You made arrangements for the kids, walked the dog, and put your spouse in charge of lunch and dinner. You packed your camera bag, grabbed a notebook and headed off to class to spend the day learning about your camera and the world of photography.
You took notes. You took pictures. You asked questions. You filled your brain. You went home.
Photography classes can be fun and overwhelming at the same time. The question that is asked all the time, “Where do I start”? My answer? “Make a plan”.
Making a plan allows you to focus on what you want to practice and what you want photograph. In order to make your photography practice a consistent part of your life, here are a few tips.
- Determine how often you can realistically practice the new skills you are learning.
- Brainstorm a list of things you want to photograph. Kids, dogs, horses, landscapes, etc.
- Make a list of the skills you want to practice. If you took digital photography 101, you may want to start with just aperture priority, shutter priority, white balance, etc. If you took a lighting class, you may want to add lighting patterns, bouncing light, diffusing light reflecting light, etc. Composition class? Write down the composition elements you want to work on.
Set your schedule
This is going to be different for everyone. Once you leave class, lives get busy. Grab your calendar and choose at least one day at week in which you will practice. Add that time period into your calendar. When the time arrives, take one thing from your “want to photograph” list and one thing from your “skills I need to practice list” and do it.
If you can fit practice into your schedule more than once a week, do it. But start out with at least one time a week with very specific photography elements you are practicing.
One of the hardest things to do is to share our work and get feedback. My students have a safe place to post, share and get feedback. But it’s good to have someone that will not only tell you what you did right; but also what needs improving. This allows you to reshoot the project, make some changes, and cement what you are learning.
Many times, questions appear as we are putting into practice what we were taught in class. Do not be afraid to search out your instructor or even another classmate to ask questions.
Photography is a beautiful combination of science, math and art. There’s a lot of information that is shared in a short period of time. But once you make a plan and set aside a specific time, subject and skill to practice, your adventure in photography will become easier.