This blog post is for any parent, like me, who bought a fancy DSLR camera after the arrival of your firstborn. It is also for those expecting parents who are wondering if they should invest in a DSLR and some photography courses before the arrival of bébé.
After the birth or our daughter in January 2011, I realised my Sony Cyber-Shot could not keep up with my on-the-go newborn. Babies are active from the word go, and I wanted a camera that could keep pace with our daughter. In August of that year, I bought a Nikon D5100, and the world of creative composition began to emerge.
I finally had a big girl camera, and had no idea what to do with it.
For the first year I shot all my photos with the starter lens (18-55mm 3.5-5.6) and preset auto modes. Photos improved just by having a great camera in hand, but I was still missing shots, and the camera was still making all the decisions for me. I tried reading books and online articles but felt overwhelmed by all the photography terms. So I began researching online courses that would allow me to learn from home. I credit my friend and photographer, Jennifer Forrester, for introducing me to my photography salvation, Clickin Moms.
In September 2013, I completed my first workshop, Shooting 101: First Steps with a DSLR. This course taught me how to compose photos using aperture and shutter speed priority modes. I hired a prime lens to use during the course which enabled me to grasp the role of bigger apertures and faster shutter speeds. By the end of the course I understood the role of aperture, shutter speed and ISO in the composition triangle. I also knew, it was time to invest in a good lens.
My go to lens is a Nikon 50mm 1.4. It takes beautiful portraits and is great for travel. My lens wish list has several waiting, but I am happy with my choice as it allows my feet to be the zoom and the large aperture brings in loads of light for harder to compose indoor/low light situations.
My photography journey continued for the next year. My photos improved, but I wanted to take it further. I wanted to shoot fully in manual mode, with the ultimate photography goal of my photos telling a story SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) as clearly as my written word.
And so, in March 2015, I completed my second Clickin Moms workshop, Shooting 102: Mastering Manual Exposure. This course was jammed packed with ‘Ah ha!’ moments and the lead instructor, Lacey Meyers, was brilliant. I am finally in control of my camera and enjoying exploring more creative composition for storytelling.
Clickin Moms offers students the option of full course participation or read-along. While read-along is sufficient, I opted for full participation on both courses as I needed a solid foundation in the fundamentals of photography. Full participation also benefits from weekly assignment critiques by your instructor and Q&A’s.
I cannot sing enough praise for the nurturing Clickin Moms community. I was so enamored by its resources that I became a lifetime member in 2014. Membership offers full access to their website which includes photography tutorials, photography critiques by CMPros, and priority course registration. Most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to connect with 1,000s of inspiring professional and aspiring photographers around the globe.
With graduations and summer holidays just around the corner, what are you waiting for? My only warning: Don’t be discouraged if your subject matter is not always as eager as you.
Take control of your DSLR and be snap happy… and free!
My favourite things:
* This article was not commissioned for promotional purposes. The above are my personal opinions and photography preferences.