Guest Post: My Photography Journey

I am so excited to have one of our readers write a guest post for Live Snap Love today! Jan has come such a long way in her photography journey that I thought some of you just starting out would find hearing about it inspirational. I love hearing peoples stories as it shows we all start somewhere, and get better and better the more we learn and practise. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Jan!

Hi everyone!  My name is Jan, and I’m thrilled to write a little progress post in hopes to encourage you on your photography journey. 

I got my first DSLR in 2008.   I’m a determined, get it done, stubborn kind of person and tackled studying manual mode with full force for at least a year.  There was just one problem.  My brain and numbers aren’t friends.  I got completely bogged down with thoughts that went something like this, “Ok, if my aperture is a low number then I have low what i see but then there’s a high amount of light and uh, I give up!”  Can anyone relate?  I took a local photography course.  That didn’t help.  In my stubborn pursuit, I read books, studied diagrams, and asked strangers questions.  I decided after about a year of total confusion that manual mode wasn’t for me.  I sadly went back to auto and continued on my merry way photographing my everyday.  I loved the stories of my photographs.  However, the photographs I printed and the photographs in my head looked completely different.

I didn’t know how to straighten or compose just yet.

I had shutter speed and white balance issues.

I didn’t understand how lighting influences a photograph.

I’m struggling with highlights, focus, and neon green grass, gotta love it!

Then I took a little photography 101 class through www.shootflyshoot.com.   For some reason, it started to click!  Then I found Audrey’s blog, and WOW, I hit the jackpot of good information.  As you know, Audrey has a gift for explaining things in a way that makes sense (thank you Audrey, you are my photography hero!)  I signed up for a breakout class through Clickin' Moms.  I started taking more and more pictures with a purpose in mind.  I planned.  I understood a little better.  I practiced.  I soon realized that I needed better ISO range and sold my road bike to fund a new Nikon D600 and 50 1.8g lens.  Isn’t it interesting how life changes and you’ll sell your most prized and loved racing bike for a camera? I purchased Lightroom 4 and poured many hours into learning the ins and outs of editing.

Audrey’s focus and metering posts were major influences in helping me understand how to operate my camera on a more advanced level.  I learned how to spot meter off my daughters’ skin and play with different lighting situations.

I spent hours and hours on clickinmoms reading forum tutorials.  I’m currently taking an indoor lighting course that is helping me see the light and use it to capture my vision. 

I love photographing my everyday.  How else will I remember that my daughter puts her shoes on the wrong feet and loves to work puzzles with her precious dimpled hands?  I’m so thankful for my everyday and all its little details, and I love that I’m on a journey to learn how to capture those moments better and better everyday.

I was an elementary teacher before becoming a stay at home mom, and I would tell my students Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”  I think that we all need to remind ourselves of that important truth, even in the little things of life.  I failed miserably for years in photography.  Slowly but surely, I’m learning more everyday. 


menucha said...

Hi Jan, thanks for posting! I really enjoyed reading this and I found it very inspiring. I've only just started my journey in photography (2 months ago)and I'm getting overwhelmed just thinking about how much there is to learn! You've come a really long way it's amazing!! I just gotta take it one day at a time and not expect to wake up one morning and get everything right ;)

Mike said...

An absolute fabulous shot is with the kid hand and the piano.

erjohnmarsh said...

Very interesting read, and I love, LOVE the photos!

emiarch said...

Hi Jan! Thanks for your post! Very helpful! I need to ask you about with lens did you do the shoots above, and I love the matte finish you added to you pictures. Witch actions do you use to achieve this? Thanks a lot!

Jan said...

Im just now seeing this, so sorry! I use presets because I'm a Lightroom user. I got a set of free presets by Caroline Jensen on clickinmoms that I just love. I believe I used one of those presets on the back of my daughter's head picture. The others....I just did a little tweaking here and there.

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