Ashley Spaulding, Clickin Moms mentor and head of the CMU workshop “Lifestyle Photography with Kids”, recommends putting your personal touch on your images with smartphone photo apps like Nik Software's Snapseed, Totally Rad!'s PicTapGo, KitCam and VSCO Cam.
“I use my iPhone camera every day for both quick snapshots and more creative photography,” says Amy Lucy Lockheart, a Clickin Moms mentor and teacher of the CMU workshop “First Steps with a DSLR.” Lockheart recommends downloading and backing up iPhone photos regularly. “I would be heartbroken if I lost months of precious photos due to a misplaced or stolen phone!”
“Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more,” says Spaulding. “Digital is so awesome in that you can shoot without worrying about the cost of developing film or about running out of exposures on your roll. All that practice can help develop your eye for strong compositions and interesting storytelling within your images," she says. If you don't like what you see, just delete and move on.
“Good light is key and flash can kill the pretty colors and soft skin that you see in real life,” says Lynne Rigby, a Clickin Moms mentor and teacher of four CMU workshops, including the acclaimed “Best Darn Beginner Course Ever”. Rigby recommends turning off your flash and just using the natural light.
Lockheart says one of the best pieces of advice she gives her friends is to simply slow down. “Before snapping the picture, take a close look at the entire frame. Include what is important to your story and no more.” If you are capturing your daughter’s silly toothless grin, then move in close. If you want photos of your kids running in the sprinkler, she suggests moving back to include more of the scene. “Slow down, look carefully, and then make simple adjustments so your photos stand out.”
Before you do anything, Spaulding says it's essential to read your owner's manual. “I know the last thing you want to do when your shiny new DSLR arrives at your front door is sit down with the manual before even taking your new 'toy' out of the box,” she says, “But it will pay off in the long run.”
Find video tutorials for your specific camera model and follow along with your own camera. “Once you understand the basics from your manual or from videos,” says Spaulding, “you'll feel much better equipped to go out and shoot, and chances are your images are likely going to turn out a lot better too.”
To get the most out of your DSLR, take classes -- either online or in person. “Just make sure you do your homework,” says Spaulding. She recommends reading reviews on the courses you're considering to make sure you feel comfortable that it's going to be a good fit for you. “I took two online courses through Clickin Moms when my interest in photography really intensified, and those courses truly set the foundation for the photographer I am today.”
Quick Tip: Ready to step up to a DSLR? Check out the newly designed Canon EOS Rebel SL1, the world's smallest and lightest digital SLR camera.
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