When I started, my only goal was to learn how to improve my photography so that I would be able to take better pictures of my own children. I loved it so much, it turned into more than just taking pictures of my own kids.
At the end of the day though, improving my photography was something I would have welcomed either way!
7 ways to improve your
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Learn how to shoot in manual mode
Learning how to shoot in manual mode was the first thing I did that drastically improved my photography. Of course, this is ongoing but knowing how to use your camera beyond placing the camera in auto is a must. If you’re wondering why you should learn to shoot in manual mode- let me convince you!
I took online courses, and in-person courses, and soaked up every bit of information I could get. I took classes about light, classes about how to use your camera, classes about composition. Some classes were better than others but this was one thing that helped drastically improve my photography. Yes, I did dive in a bit more once this became more than a hobby, but I started when I was just trying to take better pictures of my kids.
Practice, practice, practice
Obviously, when you’re trying to learn anything new, practicing will always be a key component in improving. I knew if I wanted to drastically improve my photography, I would have to practice. In fact, I still have to practice.
Reading has always been one of the best ways that I learned (specifically when it’s combined with hands-on practice). These books were particularly helpful. I actually read a few of these a couple of times!
Learn how to edit my pictures
I can still clearly remember messaging another photographer friend on Flickr (yep, that’s how long I’ve been doing this.. back then, Flickr was THE place to be if you were a photographer, or an aspiring photographer) and asking her why my pictures weren’t looking as bright, clear, sharp, etc as hers were. I knew they were properly composed, and properly focused. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. She sweetly laughed, and told me she was post processing her pictures. I knew right then, I had to figure out how to do that! Just look at all of these things I do with Lightroom.
Purchase a 50mm 1.4 lens
I’m not saying you absolutely can’t learn how to use your camera with the kit lens, or that you can’t take good pictures with the kit lens, but it is difficult to get a feel for what you’re doing when you make changes to your settings with a lens that doesn’t allow you to shoot with a wide aperture. Purchasing a 1.4 lens was a key component to drastically improve my photography.
Keep notes with me
When I first started, I didn’t own a smartphone. I would shove reminders into my pocket or my camera bag. Often when I would leave a session (whether it was for myself, and I was just taking pictures of my kids, or a paid session) I would wish I had remembered to try something else, or that I had thought of something- a pose, a composition trick, something with light. The list goes on. Even once I had a smartphone, digging through things I had saved as reminders was a time suck. I once paid $50 for a tiny, little printout of pose ideas. Just so I could keep it in my camera bag as a reminder. It was years ago, and I don’t have it anymore, but it was literally just poses, nothing else. Since then, I have created a 30 page pdf for those in the same place I was then! You can check out momtographer’s cheats right here. It’s tiny enough to fit into your pocket or camera bag. It includes examples of my settings, notes on how to choose camera settings, prop ideas, and inspiration for taking pictures that will fit into your everyday life. It’s the perfect tangible cheats for any mom-tographer who feels like she’s always forgetting how to set her camera or what she wanted to try the next time she took her camera out!! It’s an immediate download, you print it out, punch a hole in it, and stick a ribbon it! Done! Plus, for a limited time, it’s only $10!
30+ pics to take of your kids every year!
By this time next year, your kids will be completely different. The only way I have found to freeze time is to take pictures. This is a great list to help you remember to photograph the things you want to remember forever!