I have no aptitude for photography. None.
I first started caring about photos when my son was born, and then later, when I started growing my blog, and that’s when I found out that not only did I not know anything, but that I had no talent whatsoever for photography.
I always like to tell people when the subject comes up that I’m proof that all you need is dedication and hard work – talent notwithstanding – to get good, or at least decent at something. And it’s proof that you can do it too.
Let me put a little disclaimer here: I know I’m not a fantastic photographer, but let’s be honest, three years ago, my food photos looked like this:
And now they look like this:
So I’ve come a long way.
And here’s how I improved my photography skills, and how you can do it too!
7 Tools That Will Massively Improve Your Photography
DSLR Photography Made Easy. This is the first book I read, because it was – and still is – FREE. It teaches you the basics of photo positioning – the rule of thirds, etc. – and the basic manual settings on your DSLR camera as well as work arounds for point-and-shoot cameras – which is what I had when I read it.
Shortly after I read the above book, my sister lent me her backup Nikon D-80 camera. The automatic setting on it was pretty smart, so all I really had to focus on was photo styling, which I was still terrible at doing, so that was a nice break.
When Johanna eventually took her camera back, I went back to my point and shoot for a while before investing $300 (which is super cheap) in a used Canon T2i kit. The T2i body is a fairly inexpensive step-up body, but after talking to a lot of amateur and professional photographers, (who had a tendency to recommend thousand dollar plus cameras!), I finally came to the conclusion that a cheaper body was fine, because it would allow me to upgrade lenses. So, a few months ago, after hearing over and over that I needed to upgrade from my kit lens, I finally invested another hundred dollars into a “nifty fifty” Canon 50mm lens.
anyhoo, shortly after acquiring my Canon kit, I invested in another book.
Tasty Food Photography. This book is fairly expensive in my opinion, but I didn’t care, I needed better photography, and I’d heard a LOT of great things about this one. True to its reputation, Tasty Food Photography walks you through camera bodies, lenses, settings, and all the way to food styling and props, to photo editing. (In case you can’t tell from my pics, I still haven’t really gotten into the world of editing yet.) If you’re a food blogger, or interested in photographing inanimate objects at all, I highly recommend this book!
Trisha Hughes. I have learned so. much. from this lady. She is such a genius food photographer and has so much free information on Periscope and Youtube that is just fabulous; and also has a book called Eat Pretty Things that I haven’t personally bought (yet), but have had recommended to me by several different people. The nice thing about Trisha is that while she’s a fabulous food photographer, she doesn’t just focus on food, so her teaching has helped me in learning to photograph other things – like my kids.
Shultz Photo School was the very first e-course I ever took. Of course, I signed up because it was FREE, so even though my own focus was food photography, and he teaches parents how to take amazing photos of their kids, I had nothing to lose. I ended up learning SO MUCH from this one free e-course! Lighting, positioning… it was all there. And I loved how much Mr. Shultz humility and passion for teaching parents how to take family photos came through. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Click. Love. Grow. Another course where I’ve only taken advantage of the free material. Bit of a habit. 😉 There is loads of great material on the Click Love Grow site to absorb even before you even think about courses!
Click It Up A Notch. LOADS of information to absorb here too – and Trisha Hughes is a contributor!
Practice, practice, practice. No matter how many books you read, videos you watch, or courses you take, Nothing takes the place of getting your camera out, and taking photos. I don’t know about you, but I am so incredibly grateful for the digital age, and the fact that I can take thousands of photos for free – no film buying, or paying for development. There’s literally no excuse for not practicing these days! So get your cameral out, and take pictures of stuff. A few weeks ago, I went to the farm to take pictures of the animals, then I walked up to my in-law’s house to wait for Gabe to come pick me up after he was done with his chores. Nobody was home, so I took my camera out and started taking pictures. The more pictures I took, the more things I found that I wanted to photograph – flowers, vintage jars, the basket of eggs, the bowl of fruit – the more you practice the keener your eye becomes toward photography!
These resources helped me SO much with my photography, and while I’ll probably never be a genius level picture-taker, I’ve managed to get good enough to have a few of my photos go viral on Pinterest. That’s a n ice boost to the ol’ self-confidence. 😉
But more importantly, I’m confident that these things can help you if you apply them – photography education, and the resulting ability to record beautiful memories with your family is a priceless investment.
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Lou from Click Love Grow says
Thanks so much for including us on your roundup, we love sharing photography ideas and articles to inspire, and I’m so glad you’ve found it helpful! Cheers, Lou
Thanks so much for including me in your roundup, Elise!! Happy shooting! 🙂
Eric Armstrong says
Don’t leave out the great benefit of joining a local or online Photography Club can do for your skills enhancement. Need an excuse to get out and take photos, join a club.
Definitely a great idea!
Nick Kelsh’s How to Photograph Your Life has been am amazing resource for me .. the website and Facebook page, plus the various courses and events that encourage, teach inspire and help you improve your photography wherever you are! He teaches in a way I can understand, and shares his passion for helping others capture life as it happens!
Thanks so much for sharing.
Love it! Thank you for the advices! 🙂
Another great site for people looking to improve their photography skills that’s helped me out quite a bit has been PhotographyTalk (https://www.photographytalk.com). They have a lot of free articles which has been great for a beginner like me.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Roman Makarenko says
Janae McKague says
Thank you so much for this information!!! I am currently working on re-launching my blog and I am desperate for good pictures! The only problem is, I suck at taking them! This is so incredibly helpful, thank you for these resources. I love your blog!
Bonnie Collins says
I’m a photographer that didn’t need much in the early years of my career because I was a photographer for Olan Mills and they had it done to a science so they could if needed pick anybody off the street and get them up and shooting in a day. This was revealed to me while camera shopping wasn’t REAL photography? I mean how dare anyone not call me a photographer after the 120 I just shot the day before. I was photographing in numbers im still patting myself on the back for the huge amount of work I did for that company. Having a baby thinking hey I can just do this in my garage on the side was in for a huge learning moment that never stops. There’s never been a class, lecture or school that had me where I felt over the curve in learning. Photography is changing as I write this and continues to bring a dedication and imagination I couldn’t live without. The best thing I ever did to really learn is stop thinking my was so awesome no matter where I learned it. To get humility (they don’t sell that sadly) and go live eat and breathe another photographers life. It needs to be someone you want to be somewhat like and love love their work. A few of my dearest friends taught me so much on all sides of that camera that I do feel confident enough to introduce myself ten times over as a photographer. That was a goal I didn’t realize I had. I love photography not huge fan of making it make money I just want to shot and can’t someone else take care of that. THE answer is NO!! Learning the business isn’t what I wanted but ended up having ti, editing not interest i had to. Even as far as went to graphic design school to really know why I didn’t like it. But love my tool box. I enjoyed reading what helped and what inspired you and excited to check it out! Its only in giving away our ideas secrets talents do I feel we are allowed to keep them. Be the first to teach people what you know. It will not hurt your business if they try to steal it. Promise I’ve been there! Your customers want you not someone pretending to be you. And thank God!
Donald Rain says
I have thought so many times of entering the blogging world as I love reading them. I think I finally have the courage to give it a try. Thank you so much for all of the ideas!
Lara Kaye says
Thank you for all the great information!
I’m adding photzy.com to the list of resources.