Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Photography - how I got my mojo back

I am quite passionate about photography.

Not in the way that I must have the best camera, etc. but in that I appreciate a good photo and I can see the beauty in weird things, like a different angle, the way food looks on a plate, when a handbag is slouched just so, etc.

In those cases, I have to grab my camera to try and capture it.

To many this is weird.

I'm okay with that; I quite like being the person taking pics of the food, trees and skies and not necessarily of the people.

I know that with some help my pics could be a lot better and I have this belief that you should know your equipment well and learn all you can on it before upgrading.

I don't believe that a good camera is the only thing that improves the quality of the pics. I think it takes a good eye, technique, subjects that co-operate, etc.

Since I'm too lazy to actually read the manual of my pink little Sony Cybershot, I read blogs.

Have you read your camera's manual?

Recently there was a lovely series on a blog - 1 a day for a month - where the lady wrote about different aspects of photography.

I'll keep it real and tell you that I was hellishly demotivated after that. That's not strictly true - I was demotivated at day 3 already.

It was just way too technical for me. And I got an A in Physics.

But I learned a few things like the official name for the striking pics I love, called the rule of thirds. And she did end off by saying that it's more important to live in the moment than get the perfect shot. Which has always been my philosophy.

In fact, sometimes I actually start going for my camera and instead choose to just stay still, in the moment, and enjoy the babies.

Claudia started a series too but more for people like me where she said really simple things like "make sure your background is good". That's the kind of thing I can do.

Anyway, I got motivated again by something that happened on our strat. We watched a DVD on possibility thinking by a National Geographic photographer.

Here's what he said that spoke to me:

  1. the difference between good and great is millimetres. Get closer than you think.
  2. keep shooting even when you think you're done. do one more. it may be The One.
  3. always see the possibility in everything
  4. what's the very best the shot has to offer? even if it looks like it's going to be terrible, look for the beauty. It's often just a change in perspective.
We'd had lunch straight before this DVD and I'd tried to take some pics as I normally do but everything was wrong - the light was horrible, shadows everywhere, nothing was being framed properly, etc, etc. Ugh!

We then had a breakaway session about 30 minutes after watching the DVD and I decided to take my camera outside again.


This time I thought, "look for the beauty" and wow, I took some pics that I really liked.

Turns out that's the kind of photography lessons that do it for me.

Here are my pics from that day.

palm trees always make me think about holidays


trying to work

engaged again

now she's bored

wouldn't it be nice to just relax and bask in the sun?


Do you know how to use your camera properly? Any tips for me to make learning about this stuff FUN?

P.S. Rebecca, I'm reading "It sucked and then I cried" (Dooce) and "The gifts of imperfection" - Brene Brown :)


  1. Well hopefully you think my photos are good? Or else the rest of my comment is going to be lame.

    I would say the top three things I tell people who are just starting out are: turn off your flash (unless you have a nice off-camera flash), get closer, and snap snap snap.

    Then... it's important to find your muse. What do you like to photograph? Personally I like to photograph people. That is my muse.

    Then I would say, shoot shoot shoot. That is the only way to learn. You can read blogs all you want but until you take the pictures, you won't learn what works and does not work. The technical stuff gets so overwhelming (RAW vs jpeg, aperture, white balance, sharpening, defogging, OY).

    And last, think of photography as a lifelong journey! You don't need to learn everything at once.

    PS Yes I have read my camera's manual and it is a doozy.

    PPS Feel free to shoot any questions my way, I love talking photography!Also critiquing photos is a great way to learn.

  2. Laura, I think your photos are fabulous!!!

    And you know what? I actually read my manual last night. Still figuring things out but I took about 10 pics of my toes this morning playing with settings :)

  3. Oooh...thanks for the book ideas!

    I read a lot of the manual...well, it was actually a one of those "for dummies" books and it had some good ideas. I'm pretty sure I was on overload though b/c Husband bought me like 4 books with my camera. I just shut it down after that. I go with what I feel now...if I want to try a certain setting, I try it. However, I ignore most of them!

  4. I really need to learn to use my camera. I really wanted an SLR for my birthday - but when I opened the packet it was not. Still a nice camera but just a point and shoot. I think because I was dissapointed I did not really learn how to use it properly. I must just "get over it" and do the best with what I have.

  5. As you know I find great joy in my photography - I even now have a separate blog for it. One thing I can tell you is that I took pretty good shots with my little cybershot before I had the big Cannon and the trick is in actually reading the manual and getting up cose to your subject.


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