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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23 thoughts on “Learn With Me: Photography, Week 1”

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  2. Thank you so much for tweeting me about this. I had just started my own learning photography process so it will be nice to link up and motivate each other. I look forward to learning from your guest bloggers as well and trying new things out together. i love taking pictures. So I am very excited about this.

  3. Thanks em. Which one is aperture priority as I like those blurry depth-of-field type shots but I’ve usually caught them by mistake ! Is the AV or TV button as I’ve never really understood what they do. I always sit down with the manual too with a new camera but still never really grasped that. However, now you’ve explained I’ll dig it out again and see if it’s one of those as they may use the description you did and I didn’t understand when I first got the camera.
    I often go back to the manual to try out something new so that’s a good tip-keep it handy !!

  4. I like the tip about semi-manual and will look into that, I always thought it was all or nothing with my Nikon and need a step-by-step tutorial to get a decent shot set up properly!

    Blipfoto.com is another great community for a photo project 🙂

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  6. I’m in, I’m in… photography is my big thing for 2014 as well and as luck would have it I have an iPhone 5S, so I’m all set up to be popular on Flickr, oh hang, maybe that’s not quite how it works! Thanks so much for linking up to #AllAboutYou, we have asked for no links to linkys, but this is SO #AllAboutYou it can be a rule breaker 😉 x

  7. Oh dear, I have heard a few times that the first thing you should read is the manual for your camera… but it is so dull I have never actually managed to go past page 5 or 6. I am really “visual” and need pretty pictures to make something like that more digestible (I sound like a four year old now!). Thanks for starting this “Learn with me” series. I will be reading and learning with you. What a great incentive to try and improve my photography! Mel

    1. Mine isn’t a manual, it’s on a disc – loads better, as I’m exactly like you! I never read instructions – drives my husband mad! Be lovely to have you learning along with me, too 🙂

  8. I love Point 4 – start a project; this could be photography or anything else at all. Great post, very #AllAboutYou – I desperately need to beef up my photography skills, will be coming back to garner more tips, thank for linking up to #AllAboutYou, hope you’ll be back tomorrow!

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