Happy Monday, friends!
I have received many questions about photography over the past few months-how I got started, where I take classes, what kind of equipment I use, etc., so I put together this post to give you the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How behind my new-found love for all things photography.
Q: How did you get started in photography? Do you have any formal training?
A: I have loved photography for as long as I can remember. I inherited a tremendous sentimentality from my dad, who was the picture taker and album-keeper in my family when I was a child. I have many memories of sitting with him on the sofa as a child, wrapped in a warm afghan , looking through photo albums. Before the age of DSLRs, I happily shot with a point and shoot-little photo shoots with my nephews and macro shots of flowers, etc. (cheesey but true.)
I also have a fierce creative streak. When I started Wynnbaby, my line of vintage-inspired baby linens, I paired with my friend Amanda Reynolds to do some preliminary product shots. Those photos were beautiful but I knew that I was going to need to know how to photograph my own products and to photograph them well. So I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 20d, used from a friend. I started with a 50mm 1.8 lens (a $100 lens that I still use regularly) and enrolled in an online class that taught the BASICS of shooting a DSLR. I was clueless. The class was four weeks and it wasn’t until week 4 that we got a very brief introduction to shooting in Manual Mode (the setting on a DSLR that lets you individually select your camera’s settings for full creative control).
After that first online class, I found ClickinMoms.com, a website geared toward women who are both hobbyist and professional photographers. They offer a big selection of online courses, tutorials a forum, etc. I took a class through ClickinMoms called “The Best Darn Beginner Course Ever,” and it really was the best darn class imaginable. I followed up that class with several other more advanced courses (also online through Clickinmoms.com, what can I say, I love them). I also invested in Photoshop (CS5) classes to learn how to effectively post-process.
Q: What camera do you use?
A: I started out with a Canon 20D. It is a great camera and you can now buy one used for less than $200. Check sites like Amazon and Ebay for sellers with lots of positive feedback. After using the 20D for 2 years I upgraded to a Canon 5d. Again, I bought used from a trusted online seller.
Q: What lenses do you use?
A: I prefer prime lenses (no zoom). I shoot with a 50mm or an 85mm 99% of the time. I have used www.lensrental.com to rent lenses and have been very happy with them! It is a good way to try out cameras or lenses before committing to buy!
Q: Are you a professional photographer?
A: I started out taking my own product photos and photos of my own boys. I then started to get requests from friends to photograph their children and families and it was a great learning experience. Eventually, by word of mouth, I started to get requests from friends of friends who offered to pay me to do photography for them. A lot of these requests came from sharing my photos on Facebook. At first I had a hard time charging anyone but when I stepped back to consider the time and money and resources I have poured into learning this skill, I knew it was fair. I am 125% committed to staying at home with my kiddos so at this point, I haven’t been doing more than two or three paid shoots per month. In the future, who knows. I just love the creative art of it all and it is a great creative outlet for me at this time in my life.
I would like to do more conceptual photography focusing on young children and the magic of childhood imagination. The styling side of photography is my favorite part.
Q: What advice do you have for a mom who just wants to take better photos of her children?
A: If you are using a point and shoot camera, turn off your flash and shoot in natural light. Get out your manual and set your dial to “sports”-this means a quick shutter speed for fast-moving little ones!
If you own a DSLR and are shooting in Auto, you aren’t much or any better off than if you were shooting with a point and shoot-arguably even less so? If you aren’t up for learning to shoot in manual, turn your settings to Aperture Priority Mode. A wide aperture of say 2.8 or lower will give you the “blurry” background for pretty portraits.
If you want to learn manual (yeay!!!), take a class, you’ll never look back!! 🙂 Again, I love Clickin’Moms. I have taken online course through several sites and have found ClickinMoms to be head and shoulders above the rest.
Have any other questions? I would be happy to answer them in the comments or use them in a future post!
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