"A good photographer captures the feeling through the lens of what he sees."
One of the easiest ways to tap into your creativity is picture-taking. You are creative and the starting point is just listening to your gut. Use your curiosity as your GPS to explore, seek out and discover. This journey will ignite a spark and inspire you to uncover ideas you never thought you had. It's about listening with your inner ear and accepting what you hear. It can be an act of courage. Photography is easy medium to root out whimsy, musings and ideas which often lead to the aha! moment.
1. Start with what you've got.
I've got a Canon Digital 630A Powershot. I plan on buying a high end digital SLR when I am ready, but not a minute before. I recommend something you are not intimidated with, but rather something you can learn from in a short time frame. Find out what your camera can do so you can move on to HOW. You will be better prepared to buy the right camera when your know what you want and don't have.
2. Take one photo a day.
Follow your curiosity by taking the picture, then ask questions later, like why do I like that. Or not. Use your intuition as your GPS to take you to unexpected, interesting places within and without. Or find a place you love like a favorite park, garden or event as a starting point.
3. Plan the adventure.
Weather is a factor, but don't let the rain dampen the creative spirit; in fact, it can enhance it.
4. Pay attention to light.
Light is one of the most important factors when shooting. Photos taken in the early morning or late afternoon create contrast because of the shadows which create a mood and add drama. Consider elongated shadows, fog and glistening dew as nature's props. Noon is a good time to shoot subjects you simply want to document due to the lack of shadow.
5. Stoke the creative fire.
Take pictures of your subject from different angles, and if your camera can do it, from different apertures and shutter speeds. Experiment and make mistakes in order to learn about the how of the camera so you can control what you say and how you say it. If you use a digital camera, view how the picture was taken - from aperture to shutter speed using photo software on your computer.
Digital Cameras: after the shoot, download your pictures. Look, learn and listen to what your inner critic is saying. Look at the photo from different vantage points before deciding to keep it or toss it. Can the photo be saved using software to crop, straighten or cut out "dead space?" A useful tool is the histogram which allows you to adjust the light and dark fields. Use photo software to check the shutter speed and aperture. This software is available for free with most digital cameras and is invaluable to educating you to taking better pictures.
For point + shoot and SLR cameras: get your film processed and transferred to a CD using the highest resolution possible. You may have to request this as not all film processing sites do this. Then look at the shots on your computer and follow the same steps as with the digital camera above.
7. Add fuel to the creative fire. Read. Research topics on photography that excite you. Start by using the catalogue at your public library to order your book or DVD online. I will be writing a piece with useful links in a future post.
8. Take a course. Assess your photography level in order to build your knowledge base. Private schools are great as they can quickly ask you a few questions over the phone to discern what level you are at and what course to take. For real beginners, I recommend taking a course through the local school board. They are more affordable and less intimidating. The private schools are best when you want to push your knowledge even further.
9. Have the right equipment. I took my course with only a digital camera while the course we structured around using a digital SLR. While I adapted what I learned to my camera, this put me at a disadvantage. And there were things my instructor could not answer as a digital camera's tools vary and differ from a digital SLR. Now saving up for a top end digital SLR.
10. Join a photography club. Once you have a basic understanding of photography and have a collection of photos you like, joining a club will motivate you to push your limits and increase your understanding. Clubs offer group discussion which is invaluable to see your work more objectively as well as to learn from the work of other members.
11. Go deeper.
Photography is an exciting, easily accessible rabbit hole to enter when discovering your authentic voice in the creative process. Learn to keep a camera with you wherever you go. For the instant pics you want to take on the fly, the point + shoot cameras are best as they are easy to carry.
With time, the operative words - play, fun, explore and discover - will evolve into the a ha moment, the wow factor, surprise + joy as you traverse deeper. Enjoy - the journey IS the destination.
A great link to get you started + stoked: