Learning new things and skills is something I love and something that gives me energy. Since I always take pictures of my dogs every chance I get, I decided learning photography would be a great idea!
How I found my “teacher”
When I want to learn something new, I want to learn from someone who is skilled at whatever I want to learn, and who is also skilled at teaching others. I had seen Emily’s beautiful dog photos on Instagram, and I knew she was a former teacher, so when she announced she was starting a Learning Community (an online portal) for learning dog photography, I signed up!
The reason I am calling it an online portal, and not an online class, is because the portal contains more than “just” lessons. It has live workshops, discussions and several useful resources. As a teacher, Emily knows that different people learn in different ways, and having several types of sources for learning is perfect. I love it!
The added benefit of it being online, and always available, makes it perfect for me to fit into my schedule whenever I have the time for it.
Learn by doing and repeating
Before doing any of the lessons, I spent quite some time getting to know my camera, and learning all the different settings. I combined the information from the Learning Community, with a few Youtube guides specific for my camera, to figure it all out.
When I had a better understanding of my camera, I tried out some of the “homework” from the first lessons. Taking pictures while listening and repeating lessons was very useful, and I learned a lot quickly this way.
As I got more confident on how to use my camera and the settings, I started feeling more creative. I tried out different locations, different lights and different dogs.
Creativity comes and goes
Photography is fun and challenging at the same time, and I learned quickly that creativity is not something you can force, because it comes and goes. The best pictures I have taken, have been because I have been inspired by someone or something, and I feel excited and motivated to get a great photo.
Some of the talented photographers I follow on Instagram:
- Inspawration Photography
- Ve Shandor Photo
- Tatiana Pet Photography
- Audrey Bellot Photos
- Anne Geier Fotografie
Dont be afraid to fail
On my “learning journey”, I have tried many different locations, settings, poses and lighting conditions. I always keep in mind I have to try, not be afraid of failing or that it will not turn out perfect. Trying and failing is as much a part of learning as trying and succeeding.
The most important lesson for me, and one I am still working on, is to slow down while taking photographs. Taking the time to look at your photos, think about the settings and how you can change them to achieve what you want, while also checking the direction of the light and the position of the dog. I still forget at least one of these, especially taking the time to review the pictures while on location. Still learning, and love it!
Remember the model (the dog)
Most of my pictures are of Zen, even though I have several dogs. The simple reason for this, is that he doesn’t mind standing in one spot however long I need to get my settings right. He is happy to do it for the cookie he gets after. My other dogs know the stay command just as well, but they can become uncomfortable or bored if they have to wait for too long, so when I do take their photos, I try to do it as quick as possible. In other words, not in challenging conditions when I know it will take me time to figure out everything from settings, to light direction and to posing.
Also, I always reward my dogs for their work. Normally with a treat (or cookie as I like to call it), and sometimes with a toy if I have it with me. And even though Zen could stand in one spot for quite some time, I normally try to keep it in short sessions at a time. Take pictures, release him, review the pictures, adjust settings and then position Zen again.