In order to get my BFA , I had to take classes in everything from Art History to Sculpture even though my emphasis was Design. Photography was included, of course, but it was a film class as digital cameras weren’t yet the norm. I loved taking photos but seriously disliked the dark room aspect. There were too many opportunities for me to lose all the work I’d put in getting just the right shot and as a result, I figured photography just wasn’t for me. A decade later and I now own a Canon Rebel T3i – a great digital camera for someone who wants to pretend they’re a pro. Feeling confident in the various automatic settings, I was anxious to start shooting in manual mode but needed someone to physically show me how to do so. There is no doubt I’m a hands-on learner!
I signed up for the Click Mama Click workshop hosted by two crazy talented photographers here in England – Amanda of Footsteps Photography and Jennifer of J Butterfield Photography. They put in hours and hours of work getting ready for the workshop and it definitely showed. Everyone came prepared with a copy of the digital workbook the girls had written and we were greeted with gift bags filled with lens cleaners, camera straps, a phenomenal photography book and lots of candy and other goodies. They explained the Exposure triangle and for the first time ever, shooting in manual finally clicked! And the concept wasn’t even hard; I just needed someone to explain in terms that I could understand.
After making sure everyone understood the basics of shooting in manual, we headed outside to put our knowledge into practice. The girls even offered to let us try out their lenses to get a better sense of depth of field, aperture, etc. This was my first time using a 50mm prime lens and it definitely took some getting used to. Once I figured it out, though, I was hooked! While these aren’t the most beautiful shots ever, they are the first set of photos I’ve ever shot in manual and I want to record them forever on the internet so a couple years down the line, I can (hopefully) see how far I’ve come.
We started with stationary objects and lucked out that Jennifer’s yard had just started to bloom with these pretty yellow flowers. And just to keep it real, all these photos are straight out of the camera – no editing whatsoever.
This is Amanda – she is a wealth of knowledge of all things photography related and has become a new friend. I’ve actually started blogging her photo sessions which is part of the reason I’ve been absent here on my own blog. I love looking at her work and am constantly inspired by her creativity.
After getting the hang of outdoor shooting, we slipped inside for a delicious lunch of homemade soup, rolls and the most delicious cupcakes ever. There were all types of coffee and tea as well – these girls gave us the 5-star treatment!
After lunch, we had another learning session talking about white balance, sun flare, composition – the works. Then it was back outside for more trial and error. Jennifer’s daughter modeled for us (isn’t she cute!) and it made me respect photographers even more. Photographing flowers is one thing; getting a beautiful shot of a giggling, moving child is another!
Jennifer let me try out her fish eye lens warning me that it can be deceiving to your depth perception. Oh how right she was! I almost fell over when the horse I was photographing tried to take a nibble of the lens. He looked much further away than he actually was!
In just a few hours, I felt like I learned more about photography than an entire semester of film shooting in college. Digital cameras are a whole new game and with the immediate feedback, you can learn so much more quickly. I was so hooked after the workshop, that I came home and played around with the things I had learned. I can’t get enough!
If you’re interested in seeing some action shots from the workshop (and also some beautiful photography), check out Amanda’s recap here. Sign ups for the next workshop have already begun and I can’t recommend it enough. I will absolutely be attending any and all future events put on by Jennifer and Amanda!