Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Learn To Take Better Pictures: I'm Taking a Photography e-Course!


Finally! Somebody has come up with the perfect way to teach me how to take great pictures!

I'm super excited that my friend Katie is conducting an online photography course she calls "Photo Mojo". The six week course will include easy to understand explanations of the settings on your camera, simple picture taking projects and a flickr group where we'll all upload our pictures so that Katie can make comments and recommendations on what were doing right as well as how we can improve our shots. I am so in love with this idea! I want to take great pictures but I don't want to go sit in some classroom where an instructor will try to cram way too much information into a few hours only to have me go home and forget it all. I love the idea of taking it slow, having a group of people just like me who want to learn to take better pictures. The bonding, the photography taking bliss, I can't wait!

When I was in my 20's I wanted to be a professional photographer. I remember buying my first real camera, a Minolta SLR. It was heavy, black, awesome. I loved the way it felt in my hands. I was fascinated by all the settings, the shutter speed, the F stops. I bought books to try to teach myself how to use it. Most of the pictures I took, sucked.  But I shot a roll of infrared film once and although I have no idea where those pictures are today, there is an image of one of those photos, a willow tree, its droopy branches bleached white against a black sky that is burned in my memory.

In the end the Minolta frustrated the hell out of me and I gave up my photography career dreams. After that, I used whatever camera was easiest. Disposable cameras were my shit for a good long while! But then I started gardening and blogging and discovered all these amazing garden blogging photographers, their photos rich with color, impeccably composed. My photography passion came flooding back.

When I started this blog I shot nearly all my pictures with a 3 mega pixel point and shoot digital camera my husband gave me when digital cameras first came out. It worked just fine and I am still surprised by how decent some of those pictures turned out. But at some point I decided to get serious and bought a really nice Nikon DSLR. I read books, blogs, watched videos and I took a some pretty good photos with that camera. But each time I thought of going out to photograph something cool in my garden, I dreaded having to deal with the damned thing. It was a big production and most of my pictures were bad. Bad lighting, blurry, random other photo nightmares. Bad! I missed so many great shots because it took me entirely too long to figure out the right settings. My process was to make the settings something completely arbitrary, then adjust them until the pictures are not awful. In the end I shoved the fancy Nikon in its case and bought an updated point and shoot camera which I use most of the time, now. Hell, if I'm being honest, most of the time I use my iPhone camera!

To celebrate this inaugural photography e-course, Katie is giving away three free registrations for the class. I encourage you to head over to her website to enter the contest and/or to register for the course. See you in class!