Confession. I have a tendency to become a little OCD with certain things. Recently it seems photography has moved into this space and may have consumed my life a bit. A lot. Taking photos, sharing, editing, deleting (not nearly enough), learning, looking, liking, reading about photography, dreaming about photography holidays. It’s surprising there’s been room for anything else.
It’s time consuming this photography thing, and addictive, challenging, and even frustrating – but it can be exhilarating too, like when you manage to just catch that shot at just the right moment.
I’ve also discovered it’s opened up a whole new world to me – even if it was the same one as before, which I just wasn’t taking enough notice of.
Because with a camera in hand – or even a phone – suddenly I’m seeing the world differently. I’m so much more observant to what’s around – the changing colours of the season, the glories of a sky, the character of a city, the minutiae of daily life, the expressions on a face.
And oh, the light! Once you start seeing the complexities and nuances of light and watch them shift throughout the day, you can’t un-see it. Ever changing intensities, shadows and moods.
I truly never noticed it before but now having searched for it for so long to capture in a frame, it’s constantly visible – even when the camera’s away.
That makes life one continual visual adventure, full of constant opportunities, and very slow walks.
But it doesn’t have to be a solitary adventure. For those wanting to expand your photography skills and share your passion with others, here are eight possibilities which actually involve others.
- Share your photos on Instagram. Warning, you may potentially lose your life! I spend an inordinate number of hours taking snaps and sharing them with family and others on this social media platform. But it can be rewarding. I was thrilled recently to be included in a Top 10 Canberra Instagrammers list among some talented photographers. Very addictive, but also inspiring to see what others are doing.
2. Connect with local instagrammers, if you’ve got a local group or a broader one. You can connect on online or (perish the thought) in person. I’ve participated in an art exhibition with a local group and also attended a couple of events, including a night photography ‘light painting’ evening and a tour of a historic property. Much fun and you get to travel with others who are also photo obsessed – which means they don’t get annoyed when you stop all the time or ask about camera settings.
3. Join up with a local photography group to meet others who share your passion. Activities might include meetings, excursions and competitions. Members are very willing to share their experience.
4. Do a photography course. Many workshops and short courses are available, including online learning, some free and some paid. I love in person training and last year completed one unit of the Certificate IV photography course at Canberra Institute of Technology – three hours a week for one semester. Really pushed up my skill level.
5. Join in with an online community, perhaps on Facebook. Great for learning and inspiration. Lots of ‘challenge’ opportunities to join in with to keep you on your toes and sometimes thinking outside the box.
6. Join in with the Canon Collective, and no, you don’t have to use Canon gear. They offer free and paid workshops across Australia (where you can try out some of their equipment), ‘challenge’ opportunities, an online community for advice and inspiration, and even photography holidays. An entire weekend of activities in Canberra was my first exposure.
7. Take advantage of the wealth of information available online – articles, tutorials, workshops. Many offer free stuff in the hope you’ll also buy some of their services. Digital Photography School is a great source of tips, resources and free tutorials.
8. Take an guided photography holiday. No photos of this option yet – still on my dream list.
So many options to keep you interested and inspired.
Then you just need to work out what to do with all those photos you’re collecting. But fear not, I’ve got lots of suggestions for those too coming in a separate post.