Thursday, August 13, 2015

Life Goal: Take Great Pictures

 I am a mediocre photographer at best. Amateur would be the word. Up until this summer, my photography training consisted of, like most people, taking tons of poor quality, boring pictures with your average cheap point and shoots.

But I've always felt an interest in photography and had the desire to be a little better than average, so last summer when we found a Nikon DSLR 3200 for a decent deal, I convinced my husband to get it for my birthday.

Hoo boy, was a DSLR out of my depth. So many buttons! So many settings! I dutifully tried reading the manual, but I can't imagine many worse ways for someone to pick up an artform, even one as technical as photography.

So, after nearly eight months of using our super fancy DSLR as basically a glorified point and shoot, I decided enough is enough. I was going to learn how to use that dang camera well or die trying. I bit the bullet, and bought an online photography course.

That was pretty much the best decision of my life.

I've spent this whole summer slowly (very slowly) working my way through the course, and practicing whenever I can.

My husband took this last set (we're learning together). Super fun to play around with light and shutter speed.

My goal is not to become a professional photographer or launch a photography business or anything like that. I just really want to be able to take nice pictures of my kids. I want my pictures of them to be as beautiful as the moments are in real life.

Playing with water buckets on the back deck.

Drool face.

Ragamuffin just-ate-a-cookie face. (Also, I love how both boys are making nearly the exact same face in these last two pictures. They are so brothers).

I'm not even close to where I want to be yet on this skill, but the fact that I can now look back on these pictures and say, "That's over exposed there" or "Should've framed this one better" shows just how far I've come this summer.

For me, photography was always one of those things I would have liked to do "if I just had the time." But the big thing I've learned this year is that, even with kids and grad school, I still have time. I have time for all the things I want to do and learn. It's been slow, and I think it will be a long time yet before I'm where I want to be here, but I've still been able to find the time because I finally decided I couldn't wait any longer. I just needed to do what it takes, buy the online course, watch the videos, and make time to practice.

It's a goal from my life bucket list that I'm actually working on, and it feels so satisfying. Next goal: learn how to use Photoshop (cue horror music, this goal actually scares me).

Have you found time for any similar life goals or projects? What gave you the motivation to finally tackle it? 


  1. I bought a photography class months ago, and I have yet to watch even the first video, so you're doing better than me!! However, I did take up knitting this year, and that's something I've wanted to learn how to do for ages.

  2. Sorry if this is a repeat. I did the same thing, bought a dslr and just use it as a nicer point and shoot. Where did you buy your class and do you recommend it?

  3. Hi Suzanne,
    I'm new to your blog. This post hit home with me, because I've been coming to the same conclusion. I call it the Myth of the Long Afternoon. For a long time I've put off things I want to learn or do because my time is so fragmented, thinking that when I had a whole afternoon to spend on xyz project, then I would start in. I'm finally facing up to the fact that The Long Afternoon does not exist. I have to take the 20-30 minute time slots as they come and just get as far as I can.
    A goal I've been finally doing something about has been growing a flower garden specifically for making bouquets--a "cutting garden." I've sighed wistfully many times over "Farmer Florist" blogs and visited our local u-pick flower farm and finally, I just decided to make it happen. My little flower patch is truly tiny in comparison of what I dream it could be, but it's something. And the other day I went out and snipped a whole bucketful of flowers to make into bouquets for my friends. Taking a flower arranging course is next up! :)
    Anyway... sorry to write you a book on my first comment!

    1. Linnae! Thanks for the comment, I love your story. Yes, when it comes to kids, there is no such thing as that glorious "Long Afternoon." Your garden sounds lovely, way to make your goals happen!