Tuesday, November 09, 2010

You Are A Photographer... You Just Don't Know It Yet

I love taking photographs. 
For me Happiness is... downloading my daily shots to see what gems I might find.
I have only just begun this photographic journey.
And the more I learn, the more I realize, it's just a drop in the bucket.
But there is one thing I do know, and I want to share it with you.

You are a photographer... you just don't know it yet.

The camera I usually use is a Canon entry level DSLR with the kit lens that came with it.  
It is simply one step up from a point and shoot and allows me to take my pictures in settings other than auto.

What I am realizing more and more though, is good photography has much more to do with an attitude towards taking pictures than the equipment you own.

 (This shot was taken by my 7 year old daughter.)

It is about seeing light and how it catches objects and people.
It is about placing your subject slightly off centre, so that the picture does not appear static and boring.
It is learning how to use natural light.  
It is trying a shot while holding the camera high above your head, or taking a shot of people walking from down low.
It is taking a close up of someone's face and only catch half of it.
These types of photo's will give you a different perspective.
Once you see what is possible you will start to see even more possibilities.
It will allow you to stretch your creative muscles.
The photos that will begin to emerge will bring a smile to your face.

There are some very simple steps you can take if you wish to become a better photographer.
And no, a new camera is not one of them.
Flashes almost always make a shot look awful.
Try overriding your flash and if you must use it when lighting is too dark,  use an elastic to wrap a coffee filter around the flash (I learned that from Darcy's 31 Days to a Better Photo Series), so that you can soften some of the glare it creates.
Check your camera's settings and see if you can soften the flash.  
Most point and shoots allow this.
It will make a tremendous difference.

But first and foremost, decide to take pictures; and not just at the requisite birthday party's.  
I mean take pictures of everything around you... every single day... lots of them.
Challenge yourself to a 365 Project so that you have a reason to do this.

You will feel very uncomfortable at first (I know I did), and your hubby and children will look at you funny. But after a week or so they will get used to seeing you with a camera;
and they will no longer ask, "Mom? Why are you taking pictures of that?"
If they do?
Answer... because it makes me happy.

You will also become accustomed to finding opportunities to take a shot.
You will realize very quickly which photo's are interesting and which are ho hum.
So eventually when you walk alongside a chain link fence, you will see the cool shot that could be captured through it.

If you do not have a high resolution camera to work with, you will need to learn a few basic photo editing skills. (Free ones like Picnik are great for simply sharpening and or lightening your photos.)

I feel very confident in stating that photography has very little to do with the camera and much more to do with the vision of the photographer.

In fact I have a secret to share with you.
The photos I've shared in this post were not taken with my DSLR.
And while I have a point and shoot that takes some good quality shots, that is not what I used either.

There is a quote I've seen quite often in the photography world that I love: 

The Best Camera... is the one that's with you!

And I would have to say I agree. 
Here is the surprise... the shots on this post were all captured with my... iPhone camera
I kid you not.
In the case of all of these shots, it was the only thing I had available to me when I wanted to capture the moment, (and keep my seven year old happy while waiting for her sister to finish a Badminton practice : )

If you want to become a better photographer?
Simply start today with one photo.
Then after a hundred or so you might find one you really like.
Do this every day and I promise you after 365 days, and 365 000 photos, you will be an amazing photographer.

In fact you already are, you just need to take the photographs to prove it to yourself.
I promise, you will be happy you did.


This post is linking up with Darcy at my3boybarians! Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday ~H~ And Leigh's Happiness Project.
Sweet Shot DayPhotobucketJenny Matlock
Pin It


  1. This was very encouraging, Dana.

    You really think I can do this? Because I really want did you learn all the things you stated, like capturing 1/2 a face, etc?

  2. Beautiful post...and great I-phone photo's!

  3. Love the tips and the photos! Great post!

  4. Perfect post for me today as I have an ongoing battle with my point and shoot!!:)
    Today I WILL take more pictures!!!
    Enjoy the day

  5. Beautiful photos! I am surprised that this was all taken from an Iphone which is truly amazing!

  6. Great post and great shots! Inspiring!

    Erika B

  7. I feel like you were talking to me! I am the one always complaining that I need a better camera like all my fellow bloggers! Awesome pictures!

  8. What a fantastic post! I love it. Beautiful shots, of course. But that's really beside the point. Beautiful EYE.

  9. So true...says the lady who is buying a new camera this week. Yet I know that a better camera won't make me a better photographer. I'm starting to look at things differently with my camera in my hand. Thanks for the encouragement. Love what you captured with your iPhone.

  10. What an encouragement! I am having trouble getting my camera out of auto mode, but loving what I get in my shots nonetheless. I keep reading little tutorials and then walking away scratching my head. Maybe 6 kids have left my brain fried! Thanks for the post, I needed that today!

  11. Yay! Thanks for encouraging us all....the whole I was reading and drooling over you pics...then to find out they were iphone pics. I love it!
    Love the coffee filter idea. I also love to use Picnik.
    Enjoy your day!

  12. Great shots, great advice. It's pretty cool that you took all those shots with an iPhone. People take pictures, not cameras.

  13. What an encouraging post Dana! Love the photo your daughter took of you!

    It really is like anything else-- all aabout practice. . . but you have an very special eye that all of us can't aspire to!! We will have to keep trying to see things like you do!

  14. Your 7 year old took a great shot of you!

  15. I completely second everything you said! I joined a 365 project nearly 2 years ago and I am AMAZED at how far I've come with my photography!

  16. What interesting photographs! And thank you for the encouragement! I really needed it today.
    That photo of you done by your kiddo reminded me that my favorite photo of myself was shot by my preschooler. It's not perfect, but it's got character.

