What You Can Learn Before Getting a DSLR

pin7Photography can be an expensive hobby. Any hobby can be expensive. It is easy to get caught up in thinking that you need the most pricey equipment in order to get the best results. Before you run out and spend money, know that a good photo has a lot to do with the photographer. Google iPhone photos and you will see what I mean. If your goal is to eventually buy more expensive equipment but you cannot afford it right now, you can still learn what makes a good photo. Here are some basic photography skills you can learn. These basics are a very important foundation.

  1. Composition
    1. Rule of Thirds                                              20160711-dsc_0661
      1. Horizontally
      2. Vertically
      3. Four Cross Points
    2. Leading Lines
      1. Real lines
      2. Implied lines
      3. Depth of field
    3. Negative Space
  2. Lighting
    1. Natural Light vs. Shade
      1. Which one do you put your subject in?
      2. Which way do you face your subject?20170107-dsc_0314
    2. Artificial Light
      1. White Balance
        1. What are the different types?
        2. When do you use them?

If you have heard of these, I recommend reviewing them. You may notice some details you missed. Also, the more you read about them, the more those rules will come naturally to you. Have fun!

Old Photos

pin8I think I am a little obsessed with photography. I just joined ClickIn Moms. Once again, i don’t know where it is going to take me just like I didn’t know where Shultz Photo School would take me. I am excited to learn more.

My blog is not just a place to learn about how to photograph well. It is also to show you my journey from being a beginner to something more. When I see a professional photographer’s work, I really wonder how they were at the beginning of their photography journey. If they were to do this, then I could relate to them more and realize that if they improved, so could I. Yes, I do have faith in myself but when that faith waivers, seeing other people’s past struggles helps. With that being said, here are some past photos.

I would like to add that whether or not you know how to take pictures well, you can still document life. Even professionals will hold onto photos with mistakes (i.e. blurriness) if the photo stirs emotion in them.

Unfocused and In Australia

pin9Right now, I feel unfocused as a photographer. Should I focus on the lighting in a photograph or a way of showing my style? Should I buy a new camera body or a wider-angle lens? What online class should I take next? If you cannot tell already, I am terrible at making decisions, especially when a large amount of money is involved. Is anyone else feeling the same way?

In other news, my sister is coming to town. In 2015, my family and I went and visited her family on the west coast of Australia. Luckily, Australia is so beautiful that you can get good photos without having good photography skills. I believe I shot in automatic the whole time I was there. This vacation was just prior to joining Shultz Photography School. I have edited some of the photos but you can only do so much when you shoot in jpg. Below you will see some of my favorite photos from the trip. I hope I get a chance to get back over there.

Important Questions For Photographers

pin10Yesterday, I was talking to my husband about photography. He read my post about black and white edits and reminded me of some of the most important questions a photographer should be asking themselves…

What am I trying to capture?

What sort of feeling do I want in this photo?

Here are a couple of examples. In the first picture, I am trying to capture the excitement my daughter had of seeing her father. In the second photo I am capturing how tiny my daughter is compared to the rest of the world.

Admittedly, sometimes I don’t realize what I captured until after the photo was taken. For a long time I knew I liked the photo below but I did not know why until recently.The photo shows how delicate nature is and the relationship my daughter has to it.


I often find myself blindly taking a photo and not stepping back and asking myself why I am taking the photo. I think for the rest of the week I will make it my goal to ask myself, “What am I trying to capture in this moment?” Maybe you can join me in this challenge and let me know how you do.

Black & White Edits

pin13I have been loving black and white recently. At first, I was not a fan. I never understood why someone would want a black and white photo except for taking pictures of old stuff. I generally love color. Now that I have played around with it, I can see the appeal. Below, I have also shown you examples of these reasons with before and after black and white edits. You are lucky to see the pre-edit versions. I hate some of those original photos.

1.      The photo has too many colors and I feel like my subject is lost in all of the colors and/or you hate the color you painted your walls. For the record, her room has a nature theme.


2.      The image is way overexposed but the picture has something special in it (like my daughter’s big eyes).


3.   The picture is boring. This has come in useful with my 365 photos. I cannot delete a photo if I want to feel like I accomplished my prompt for the day.


4.      If the subject is supposed to be white but I cannot get the white balance perfectly white. Also, black and white can make a subject look cleaner.



5.  If I do not like the color of the subject, but I like the rest of the picture.


So, lesson learned…experiment. You may be surprised by what you like.

