The most useful thing I have learned thus far must be the different cameras we have used. They each have their own significant and different look. I never really thought that the decision to use one camera over the other could make or break a film. Obviously, there's a difference between a RED camera and a 35mm, but I never really thought the smaller cameras mattered, too.
My strength I have discovered would have to be my meticulousness that I'm discovering I have when it comes to my vision. This can hinder or help, but it helps more than hinders. I know what I want, and I'm not afraid to get it. For example, I have a shot in my portrait of a place that required me and my DP to go into a decrepit building. We stuck it out and got the shot, which actually turned out fairly nice. I also went and took pictures to know what shots I wanted (which is what is below).
My favorite picture I captured at my place
What is challenging me is what has always challenged me and that's lighting. Lighting is a hard thing to capture. You have to know how something would look naturally and go for that or create a whole different atmosphere. I can never see lighting in my head like I can see a shot. Another thing that has challenged me is articulating what I want the shots to look like to my DP. I don't know how to explain someone something that is in my head other than taking pictures or just letting them experience the area themselves. It's hard to translate what you want when you're meticulously trying to make it look a certain way with a certain theme.
I'm excited to learn more and open to even more challenges. I always will be when it comes to film.