keep on snappin’ on

I’m ever so very thrilled to be writing my first post for the photography/design section on Farmgirl Writes.  Dear Amanda was sweet enough to invite me to be a regular contributor here so that I could share from the bountiful reservoirs of photographic information that reside in my head.

Ummmm, except, not.  To keep it real, my name is Hannah, I love chocolate, and two years ago if you’d have asked me what “DSLR” or “Aperture” was, I’d have returned your question with a blank stare.  And I’m still learning so much…like, I finally figured out what “ISO” technically stood for a few weeks ago (even though I’d known how to use it for several months).  I’m so not a genius, folks.  I’m an amateur photographer who is learning new things daily.  And I can’t wait to share some of them with you.

I thought that for my first post, I’d talk about stumbling blocks.  Confessions are good for the soul…and these are some photography-related ones of mine.  This post has been written mostly to myself–so please learn from my mistakes, okay?  Here are some of my best “reasons”  for not taking the pictures I (and you, too) could be taking…and why they’re actually really lame excuses.

“reason” 1: I don’t have a “good enough” camera, lens, flash, photo-editing program, whatever.

Very often, I wish I could raid B&H Photo and Video.  Because I’d like a higher-quality DSLR, flashes, and a whole bunch of new lenses.  But listen – it’s completely the photographer (that would be you!) that makes or breaks the image.  Seriously, I’ve seen totally gorgeous pictures taken with little point-and-shoot digital cameras.  And then not-so-great pictures taken with an expensive DSLR.  It’s all up to you and your ability to photograph: an ability that comes more and more with practicing, in whatever conditions.

Before I saved up and bought my Canon Rebel, I had a point-and-shoot that I used for almost a year, and loved it.  When I bought it in August of ’09, I honestly had no clue what I was doing with it whatsoever.  The following was my first “favorite” photo that I had.  Heh.  (I’m using macros to try to make a good comparison…not because I consider myself a macro photographer or anything.)

(kind of out of focus, annoying glare, harsh lighting/shadows, and i loved it. eh.)

But?  Just about nine months, lots of mistakes, and a couple thousand photos later, I felt that I’d really gotten to know and control my camera.  I was a better photographer.  And with that same camera, I was taking pictures like this…

(subject in focus, a bit of bokeh (!), lovely light on raindrops, i’d edited it nicely…maybe not the best, i still like this picture.)

Look at it this way: if you can take beautiful pictures with your point and shoot and edit them nicely on Picnik.com (up until last week that was where I did all of my editing), you’ll be a scary sight once you have a pricey SLR plus Lightroom and Photoshop!  Don’t underestimate yourself.  Why not defy gravity? 😉

“reason” two:  what’s there to photograph?  It’s icky outside, nothing’s “happening”, and I’m feeling hopelessly uninspired.

I was experiencing Photographer’s Block (which I’m convinced exists, guys) a month or two ago…and feeling uninspired to photograph is definitely no fun.  I think, though, that the antidote is to just do it.  Sometimes it means arranging an outing for yourself, bribing your sibling into modeling for you, or booking a flight to Europe.  Okay, kidding about the last one, I think…though for me I know it would totally do the trick.  Sometimes that means stretching your creativity, finding beauty in the mundane, and looking at life in a different perspective.

out of focus

I’m sure you can find something to photograph if you look hard enough.  Some of the most beautiful things in life are what we take for granted or don’t notice at first.

“reason” three:  Toting my camera around and taking the pictures I want will be embarrassing.

Yes, I understand that self-conscious, whatever-shall-they-think-of-me-and-my-camera thing.  I’m a rather petite gal with a biggish camera. And that generates stares: especially when I’m in action, perhaps bending in a funny position to get The Shot.  Occasionally I’ll even receive those meant-to-be-kind “so…um, do you like photography?” comments from passers-by.  (Which is a totally dumb question because that should have been obvious that, yes, I do.  Heh.)

IMG_4273
But my new motto for these situations is this: WHO CARES?!  (Isn’t that a great, original motto, everyone? I know.)  If you consider yourself a photographer, then why shouldn’t others consider you one, too?  When taking pictures in public, keep in mind that…

-if people are staring at you, you’ll probably never see them again.  (I repeat this to myself constantly.  And it’s true.)

-if people are staring at you, there is a good chance that rather than thinking you’re from Mars, they think what you’re doing is really cool.  After all, whenever I find myself looking at someone taking pictures, I don’t mean for it to be belittling.

-if you’re wanting to take a certain picture and don’t, you’ll probably regret it afterwards.  Yeah…definitely.

-whatever the case may be, you’ll be regarded as a {most likely talented} photographer – which is what you consider yourself to be, right?  In fact, I’ve gotten people requesting me to come somewhere and take pictures as a result of not being afraid bring my camera places and shoot.  How fun!

“reason” 4: But I’ll never be as good as this person, or as that person…

I’ve been guilty of this mindset…quite sadly.  While usually looking at photography blogs is a huge inspiration, it can also be a pitfall, because I start thinking how I just can’t do that.  And somehow, that makes me want to give in and give up…which completely doesn’t make sense.  Like, of course I’ll never “be that good” (which I shouldn’t even be saying) without practicing.  Next time I feel that discouragement, I’m going to go outside with my camera and take pictures.  Just to prove myself wrong.

Which is what it all comes down to: practice.  Picking ourselves up when we fall.  Taking pictures in any circumstances, with whatever gear, despite uninspiration.  Deciding to take a photo every day, or every week, even if it’s difficult…it will so pay off in the end.

So, my challenge for you?  Stop making excuses and take more pictures. Challenge yourself!  I think you’ll find it rewarding…heck, if you’d like you can even tell me about it in a comment or an email. 😉

Happy Snapping, friends!

IMG_1462Hannah m is a Christian, homeschooled, teenage gal who adores photography and aspires to one day have an international wedding photography business to combine her loves of photographing, traveling, and, well, love.  She is a daughter, sister, friend, student, artist, blogger, and most importantly a woman of faith.  In her Christ.  She blogs at Hannah’s Hangout – writings of a christian girl and shares her photos at Clicked and Captured….would love it if you stopped by and said “hi!”

2 Replies to “keep on snappin’ on”

  1. hannah, I love you. (: this was a beautiful post!

  2. These were great tips Hannah 🙂 I'm looking forward to more!

    ~Liz B

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