Wednesday, October 22, 2014

For some time now, I have been answering various emails and Facebook messages from people asking questions about photography. I have been answering these emails on an individual basis when often times, the questions are the same. Copy. Paste. Copy Paste. I thought it would be more productive to answer FAQs here on the blog.

One of the most frequently asked questions lately is: Where do I start?

Getting a new camera is exciting! Not getting the results you expected is frustrating. I know. I was there once too.

Simply having a fancy camera will not make you a photographer. Learning to be a photographer and perfecting those skills takes times and practice. Lots-of-practice! I'm sure that's the last thing you want to hear, but stick with me.

It seems many of you are experiencing information over load. Your head is filled with all kinds of terminology you don't understand and all you want to do is take photos like the ones taken by your favourite photographers.

As a beginner, you really need to start at the beginning. Forget about exposure, lenses and how to get that gorgeous blurry background for a second. That will come. It will all start to make sense. But, you have to put the time in and start with a few basics. 

Here are a few things you can do to get started:

Before you can understand the camera settings that create amazing images, you need to know where and how to change those settings on your own camera.


Start by reading your camera manual. I know. zzzzz. But, this really is the best place to start. Study each page and familiarize yourself with each button and setting on your camera. Sure, some of the information won't make sense to you now, but it will once you start experimenting. Understanding your camera will help you so much more down the road. Trust me.

Once you start practising and taking more photos, be prepared for lots of digital files taking up space on your computer or laptop. Get organized. It's a good idea to develop a filing system for your images. Early on, I created a system for archiving my images and (with a few tweaks) I still use it today.

It is extremely important to back-up your photos. As digital photographers, we no longer have the tactile quality of a hard-copy negative to fall back on. When you transfer your images from your camera to your computer, those are your "negatives." Be sure to archive the original files.

If you plan to spend time editing your photos, you may want to invest in photo-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. These programs are expensive, so consider the pros and cons before making the investment. Each program includes media libraries, which allow you to view and organize your images. There are countless video tutorials available on-line covering this topic.

OK...so you know your camera, you have a system in place for organizing your files and you're ready to start developing your skills as a photographer. Now what!?

My advice is to take it one lesson at a time - break out your camera manual. I would start by researching the following:

- Image quality
- JPG vs RAW
- How to set AF (Auto Focus) points

The goal of any photographer when taking a picture is to achieve a correct exposure. This is done by balancing the three elements of the exposure triangle: aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

To get the full potential of your camera and start experimenting with exposure and depth of field / blurry backgrounds, you need to take full control of your camera settings. Break away from auto mode! Start experimenting with the AV (A), TV (S) and M (Manual) shooting modes.

Once you start experimenting and understanding exposure, you will not only become more confident using your camera, but you will also develop your skills as a photographer and take better photos.

I hope you enjoyed my first FAQ blog post. If you enjoyed it, please leave a comment below or share the love on Facebook.

Happy shooting, 


Danielle October 22, 2014 at 8:57 PM  

I love this! Great idea Emma! It's so awesome that you're so willing to help others with photography! I remember sending you that first email not knowing what would come of it, but you're seriously the bestest! :)

Emma Hutchinson October 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emma Hutchinson October 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM  

Thanks girl. I remember that first email too :)

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