Since I was a teenager I have loved photography. When we got our first digital camera at home, a Fuji camera that produced grainy photos, I did my first photoshoot.
Even though the photos were awful (giggles) I had an amazing day with my friend. It would be a while after that day until I picked up a camera again.
(Look how grainy it was.)
When I got my first job as a journalist, I was given a camera to take photos at events over a weekend. During that weekend I met the then photo editor from another newspaper who gave me some tips to take better photos.
After that I rarely travelled without my camera. I was designated photographer at my sisters’ kids’ parties and, although I didn’t think about lighting, composition and depth of field, I took relatively decent photos.
It wasn’t until about two years ago that I decided I really wanted to improve my skills. I was lucky enough to be friends with a professional photographer who gave me some pointers and advised me about lenses.
I took a photography course to learn about the more in depth camera functions and then a course in Lightroom which taught me how to edit. I recommend learning Lightroom before Photoshop.
Once I had my “nifty fifty” (50mm lens) and my knowledge of editing, I was ready.
I used my son and niece as my guinea pigs and did a quick shoot with them.
What I learnt from this shoot is that I saturated my photos too much, didn’t look at where the sun was, and, on some of the photos, I cut the photo off at their joints. DON’T TAKE PHOTO’S WHERE YOU CUT A PERSON OFF AT A JOINT SUCH AS THE KNEE OR ANKLE!
But taking bad photos is actually a good thing; you learn what to change the next time you do a shoot.
Personally, I think it’s better to start off photographing your family and friends. This way if you mess up no one gets angry and you can always redo a shoot. Also, these people will most likely understand that you are learning and be more patient when posing in the same position for longer while you take a good photo.
My photos started to improve after I edited them slightly, used the golden hour and composed my shots better.
I asked family members, my work colleagues and friends to model for me and each shoot became better and easier than the one before.
My tips as an amateur photographer:
* Play around with your camera settings; shoot on auto, aperture priority or shutter priority, or even manual. Get to know your camera.
* Shoot everything, whether it’s your pet, a Teddy bear or flower. By doing this you can learn to adjust your white balance, focus and depth of field.
* Take photos at different times of the day to compare how the sun can affect your photo.
* Shoot from all angles and try self-portraits. If you are comfortable in front of your camera you can make your subject comfortable.
* For tips on taking photos; watch different photographers on YouTube. There are so many helpful hints in these videos.
* Use Pinterest. Find photos you like and try replicate them.
* Play around with your editing program. Try all types of editing, whether it makes your photo look better or worse. It is how you learn the ins and outs of editing.
* Most importantly. Have fun. Whether you want to go professional or just have a hobby, photography should be enjoyable.