  17. AMEN!!!

    Great shots and love that you have a shot by your 8 yr old daughter!


  18. Great post! Love the sky shot!

    I've been reading many statements on different blogs and message boards lately about how kit lenses are crap. Although I have some great prime lenses, many of my favorite shots were taken with my kit crap lens then. lol

    Anyway, great message today!

  19. Great photos! I love how you used the fence to frame your pictures. I completely agree about the camera not making the photographer. My DSLR in my husbands hands takes completely different pictures than in my hands.

  20. sometimes confidence is hard to come by, so instead of telling myself "I can take an OK picture from time to time" I will now tell myself "Dana said I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER" and yes a 365 project is next for me...please follow up with what you do with the thousands of photos you do you whittle them down? how do you store them?

  21. Great post, and great photos! The message here is great, and I need to keep telling myself that "I am a photographer!" Thanks!

  22. Your tips today are absolutely true, Dana. I've long held the theory that the photographer, not the camera, makes the photo. You do learn to view the world differently with camera in hand. Like you, I am forever walking around with my camera (my family just rolls their collective eyes)and seeking new angles and new perspectives from which to present my photos.

    Visiting blogs like yours, with such wonderful images, inspires me and gives me new ideas. Thank you, as always, for sharing your insights.

  23. I do this with people, but I do: "You already ARE a writer."

    And I've not ever quite managed that level of loveliness with my iPhone.

    But I'll keep trying.

  24. stunning shots, but beyond that what a wonderful and encouraging post!!!

  25. iPhones aren't given the credit they're due for taking good pictures, in my book.

    Reading this not only encourages me, but makes me relate writing to photography in that you gotta use your imagination and be willing to take some chances both in picture taking and in writing.

    Great photos. : )

  26. Great photos, and very encouraging words. So true too. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Dana! You have just motivate, encouraged and inspired me like no other.



  28. er..."motivated," that is.

    When will Iearn to proofread??


  29. Okay, that is REALLY funny. There's even an error in the correction.

    I am now officially scary.


  30. totally agree with everything you said. Its not about the equipment you use its how you use it and why you do. the best pictures are the ones that make you happy. I have found that I have taken some really good photos with my cell phone or even my point and shot camera (before I got my another one.)

  31. Just what I needed to hear!

  32. Fab post, Dana. It's so encouraging. My point and shoot is on its last leg, and while it's taken some wonderful photos...things seem off with it lately. Your post makes me wonder if it's my attitude and not the camera!

    I'm saving up for a decent DSLR...

  33. You've written a great reminder...and encouragement....for everyone who really wants to take photos but is afraid to. Wonderful!

  34. goosebumps! you gave me goosebumps!! What an awesome post. Dana, you are truly gifted in photography & writing! hugs, Cathy

  35. Beautiful photos. You have been a great encouragement to me. Glad I stumbled upon your blog!

  36. Great post! And you make some really good points. I'm always grumbling about my camera and how I need a new one, yet just the other day an acquaintance came up to me and told how wonderful the photographs on my blog are. I just take a bunch, play around with the flash, and then edit the winners on Picnik (just like you suggest in you post). I didn't think they were anything special but she thought they were awesome!

    Have a great day!

  37. Love this post, and the pictures! The first one is my fave. =)

  38. Taking better pictures is something I really would love to learn to do. Also, learn how to use the free editing software

  39. And just when I was saving up for a really nice I just need to use my phone. Great tips. I really enjoyed this post alot.

  40. Thanks Dana,

    This was awesome. I needed this reminder today.

    You continue to inspire me♥

  41. Those are very cool shots and this was a very encouraging post. I am usually a disaster with a camera and have an endless parade of birthdays at the same table, everyone in the same place and a cake.
    Thanks for the inspiration: )

  42. Great post! And so true! You took such beautiful pics with your iPhone. They have such wonderful attitude : )

  43. I've had people tell me I take pictures of EVERYTHING! Great post. Now I want to go out and take even more pictures. :o) La

  44. I find myself getting more and more comfortable with using the camera everyday. Too bad I am not so comfortable in front of the camera. LOL! These are wondeful photos, thanks for sharing them and all your thoughts and tips as well.

  45. great tips and knowledge especially for beginners and it is true, what camera you used is the least important thing, although some might argue about that

  46. I really enjoyed these tips.Now I need to remember them.

  47. A very inspiring and to the Point and Shoot...Just DoIt! I try and shoot photos everyday, and always look for a different way of looking at the world in which I live.

    Another Happy Photographer

  48. This post made me feel much more confident about my photography. I carry my camera everywhere and take lots of really bad pictures for every one pretty good one, but some of the bloggers out there are very particular about photography and I feel quite inadequate. Thanks for the pep talk!

  49. Dana! I love your attitude and your generousity in sharing what you've learned!

    Such an encouraging posts for those struggling with fear of failure in picture taking.

    I always just take a million and figure I'll end up with at least 1 good shot from all that!

    Thanks for a wonderful link to Alphabe-Thursday.

    It is always such a joy to visit you here.


  50. I come from a family of professional photographers, and I want to tell you that your advice is some of the best I have ever read!!
    Great work!!

  51. I love, love taking photos! Thanks for the Better Photo link. The sky in the first photo is stunning. I agree that an eye for a good shot is a most important, if not the most important, aspect in getting a good picture.

  52. I need to remember to take my camera with me when I go places. So many times I see a really nice shot and kick myself for forgetting my camera yet again. I love this post.


Comments are like the applause after a show! Yay clapping!