How to be a better photographer

by inspiredrd on December 2, 2012

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

Practice, practice, practice.  Then practice some more.

1. Practice on your kids until they threaten to run away.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

2. Practice on a sweet family who won’t mind if you have no clue what you’re doing.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

3. Take a class where you get to practice while you learn.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

I did all three of those things this weekend.  As much as I wish I would have taken the class before doing a family photo shoot, it was nice to have that practice the day before so I could know what I needed to work on.  Things like keeping people in focus when they are moving around (unlike the food I’m used to shooting, kids move around a lot!), getting the lighting right, and getting great candid shots.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

This was my first photography class, and I absolutely loved it.  Jessica Downey (above) did a great job of going through all aspects of photography and giving us a chance to practice what we learned along the way.  Things like…

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

Getting that beautiful blur and recomposing your focus.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

Taking food photos outdoors,

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

and in.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

And my biggest obstacle so far, keeping a moving object in focus.  Jessica actually rode her bike up and down the street so we could practice keeping her in focus.  Brilliant!  It was such an “aha” moment for me, I’m still excited about it.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

At the end of the day, Jessica’s assistants set up a photo shoot in a local field with a family and some cute props.  What better way to practice than on a real family?

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

This was one of my favorite shots where I was able to capture the light in a glowy ethereal way.

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

And in this one, I used my new knowledge of keeping a moving target in focus to capture this cutie on a swing.  I also love the little sun flare.   Speaking of movement, here are two more…

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

 I’ve had quite a few people tell me lately that my photography is “amazing” and “why do you even need to take a class?”  Well the truth is, out of 500 pictures, I might get 20 really good ones.  And guess which ones I post?  The good ones.  I’m largely self-taught which means there is still SO much for me to learn.  That’s why it’s so important to keep practicing.  Because for every great shot I post, there are 50 that look like this…

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

How to be a better photographer from InspiredRD.com

So you want to be a better photographer?

Keep practicing.

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  • http://www.livingsimplyglutenfree.com Sherrie @ Living Simply Gluten Free

    This is a great post Alysa! Such beautiful pics and an inspiring message for the inspiring food photographer that I am. The photo of your daughter is brilliant.

    Stay well,
    Sherrie

    • inspiredrd

      Thanks Sherrie! If you look back at old food photos on my blog, even the best ones were pretty bad. Practice definitely helps!

  • soozwebby

    You’ve found the (simple) secret, Alysa! In my days of shooting sports for a daily newspaper, I would use 8-10 rolls of film during a basketball game(36ish frames per roll and yes, I know I’m dating myself by talking in terms of film rolls) and 4-5 shots would be worth running in the newspaper!

    Now we are so lucky that digital photography makes it much cheaper and easier to shoot the TONS of frames needed to get those 3-4 great ones. Keep shooting and shooting and shooting! And have fun.

    • inspiredrd

      Thanks Susan! I can’t imagine learning on film. That would have been so much harder! Definitely thankful to be able to take as many as I want and delete the ones that are horrible. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Becky @ TOHG

    Over the previous year or so that I’ve been following your blog, I’ve noticed how much your photographs have progressed. They are beautiful and I enjoy seeing your moments captured. Just thought I’d share that with you!

    • inspiredrd

      Becky, that encourages me so much. Thank you!

  • http://stephaniesheaffer.com Stephanie

    One of the things on my LifeList is to take a photography workshop! http://stephaniesheaffer.com/lifelist/

    Hopefully soon. :)

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  • http://www.chirpydphotography.com Jessica Harris

    You did an amazing job Alyssa!! My favorite image is of Ms. Leila sticking her tongue out, in focus or not I LOVE it! Jessica is the sweetest and so easy to learn from glad you got to do the workshop!

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