January 6th at home in Ireland is called Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas. It’s traditionally the last day of the festive season and one day for the women to finally put their feet up and take a rest. Ha! Not likely in this house! Here in the US the Christmas season only lasts one or two days and this year we even took our tree down on the day after Christmas day itself as we were headed out of town. Needless to say today, the holidays are truly over, despite me still finding pine needles everywhere (I guess Spring Cleaning has yet to begin in this house!) Our minds have instead turned to the New Year, new resolutions and new commitments to master new things. Now’s the time to finally figure out how to use that camera and polish up your photography skills!
If improving your photography is something on your list for 2015 I’ve outlined my top 5 tips below on how to help you achieve this goal.
1. Take your camera out of the box! Seriously! Take your camera out and have it accessible in your daily life so that when the notion takes you, you can grab it and shoot. Charge the battery, stick on a lens and leave it somewhere convenient in your home. Better yet, get one of these cool camera purses and you’ll have no excuse not to take it everywhere you go and look cute to boot!
2. Schedule playtime for yourself. Try to calendar in some dedicated time each week to allow you to play with your camera and it’s settings. Press the buttons and see what happens – I promise you can’t break anything and if in doubt you can always turn it off and turn it on again 😉
3. Read the Manual. I know you have one – it’s probably still sealed in the little plastic baggie in the bottom of the box. Throwaway the French/Spanish version and read a little of the Double Dutch version that came with your camera. If that doesn’t work, consider buying one of the appropriate Dummies for … Books which help to break your camera functions down into easy to understand language. The less intimidated you are by the thing, the more likely you are to become it’s friend. I promise you there is no self-destruct button on there so you really can’t do any damage (at least not on the new models…) If you are local to Atlanta and want to meet up to go over your camera functions get in touch and we can meet for my crash course session which will have you confident with your gear in no time.
4. Get out of Auto. Move away from that little green box or smiley face and play with all those other modes on that mode dial. Mr Canon wouldn’t have put that dial right up there on top if he didn’t want you to turn it, now would he? It’s only by taking control of the settings that you are ever going to improve. Spend some time learning what some of those numbers mean and what happens when you change this or that. There is oodles of info on all this stuff out there but if you would like to cut to the chase, check out my course for absolute beginners and my course for those who feel a little more confident and are truly ready to get of of auto.
5. Shoot Shoot Shoot. Did I mention I think you should shoot? It’s really the only way to get better. One of the ways you can commit to doing this is by taking part in a daily or a weekly photo challenge. Project 365 has been around for a while and it involves taking a picture every day of your life to document the everyday. I tried this for about 20 days and decided instead that a photo a week might be more doable for me. Hence the Take 52 Challenge was born! I now head up a group of more than 1,000 like-minded beginner photographers who hang out in a private group on Facebook. Every Monday morning I issue a one worded prompt to inspire participants to get out and shoot around that particular theme. It’s amazing what a little assignment can do and this weekly, constant practice is truly one of the best ways of improving your craft. The Take 52 group has the added bonus of a supportive community to answer questions, give help and advice and critique your work. The improvements made by past participants is incredible and I’d love to have you join us. Click Here to Join the Take 52 Challenge for 2015
Hope to see you in the Group!