newHow often do you actually do that? Have a vision? Something you have in mind and want to show in a picture? Me, most of the time, I am too busy, too stressed from 8 – 5 work to really think (!) about what I want to shoot. I usually shoot what I enjoy. But not this time. During these eight weeks, we got assignments every Tuesday. And usually these assignments started with ‘think about what you want to shoot, make a list and then tell us this list and which of these you are going to shoot for’. We were put on the spot. And it worked. I did shoot with intent, with a somewhat clear picture in my mind and I got the shot(s) I wanted – mostly.

A toy planeThe other thing that makes these Google+ Mentorships, it was my second one, so much fun is the group atmosphere. There were 56 in our private community, but only about 30 mostly active participants. And the whole atmosphere is always positive, encouraging, supportive and maybe critique, yes, but positive critique. After all we were there to learn. It really is always positive and fun. I actually felt bad that there were times when I could not really interact with my fellow mentees as life took over, as they say. But I so much enjoyed the time that I am already hoping to get into another mentorship.

I know only some of you are into photography, but if you are, you should go onto Google+ and you should most definitely check out this page, circle it and wait for your chance to get into a mentorship. You have got nothing to loose at all and everything to win. Do it!

What's the story?During one of the exercises we were asked to isolate with color and shoot a picture not telling which color we wanted to express. In the process I took, I don’t know, maybe 20 shots of wine being poured into a glass and imported the photos into Lightroom. Now, whenever I scrolled up and down in Lightroom, I would see very real the wine being poured into the glass, by me. And I kept thinking, that looks really neat, I should look into making a GIF. And guess what? I just made my very first animated GIF. And I did it in Photoshop, which I didn’t even know it could do that. What do you think? Would you like a virtual glass of red now?

RedWine GIF

And these are my graduating shots for the mentorship. A so called cohesive ‘body of work’. I quite like it although this one actually turned out differently to what I had imagined – time was my problem in this case. With David going on his biz trip and preparing and what-not, photography took a backseat. Again.

Finally I am going to leave you with this. Which I found while I was thinking about ‘visual storytelling’ for my mentorship.

Why don’t you join us? Or you can follow me on facebookgoogle+ and twitterif you prefer and see what I come up with next. You can, of course, also subscribe by email – (click) here or you may Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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self portrait, Claudia Willison, ImagesByCW

Claudia is founder, owner and soul of ImagesByCW Photography. Born in Germany, traveled though Europe and Australia, she currently lives with her American husband in New Jersey, USA. She blogs about what she loves: Photography, art, internet and computers in general, as well as cooking and windsurfing. When not working she enjoys reading, music, windsurfing and listening to the sound of waves and the wind, preferably together with her husband.

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