I’ve owned a dSLR for 3 years now, and in that time I’ve learned a lot. On the left you can see a photo I took and delivered to my clients when I first started, and one from a session I did last year. I’m self-taught, and certainly don’t know everything, but I’d like to tell people about the things I do understand. If you have a dSLR and would like to work toward understanding how to use your camera better, click here to learn about the Aspirations Workshops I’m going to be holding during the month of February.
I’ve done workshops like this before, and here is what one of my attendees had to say about the experience:
I was very much on the fence about my photography. I went into this almost completely blind. Almost meaning, I did a few sessions with my father-in-law’s camera (Canon XT), was satisfied with the results of the pictures I took, but in no way used the camera to maximize its capacity. After that (and after getting lots of “ooo, great pictures!”, “nice work”, “oh you’re doing these for FREE? i’m in!”), I did my research, got the best camera I could get for my budget (Canon 40D with the kit lense, which I very much regret getting that lense to this day), started up a photo blog, and went on my way. I skimmed the camera manual for some guidance, had absolutely NO idea what they were talking about, and was completely frustrated with how my husband was trying to teach me. So being completely blind still, I did lots of sessions with the little knowledge I had of what my camera was actually doing, and was decently satisfied with the results of my pictures. I mean, I did have Lightroom and Photoshop anyways to fall back on.
Which brings me to my editing. I HHHHHAAAATTTTTEEEEEDDDDD it with a passion. Yes, all caps, and super exaggerated. If you don’t say it like that, then you won’t get the full effect. I spent hours upon hours editing EVERY SINGLE good and decent picture. It was so overwhelming, so tedious, so not exciting. From what I read, this was supposed to be one of the best parts about photography. Effects, actions, presets, the whole shabang was supposed to be fun! Eh wrong.
Now I know I was completely going at it from the wrong angle. Here’s what Jenna Cole taught me:
First we started out with Composition. I went into this knowing a few photo techniques, i.e. placing the subject(s) on a grassy hill with hands placed just right and saying, “don’t move”, or as my husband chimes in “try to look natural, but don’t move too much”. HA. Jenna taught us how to make the subject look flattering, how to make them look and feel natural, how to not take awkward ‘up the nose’ shots. All around, I learned the right angles to take and not take photos. For example, Jenna stood up on the bench above our model and took an above picture. Why I didn’t think of that angle before I do not know!
We moved on to ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, using our histogram, and a few other techniques. She explained them in ways that make absolute sense! I won’t get into every single detail of each one, but if you had absolutely no idea what those words/acronyms meant going into the session, you would walk away completely knowing AND understanding what to do with them and how to get every shot at its best.
Jenna gave us plenty of time to photograph our model, helping us in each step to process the information she gave us and use it! She was there to guide me through what buttons to press and what settings to be on. She even let us use her lenses she had on hand (and even let us play with the precious 5D Mark II, which I did not want to let go of) and gain a visual on the difference between what we own and what we could have.
I’m now completely on the other side of the fence. And will not go back on again. Jenna Cole’s Aspirations session was completely unexpected in a very good way. I learned more than I thought I would, and can USE what I’ve learned, which I think is the most important aspect of workshops/mentoring sessions.