Photography Practice

One of my goals for this year is to become better at photography. I’ve worked with photos for a long time – on catalogs (if you got a Pottery Barn catalog between the years 1999-2002, I did the layouts for every single one of them! Best. Job. Ever.), as part of an imaging team at a stock photo agency and as a photo editor. But it’s only recently that I shifted my focus to the taking of photos rather than just the selections or color-processing of them. I’ve discovered that I love it though I have so much to learn.

I still get flummoxed with apertures and f-stops and shutter speeds, but with my trusty manual and lots of practice, I’m starting to get a feel for what kind of images I like and how to work with light a little bit.

Here, I practiced with some pretty pops of blues that I found around the house. I am on the hunt for good online tutorials — I’m very much a visual and tactile learner and find most tutorials with just lots of written instructions challenging. I think it’s why I like Japanese patterns so much: the illustrations are excellent and I hardly need to reference the text. If you know of any good photography tutorials with lots of visual aids, please send them my way!


4 thoughts on “Photography Practice

  1. I don’t know of any super visual tutorials, though you may find some on pinterest. I do like these books, which are relatively light on text and heavy on illustrative photos-

    The Crafters Guide to Taking Great Photos by Heidi Adnum (which is only sold through the person who wrote it, I have the ebook)

    Both of these tend more towards the basics and illustrating how varying aperture, etc etc affect the resulting pictures.

  2. I agree with Robin that there are tons of tips/tutorials on Pinterest. One book I learned a lot from is “Understanding Exposure” by Brian Petersen. A bit technical at times, but a really good resource for understanding the relationship between light and exposure quality.
    When taking pictures manually, the best thing to remember is the relationship between aperture and shutter speed. They need to work together to produce the best exposure. A large aperture (smaller number) will generally mean you can use a faster shutter speed, which is great for not getting camera shake. On the flipside, a small aperture (also puts more of the picture in detail) will mean needing to use a slower shutter speed (a real problem here in grey Michigan!). One of the best tips I’ve heard was that your shutter speed should never be slower than your focal lens length. For example, I typically have the 50 mm fixed lens on my camera, so know that i need to adjust my aperture so that the shutter speed is never lower than 50. If it is, there will be a good chance the picture will not be crisp. The same rule applies to any lens length.
    And of course, practicing is the best learning tool! I know you’re doing just that and I have to say your pictures are already something you should be proud of!

    1. Great suggestions! I will check out Brian Petersen’s book! I have yet to try my 50mm fixed lens with my new camera since I’m still playing with the lens it came with, but I love 50mm lenses!

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