Random Ramblings

Learn With Me: Photography, Week 1

top 5 photography tips for beginnersIt’s here! Week one of my new hobby and attempts to take better photographs. I will be hosting a guest blogger here each week, who knows a thing or two about photography, and asking them to share tips with us so that I can improve my rather shabby and non-existent skills. We really are taking this one from the start, people! You can read more about it here, and I do ask that you come along with me for this journey, and blog your development and learns, too, if you’re so inclined. There will be a linky open every Wednesday until the following Tuesday night, inviting you to come share. Please do. It’ll spur me on!

So, on we go, it’s our first lesson, from Em at Snowing Indoors….

An Introduction to Photography 101

You don’t need an all singing and dancing professional camera to take fantastic photographs, let’s face it, the best camera is the one you have with you. The graph below shows that the most popular cameras currently on Flickr (an online photo sharing site) are iPhones, outnumbering professional digital SLRs significantly.

most popular cameras

You could have the world’s swankiest camera, but if it’s at home when you see something you really want to capture then it’s next to useless. This photography series is going to describe how to improve your photography whether you use a full frame, digital SLR, a point and shoot or the camera on your phone.

My top 5 tips to get you started on your journey to photographic awesomeness are as follows…

1) Read the manual. You don’t have to take notes and memorise it, just have a flick through and see what cool tricks your particular camera can do. If an aspect or function catches your eye, try it out, experiment and have some fun.

2) Experiment with semi-manual. If you have an SLR or point and shoot camera see if you can switch to aperture priority, where you select the aperture (which affects the depth of field and how blurry your background will be) and then the camera ensures that the other settings are correct. This is a great first step towards going fully manual.

Even if you’re just using your camera phone find out what it can do, can you play with the exposure or shutter speed?

3) Find photographers who inspire you. These don’t have to be great artists like Diane Arbus or Ansel Adams, find a blogger who’s photographs you like, then work out what draws your eye to them. Is it the way they use light in their photos, the colours or subjects? Use their photos as inspiration, maybe try recreating a photograph of theirs that you love.

I always loved the documentary style photos taken by Tara Whitney and Louise Buma and so tried to emulate what they did. Doing this changed the way I viewed the world, no more fewer awkward posed photos of the kids, instead I got down on their level and took photos of the things they were doing, which ultimately were the things I wanted to remember.

4) Start a Project. Whether it’s taking a self portrait once a week for a year, trying to photograph every mail box you pass on your way to walk or taking a photo once an hour over the course of a day. Starting a project is great for focussing your enthusiasm and can help you notice little details that may have escaped your eye before.

For the last 4 years I’ve taken a photo a day of each of my kiddos. I can see exactly what they were wearing or doing any day in their lives, I can see how toys fell in and out of favour and tell you the exact date of first haircuts, steps and teeth.

5) Practice and have fun. If you’re not having fun then it’ll be harder to learn.

So that’s it, go out, join Instagram or Flickr, find new friends, photographers who inspire you, search for lines, shapes, shadows and patterns, experiment and have fun with photography. I can’t wait to see what you choose to photograph.

Em is a stay at home Mum who blogs about life with her 2 kiddos at snowingindoors.com. She has a passion for photography, reading, learning through play and eating crisps!
Em spends her days walking to and from school, building Duplo towers, pushing swings, reading stories (& doing all the voices), dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba and enjoying pretend tea parties. 

snowing indoors

Thank you so much, Em! A fabulous starter for us all, and I was interested and relieved to see the iPhone being used so much, as I take most of mine like that.

I’ve taken it on board, as you’ll see in my next post. How did you get on? Leave me a comment or blog & link it 🙂

Next week’s lesson is on ‘perspective’, so do come back for that…

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