I enjoy improving my photography. My preference is portraiture, and I would choose outdoor portraiture more than shooting inside. More than anything, I enjoy taking photographs and that’s the motivation for me to learn.
Digital photography is a godsend for me and many other photographers. I don’t think I would’ve ever indulged in this hobby if film was the only option. I like learning how to use the new products and software that is available for editing photographs, and seeing what I can do with them. Having the ability to change the photograph post production has given me a new way to enjoy taking photographs, and to play about with them and how they are presented.
Creation is half the fun. I like to orchestrate photography shoots and try different shots. I like meeting new people and working with them and creating something new and special. This is the fun of this hobby – getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. Was it Bob Ross who said he doesn’t believe in mistakes? Well, I do believe in mistakes, but I use them as learning opportunities. Photography doesn’t ever seem like work, so it’s fantastic to partake in an activity that never seems to get old.
Taken back in 2009
I enjoy developing and adding skill each and every year. One of my goals this year is to take THREE photography risks. I’m not sure what this goal entails, but I will let you know as soon as I know.
Taken in 2012.
I’d love to say I am self-taught because I wanted to un-learn the rules and have my own niche. That’s more or less what happened, but this is not the reason.
I’d love to say I am self-taught because there are no classes in the area and I had no choice, but this also isn’t true. I had plenty of opportunities to learn here.
The truth is I just didn’t want to shell out much cash to learn. I’d rather learn on the job by myself… it’s cheaper and I don’t want to listen to a teacher. Maybe the truth is also that I have a day job with bosses, and I don’t want to add a professor to the equation. No thanks. I already have one degree – one very expensive piece of paper on my wall to validate that I’m smart because I don’t want to prove my intelligence the hard way, so I’d rather have a piece of paper that says it.
Learning through trial and error beats paying $2000+ to learn how to shoot. Personally, I like placing my model beside a tree to capture the bark and the model but to make the background blurry. Sometimes I don’t always get it right and make the foreground blurry as well. It’s all a matter of learning and experience. I learn best from doing… from experience. Not everyone is the same. Still, opportunities are endless for me to learn, and I enjoy it.
Learning the ropes is not easy, but it’s well worth it to learn the basics. However, you can learn them through books and experience just as easily as paying a professor to instruct you. Then again, I’m the first to admit there is plenty I still don’t know. Maybe I would’ve been better served by learning photography in a class? I still don’t think it matters so long as there is evidence of improvement. The key is to learn at your own pace and do what makes you comfortable.
I’m the first to admit I’m still learning all the time. However, I do wish I had known more when I began to shoot. Here is just a fraction of things I wish I had known the morning I went to buy my EOS.
#1. I wish I hadn’t bought a lot of “toys” just after buying my EOS. OK, I’m glad I bought my tripod, but I really didn’t need to turn my spare room into a studio. I have extra lights, muslin backdrops, a backdrop stand, all kinds of filters and an expensive flash. Really, the best “toy” I ever bought for my camera was a $100 50 mm lens. All the other additions were a waste. The following shot was taken with my 50 mm. It’s great for blurry backgrounds and for portraiture. I wish I had bought it in 2008 instead of 2013.
#2. I spent too much on my EOS. I could’ve saved $150 had I just waited for a sale. Of course, just like buying a computer, the best value can always be found “tomorrow.” In other words, they’re always coming out with a better product, and the quality constantly gets better.
#3. I should’ve learned more about Photoshop.
#4. I should’ve focused on the background just as much as the subject. By focusing entirely on the subject, I let some things slip into the background that I shouldn’t have… such as parked cars and the like. I’ll post an example of this mistake from my 2nd or 3rd shoot. Here is the following mistake I made… not a great background at all…
#5. I should have learned more about lighting. If doing indoor photography, lighting is extremely important. Reflectors are an awesome trick and can be made awfully cheap. I should’ve used test shots and learned more. Same with outdoors. Never shoot at Noon on a sunny day unless you want to have nasty shadows or if you have a good plan to avoid it. Indeed, many photographers like overcast days to shoot because the sunlight becomes irrelevant. I prefer shooting at sunrise and sunset for the best lighting. It took a while for me to learn… I still haven’t perfected this. Soft light of overcast days are really cool, and sunrise and sunset are also awesome. Still, I’m always learning.