Photography is a hobby of mine. It’s also a necessity in my life as a blogger. And I love capturing moments with my family and friends.
I am nowhere near a professional photographer – in fact I still consider myself quite amateur. But that hasn’t stopped me from learning how to use my camera and hopefully capture a beautiful photograph or two.
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I would love to share some easy tips to help you become a better photographer.
Find a local camera store with helpful staff.
Here in Kingston my husband and I frequent Camera Kingston for our camera needs. They are an independent camera store and they have a fabulous staff who are happy to take time and answer your questions.
I’m not saying chain stores like Henry’s don’t have great service or knowledgeable staff. I’m sure a lot of them do. But in my experience independent stores go the extra mile to really help you out. And when you’re new to the camera/photography game, finding people who will really spend time and answer your questions can be such a great help.
Read some Books
I don’t know about you, but I like learning from books. If you’re new to photography try something like Photography for Dummies or The Beginner’s Photography Guide. They will have the basics laid out for you, though everything is always dependent on the type of camera you have.
A great “book” to read is your camera’s manual. I know that sounds extremely dull and boring, but honestly, learning how to use your camera properly makes learning about the settings so much easier!
Once you’ve mastered the basics of manipulating the camera, it’s time to read up on composition, lighting, exposure and even editing. There are tons of books out there. Check out this list on Amazon and see if something inspires you!
Take a Course
The best way to figure out photography is to get hands on experience. Taking a course with a local photographer is usually an amazing experience for a budding photographer.
I took a course from Mark Aiden Bergen here in Kingston and I enjoyed every minute of it. He taught us about how all the camera settings work together to capture your vision, how to capture a well composed photo, and we got to practice with his Street Ballerinas. (Check out his work on FB – he photographs ballerinas in “street” settings and the results are often stunning!)
Another photographer I know in real life has a website with some videos you can watch for free. He also writes a photography blog, though it hasn’t been updated in a while. Visit him here: Expose Yourself!
Don’t underestimate your phone.
Smart phones can take phenomenal pictures these days. Almost all my Instagram pics are taken on my phone. This is simply because it’s quicker than downloading the photos from the card in my SLR and then emailing them to myself or uploading them to the “cloud” so I can access them from my phone.
(This is my number one peeve about Instagram – I would LOVE to upload photos quickly from my computer, but that option is just not there!)
When you’re out and about, snap some pics with your phone. It’s a great way to practice composition without worrying about all the lighting and ISO/exposure/shutter speed stuff. Save those thought processes for when you’re ready to get out and practice with your SLR!
Just take pictures!
The number one way to improve your photography is to just get out and take pictures! I try to take my camera everywhere with me and I’ll just get in people’s faces and snap photos. Or I’ll shoot landscapes and close ups of flowers or bugs. Of course my favourite subjects are my daughters!
Even if you’re still not sure what you’re doing with all the setting options on your camera, you should still get out and just try things. The beauty of digital photography is that you can take untold amounts of photos without worry about printing them or using up all your film!
Personal wisdom (Learned through experience!):
Something that I forget sometimes is to check the settings before I start taking photos. I’ll grab the camera, run outside because I saw something cool, and end up with crap because the last time I used it was in a dark room. My ISO will be cranked up and the outdoor photos are horribly overexposed. Even the best photoshopping can’t fix that. So take a peek at your settings before you start firing those first shots.
Learn your camera. I can’t stress this enough. Knowing which dials control which settings is a huge time saver. I’ve had a few Nikons over the year and while they do all work similarly, they are all very different. As I said earlier – take time to read your manual!
Be unobtrusive. Sometimes you can get great candid shots of family and friends if you’re quiet about it. Tender moments, dance moves, and pensive faces are all best caught when your subject doesn’t realize you’re shooting.
Related: Gift Guide for Photographers
Nikon D500 body – I also have a D90 body, but I’m working on learning the 500 right now.
50mm lens – use this lens for portrait type photography. It also helps you practice moving around to get the best photo. When there is no zoom option you literally have to move your body to find the best location/angle/depth for your images.
18-140mm lens – I used this as my everyday lens. It allows me some zoom options, and it’s great for lots of photo scenarios.
If you’re interested in seeing more of my photography, visit my photo albums page, visit my Instagram or follow me on FB. I love sharing images I’ve captured! Family and friends, travel photos, and even exciting landscapes and scenery are all part of my portfolio.
How’s your photography? Do you have anything to add? I love hearing from others what works for them. Share what gear you’re using as well, and why you like it! The comments are waiting…