I’ve been a professional photographer for over 25 years. What started out as a hobby turned into a business and I couldn’t be happier. I get paid to do something I love; take pictures. From weddings and engagements to bar mitzvahs and corporate events, I’ve photographed it all. Now my 16-year-old daughter has been bitten by the photography bug and has been snapping away incessantly since I gave her my old digital camera.
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Since she is a beginner, she had a lot of questions about the best way to take pictures. As her mother, I love to be able to share my hobby with her and give her tips to improve her photography skills. If you are looking to take up photography as a hobby like my daughter has, here are the same quick tips I gave to her:
You don’t have to buy the most expensive camera
Any digital camera that was made within the last 5 years will do and will have all you need as far as the latest technological features. You can probably get a great deal on a used camera from Ebay or Amazon. If you don’t want to spend the money on a camera at all, you can even start practicing with taking some really great pictures with your IPhone or any other smartphone. The more practice, experience, and skill you get in taking pictures, the more you will be able gauge whether or not it’s time to upgrade your camera and camera equipment.
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Have camera will travel
Take your camera everywhere! How many times have you seen something that was the perfect photo opportunity? If you are using your smartphone to take pictures, don’t leave it in your car or turn it off. You don’t want to be fumbling with getting it turned on and having to wait for your camera app to open. Camera bags are fairly inexpensive and make toting your camera around a bit easier.
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See the bigger picture
Even the most uninteresting things can be made to appear fascinating. My daughter likes to bring her camera outside and take pictures of the rain and objects that have been rained on. While we all don’t like rain very much as it may put a damper on our day, it can be a beautiful subject to work with. She has been able to capture some of the most incredible images of rain drops. Just by playing with the settings and filters on your camera, can truly turn an average picture into a work of art. Sometimes the simplest objects can be your best shot!
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Get inspired and learn
Enjoy the journey in learning the art of photography. Get inspiration online from photography blogs. There are some social media channels that are photo-driven such as Instagram and Flickr that you can browse through for inspiration. Go old school by visiting your local library and take out books on photography. It’s such a great way to get even more knowledge. I like to do this every once in a while. The library really seems to bring out my creative juices. Maybe it’s all the nostalgia coming from the smell of the old books, but it works for me. Try new things and go to different places. Really work on what keeps you motivated to continue on your picture taking path!
Read the manual to your camera. Get to know what it really can do. The little symbols all over your camera can be a bit overwhelming but really learn the features. Experimentation and creativity go hand in hand. Take your time with it and try different settings. Experiment with lighting and moving objects. The beauty of having a digital camera is that you can go crazy and take as many pictures as you want. Back in the “old days”, we had to buy expensive film, painstakingly load it in our cameras and in order to see how the picture came out, we had to develop it. If you don’t like a picture, just simply delete it and keep shooting! There’s no wrong way to experiment. Be as creative as you want to be!