Editing Photos and a Chicago Trip

pin14I used to not like editing. I thought that if you edited photos that you were lying about what you really took a photo of. If you really think about it though, photos are not exact replicas of what you see with your eyes and your eyes are unique to you so everybody doesn’t see everything exactly the same. Yes, you can make something appear brighter, darker, more saturated than it was in real life but rather than think of it as lying, think of it as emphasizing the beauty of the scene. You can also think of it as your artwork and you can do what ever you please. I think a photo will never be as beautiful as what you would see in real life but you can try and capture as much as that beauty as possible.

On another note,my brother and I took a trip to Chicago this past summer. We love going down there and exploring. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip.

Here are Wikipedia links for more information about what I took a photo of.

Macy’s Building

Cloud Gate

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Maggie Daley Park

Horshoe Bend AZ


Lessons Learned – 365 Projects

pin12Let us talk about photography projects. I am doing a letter to my daughter every month with photos and 2-365 prompted photo projects. One of those 365 projects is Bethadilly’s prompted 365 project from last year and the other one is through Fat Mum Slim. I got through all of January without missing a day. Woohoo! What have I discovered so far?

1. Some of the prompts push me to be more creative than I usually am.

2. Some of the prompts push me to go and take a walk or go in my car and find a location to photograph. I think anything that forces me out of the house is a good thing.

3. I do not like every prompt because they force me to go outside my comfort zone. Currently, I am the most comfortable with portraits and the everyday moments.

4. I am discovering my style.

5. I am getting quicker at realizing why I want to take a photo of a certain subject.

6. I am quicker at capturing exactly what I want on camera.

7. Not every photograph is going to be perfect.

8. I have found that I am often drawn to something because it reminds me of a past memory.

Let me explain how this played out with the picture below. I hope that my thoughts in words make sense.

I went on a walk for the prompts “my Saturday morning” and “in my neighborhood” (discovery #2). I came across our pond in our subdivision which would require me to take a landscape picture (discovery #3). I specifically wanted to photograph the peninsula jutting out into the foggy waters. It reminded me of a movie or a novel such as Lord of the Rings (discovery #8) where your imagination is taken on an adventure. Fog makes a scene mysterious, I feel (discovery #5). Well, I took the first photo and did not like it. I did not know if I wanted the peninsula on the top half or bottom half of the photo because I did not know if the water or land was more important to me. They were both beautiful. I asked myself, “Why do you like this scene? What about the scene makes it intriguing? How are you viewing the scene through your eyes (i.e. the peninsula is not straight across, but below me)? As I answered these questions, I realized how I could show the beauty on camera. I needed to show the peninsula on the bottom half of the photo. I needed to zoom in, show the water and peninsula together, and make sure the fog showed up as well (discovery #6).

I hope that that makes sense. Thoughts go through our heads a lot quicker than when we write them down so you may be doing this without realizing it. Is the below photography perfect? Heck no (discovery #7) but sometimes the discoveries made along the way are more important than the final product.


Happy Wednesday!

All About Me

pin11.jpgI am going to start by introducing myself. I am a mother and a wife. I live in semi-rural northern Illinois. I enjoy many hobbies. Knitting and photography are my current major hobbies. I am usually a quieter person. I try to remain positive about life. I love nature. I do meditate and use mindfulness occasionally. I love goal setting. I am trying to find my photography style.  I am currently doing three photography projects. One is a letter with photos to my daughter once a month. The other two are prompted 365 projects. I am a member of Shultz Online Photo School. I have no clue where my photography journey will take me.

I started taking photos a long time ago. I think my first camera was a hot pink camera where I had to attach the one time use flash cube. If you do not know what that looks like, look it up. I find it funny when I compare that to the cheap cameras of today. I do not know why exactly I wanted to take photos back then. I guess I just wanted to capture life, which is some of my favorite type of photos today. I love capturing the simplicity of my daughter stacking blocks or the expression of my daughter’s face as she stares off into the distance with those big brown eyes.

No matter, I would periodically use a camera. I decided to buy a DSLR in college. I saw my sister had one and I knew I wanted one too. I bought it around 2010. I took one photo class at a local college but did not learn too much. I used the automatic setting all the way up until 2016. I started taking classes with Shultz Photo School and learned to use manual through them. I continue to learn about photography through Shultz Photo School but also through Craftsy, Bethadilly, Creative Live, Click It Up a Notch, books, and magazines. I really enjoy learning, especially when I am in control of what I learn and at what pace.

I hope with this blog I can inspire others to find an outlet for their creativity and I also want this blog to show my progression as a photographer. My first few photos may not look too amateur (or maybe they do) but bare in mind I have been taking online classes for nearly a year now. Happy clicking!