As all good linker uppers do, I went around to read other people's posts. Over and over I read answers similar to "I'm OK, but I'd like to get a DSLR and really learn how to use it". It got me thinking. Three thoughts to be exact.
My first thought was, "Ya'll are being too hard on yourselves. Your photos are fine!"
A close second was, "Manual mode on a DSLR is overrated. I had a photography business, and I know how to use manual. And yet every photo I've ever put on this blog has been in an automatic mode."
And my last thought, which I will now expand upon, was, "You young moms have no idea how lucky you are! With my first four kids, the only camera I had available was a film camera!"
Pick up the camera (or phone), turn it on and start clicking, regardless of the amount of light you are in. The camera automatically adjusts to the conditions.
Film came in different ISOs that no one ever understood. You were supposed to pick out the film speed that was the right kind for the light in which you were going to be taking photos. Outside on a sunny day? 100. In darker conditions, say in a picnic pavilion on a cloudy day? a 400 would be your choice. But say you are at an outdoor birthday party, which starts out beautifully sunny, then halfway through turns awfully cloudy. What are you to do? Keep taking photos, of course, because these are moments you'll never relive, even while knowing the photos you are taking are going to suck.
We take a photo and immediately look at it. If it's good, we move on. If not, we take the shot again. And again and again until we get it right.
We took a photo and prayed it would come out. We had to be stingy with our photo taking, seeing as how we only got to take 12-36 photos before we had to change the roll. And rolls of film cost money.
|First vacation with Phoenix. That would be my hair falling in front of the lens, partially blocking that adorable face.|
Within seconds of taking a photo, we can post it for all the relatives to see.
Once we got to the end of the roll, we had to take the roll to a store to have it developed. It would be a whole week before we got to see our photos. Only then could we mail (through the real, live post office) copies to relatives.
The other option (which is the one my older sister chose almost exclusively) was to throw the used roll into a drawer with all of the other undeveloped rolls of film and then forget about them until 11 years later when you were packing to move. Years of birthday parties were stuck in those little canisters, never to be seen by a single relative.
On those rare occasions that we want to print some photos, we sit at our computer, send the photos we want to print to a store's site, and let them know how many of each photo we want.
As I mentioned before, we had to physically take the rolls to the store. At said store, we had to fill out confusing and tedious forms to let the processor know what size photos we wanted and how many we wanted. Mind you, this is all done BEFORE we even know what the photos look like.
We had two options. First, we could get one print for each frame to see how we liked them. Once we saw the photos, we could once again take the film back to the store and fill out yet another form, even more confusing and tedious than the one before to let the processor know what we wanted. OR we just bit the bullet and ordered doubles the first time around.
Every photo we have is a good one, seeing as how we simply delete the bad ones. They may not be frame-worthy, but they aren't bad.
A full half of the photos would be too dark or blurry to see what we were trying to photograph in the first place, thus getting immediately tossed in the trash. The other half of the stack wasn't good, but we could at least see the person.
|And this is one I kept! Imagine how bad they had to be for me to actually throw them away.|
Worst case scenario, we'd get the photos back only to discover the camera was broken and left big, annoying white spots on every single photo.
|No, that is not a UFO.|
Our kids sneak our phones to take pictures, usually of themselves. Since they are digital, we see them and can get rid of any embarrassing ones before anyone else sees them. The good ones we post on social media so everyone can have a giggle.
Our kids would sneak our cameras to take pictures, rarely of themselves, seeing as how there was no button to turn the lens around. It was the person who developed the photos who got to see them first. It's really only a problem when the kids try to be like mom. Mom the Photographer takes newborn baby body parts photos to make collages for clients. Child the Copy Cat takes photos of her preschool-aged brother's body parts and makes the person who develops the photos question the pervertedness of the camera owner.
We take selfies everywhere with our phones, but with a real camera one must use a bathroom mirror. We're getting pretty good at holding the camera out of the shot in order to get a good selfie.
We had to actually look through the viewfinder to see the photo were were taking. No sly holding of the camera to the side for us.
We have to be careful not to get our phones wet, as our entire lives are on them.
The one advantage we had in using film was the invention of the disposable camera. Especially the disposable water camera! Yup, you could buy a cheap camera on any street corner, then turn in the whole kit and kaboodle when it was time to develop the film. We were so excited when the water ones came out. Now, we could expand our photo-taking to the depths of the sea.
|Oh yeah. Totally worth the extra cash to buy the waterproof one.|
No one needs a big, fancy camera to take fancy photos. Technology has made it possible for everyone to be a good photographer. If you want to improve the quality of your shots, you just need to remember two things.
1. Lighting. Make sure you keep an eye on where the sun is in relation to the object/person you are photographing. Any photo that has both shade and bright light at the same time won't be all that great, especially if the sun is behind the person or if the person is splotchy from sun coming through the leaves of a tree. Interesting lighting makes or breaks a photo.
2. Composition. It's amazing what happens to a photo when you move the object off-center. Or if you crop out the extra, non-important clutter. Or if you get down on the ground and change the perspective.
Get creative with the way you take photos. Take several photos of the same object/person in different ways to practice. You'll be amazed at how different each photo can be.
But here's the thing. I don't cherish those older, horrible photos any less than I cherish the more recent good ones. Every photo I have elicits a memory from a day long ago. Each photo has a story to go with it, and the kids love to hear those stories, regardless of the quality of the photo we are discussing.
Just take photos.
Because you can.
Have a lovely day!