Learning Curves

by | Jan 16, 2012 | Uncategorized

So I’m trying to learn to take pictures. Good pictures. Honestly what I want to be able to do is take pictures of my knitting designs, my kids, my husband, and my dog. That’s about it. I don’t want to start a photography business. I just want my pictures of my family to speak to me, and I want my pictures of my knitting designs to sell stuff. That’s it.

This, apparently, is a very tall order. There are so many things to learn with the picture-taking. And photography people? They are mean. I joined a few photography forums and apparently the idea of constructive criticism is lost on (most of) these folks. They love nothing better than to rip an amateur photographer to shreds. I don’t get it. And then I go and look at the websites or flickr accounts of these so-called experts… and we are not impressed. At all.  I guess I just don’t understand the not wanting to help people. I mean I guess technically they are sometimes giving good information, but it’s hard to see it when they are blasting you with the hate.

And just for the record, I haven’t really experienced the vitriol myself. I’ve just watched it. It’s like they take glee in shooting folks down. I tell you what, if I ever hire a photographer the first thing I’m gonna do is see if I can find them on those forums. Because if they are asshats (like so many of them are) they ain’t never getting my business.

But I digress. As usual. My point is, there’s tons of information out there, but I’m having trouble putting it into something cohesive that I can study. And Lord knows I can’t ask any of these folks. But I’ve been working through a Ben Long book that is written specifically for the camera I have, which is the Rebel T1i/500D. And I’m actually slowly learning stuff. Like how to use fill flash for something that is back-lit…

And how the different white balance presets work and how to create a custom white balance…

Although I think I might like one of those nifty grey cards. The thing is, for my business, I can’t decide if it’s better to try to learn these things on my own, or pony up and take a class. It’s a very slow time of year for my business, so it’s hard to justify the cost of a class. How did you learn to take awesome photographs?


  1. Barbara Benson

    While I do not condone people being butt munches to newbies, I can understand where the vitriol comes from. Since digital SLR’s have come down in price anyone who has the dough to buy one all of the sudden thinks that they are going to be a professional photographer. There are some hard feelings.
    That being said, I am not a professional, but I started learning photography from my father when I was in my early childhood. I have taken classes & read books yadda, yadda, yadda. While I am not the best with all of the new-fangled bells and whistles on a digital camera (especially unhelpful because we are a Nikon family), if I can help you with any of the basics I would be happy to try and answer any questions I can.

    I pretty much use the digital camera exactly like I have always used my manual camera, the only difference being how the info is recorded (digital vs film). With regards to exposure, ISO, aperture control, shutter speed, composition ect … ect … those I can help with.

  2. Dorian

    Practice, practice, practice.Play with your depth of field and exposure times. White balance: you probably don’t need to customize, just choose the correct setting for the lighting you’re using. Play with Photoshop, Elements is easy to use.
    For a pic that’s back lit, if you can’t change the placement of your object, use your flash. If it’s too harsh, I think you can change the exposure (that -1, 0, +1 thingy).
    btw, I just finished your Stravinsky shawl, and I enjoyed every stitch. I’m so pleased with the results. I am giving this to my future daughter in law as a wedding present. I used a soft bone white yarn, Peekaboo. We’ve met before, I live in J.
    Your designs are beautiful, Thank you.


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