View from Behind the Lens: Advanced Photography for Teens, a Guest Post by Lynette Pitrak
In the fall and winter of 2014, I had an amazing experience coordinating a filmmaking workshop for high school students called View from the Director’s Chair. To highlight a different aspect of our library’s Media Lab this year, our IT Department Manager and I created a similarly-structured workshop called View from Behind the Lens.
View from Behind the Lens began October 21st, and will continue through December 16th. We were lucky enough to hire Downers Grove-based photographer Mike Taylor, a professional photographer and college professor, as our instructor for this program series. Along with Mike, our library’s IT Assistant Jason, myself, and eight teenagers in middle school and high school meet weekly to learn advanced photography skills!!
We are now several weeks into this workshop, and have learned a lot about digital photography techniques!! The students in class are working with a combination of Canon and Nikon cameras (and everyone is VERY loyal to their chosen brand! :)). We have gone over the basic settings of the cameras, including f-stop, aperture, and white balance. Mike has also discussed various kinds of photography with the students, such as stop-action, motion-blur, infrared, and night photography, and how to use the lenses and settings to achieve the desired effects. To put this instruction to work, the students have gone on in-class walking tours through Downers Grove. We have done daytime landscape shoots, portraiture, an architectural shoot, and a fun night shoot in the cemetery to celebrate Halloween!
In one week, we will be taking a field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Photography to take a docent-lead tour of a special photography exhibit. Because the museum is staffed by volunteers from Columbia College’s photography program, the View from Behind the Lens students will have the opportunity to talk about what it is like to major in photography.
In the last weeks of class, students will learn how to edit their photographs with Lightroom and Photoshop. Then, they will have a month to shoot on their own, to prepare final photographs for a gallery show and Meet the Artists event on February 28, 2016!!!
Lynette Pitrak is the Teen Services Coordinator at the Downers Grove Public Library in Downers Grove, Illinois.
About Heather Booth
Heather Booth has worked in libraries since 2001 and am the author of Serving Teens Through Reader’s Advisory (ALA Editions, 2007) and the editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Servcies along with Karen Jensen.
SLJ Blog Network