In October, during my Clickin’ Moms course, First Steps with a DSLR, I became a better photographer. I learned to take my husband’s camera out of Auto and to adjust for different styles. I learned about working better with my subjects, a bit about composition, and, most of all, how to use the Exposure Triangle (that’s Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed.)
What was the outcome? I learned to better adjust photos to focus on and catch the sharp details I wanted to focus on. I learned to play with light and color and how to get the best shots of my kids and subjects. In other words, I don’t think I’ll ever use our DSLR in Auto again.
The best part of all of this is that I have confidence in picking up the camera, practicing, and learning more. And I absolutely love all that I’ve learned.
Is a Clickin’ Moms class right for you?
Keep in mind I’ve only taking the initial First Steps class at this point. And I can honestly say I learned tons. If you’ll follow me back to September, I shared pictures that I used to take. These were good pictures. They weren’t sharp; they weren’t balanced; they didn’t take, well, very much of anything into consideration when it came to photography as an art. Or even a talent. Or, really, a hobby. I hadn’t learned a photography lesson since overnight camp in the 80s and, back then, I was far more excited to work in the darkroom than to learn how to take awesome pictures, and, well, that didn’t get me far in the digital age, now did it? (Shout out to professional photographer Annie Schlecter who DID learn beyond the darkroom at camp. Photo-idol, that girl.)
You can see my photos improve throughout the course by visiting my Flickr stream. You’ll notice that there were some lousy shots, but you’ll easily see the elements I worked on and improved. I mean, for starters, the dial moved out of Auto. That’s a big deal for a huge percentage of us, right?
I take better pictures. I know what aperture, ISO, and shutter speed mean, and while I’m still practicing, I definitely understand how to balance and use them.
Here’s what you need to know
A Clickin’ Moms class is a commitment. It’s entirely online, so you can do it at your own relative pace– you’ll need to budget for at least 4 hours of reading, practicing, and processing time each week, usually more as you and the class will also benefit more by being an active participant in the group discussions.
Notice I inserted the word relative to define pace? Keep in mind that each lesson is active for a week, so you won’t be able to say “ehhh. I don’t really feel like working on this until Sunday or next Monday… I can put it off for next week.” You can’t. So sign up for a period of time where you really can actively participate each week.
I’ve never taken a live course, and I’d like to. I’m very hands-on and learn much better that way. I like to ask questions. I like to try things right away and be able to say, “wait. I don’t get that.” Because this is a photography course, it’s still very hands-on. I’d read the lesson (it usually took about an hour) and take notes on Monday nights. For the next few days, I’d try things out on the camera and run back to the discussion forums (which are private for just the members of the course) and ask questions. Questions were always answered within 24 hours and often much sooner. Over the weekend, I’d spend a good hour or three taking pictures (notebook with me), trying out everything in the week’s lesson. And on Sunday, I posted my homework to the group for “evaluation,” analysis, and advice.
The intro class, Shooting 101: First Steps with a DSLR, is a beginners level course and has a lower price point than the other classes. It’s also a week shorter, making it a great way to get started and see if it’s right for you.
Will I take another class?
I’m learning a lot of new photography tips online, usually finding photography articles pinned on Pinterest, which I’m then repinning into my Photo-Learning Board. And, when I have time, trying out those tips to learn new things. I like learning at my pace.
I can definitely see the benefit of another class where I can focus on growing my hobby. The next progressive class is Shooting 102: Master Manual Exposure, but I’ve already learned most of those elements online, so I may skip ahead to Shooting 104: Intro to Natural Light. (I feel I covered a lot of Shooting 103: Foundations of Composition in my undergraduate graphics classes. I’m sure I’d get a lot out of that, too, but I would rather focus on something that’s entirely new to me. Perhaps taking the course as a study along would be a good idea.) I really like that the course descriptions offer a detailed area so you can truly see what you’ll be focusing on through the course.
I’d still like to take a local live class. One that can teach me what to look for as we’re walking through town or through Longwood Gardens. And I definitely feel that, when it’s time for that class, I’m ready for it now that I’ve learned how to move on from Auto.