The woman who has modeled in several of my recent photo shoots asked if I could teach her how to use her own camera better so we set up a photography lesson. I really enjoy teaching and photography so this was a treat for both of us.
She let me know that she is mostly interested in outdoor portrait photography using natural light so we met up in a park with another friend. I had a few exercises for her to go through to help understand light better. We talked about composition and backgrounds. After that I suggested some places in the park she could try various photos, but it was up to her to take the pictures. I just offered assistance to help her get the look she was going for with her equipment.
Before we went to the park we spent some time going through Lightroom and setting up her camera. We also did a few test shots to give her an idea of how to shoot pictures inside using natural light.
Background I have always been interested in photography. I got a hold of a film camera when I was about 10 years old and played with that for a while. From there I had a couple of my own point and shoot digital cameras. They were not very good and offered no control. I do have one point and shoot that I still like to use from time to time. I have always enjoyed taking pictures. I take a lot of pictures. I used to take it seriously for a while, get frustrated, and then just go back to grabbing snapshots. This cycle repeated itself.
About 5 years ago I got a DSLR and started trying to learn how to control my photo results more. I read stuff online and watched YouTube videos and continued to play around with photography. Around that same time I got a copy of Lightroom. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but pushing the sliders around was fun and I really enjoy editing pictures.
What did you want to learn? I had ideas of what I want pictures to look like in my head, but I didn’t know how to make that happen in the camera. I know how to draw. So I can visualize something in my head and then put it on paper. I couldn’t do this with photography. I have been seriously trying to understand photography – shooting in manual mode so I might understand what is going on – for about one or two years. I could make an image brighter or darker. I could make more or less of the image in focus. I could not understand how all this stuff worked together. I couldn’t unify everything into one image to get what I wanted.
I wanted someone to show me the mechanics of my camera. The names for everything. What they did. How to set the settings.
I wanted someone to walk me through taking a picture from idea to completed image.
I wanted some tips on how to work faster.
I wanted to know the names and definitions of the different parts of Lightroom. In particular I didn’t really understand tone curves or the histogram.
Did you learn what you wanted to learn? Yes! I still need to practice using the techniques you showed me to get faster but you showed me everything I wanted to know. I love knowing what all that stuff in the viewfinder means now! I’m glad you showed me that extra stuff about seeing how a person is lit too. I’m going to be paying more attention to lighting in the future.
Was it worthwhile? Yes! Before when I was trying to teach myself, I would find articles or YouTube videos that were either much too basic or much too technical. There didn’t seem to be a middle ground. I would try to learn something. It would take a long time. In the end I would be frustrated and discouraged and wouldn’t want to shoot for a while.
It was very different with you. I got the exact answers I wanted right away. I got confidence as I tested what you were telling me and it worked. It was exciting to have an idea and then be able to make it happen. I could look at images that weren’t perfect and I would know what I needed to adjust to get the results I wanted. When we were done with our class, I wanted to run out and shoot even more stuff!
Below you’ll find some images she took when we got together for her lesson and from our first photowalk (see my images and article here). She did all of the Lightroom work herself from color correction to cropping without any oversight by me. I am presenting her work as she gave it to me. I think it is quite good for a first try. There are two exceptions. I re-edited the image at the top of the article to fit the format and I included one image I shot and edited myself using her camera.
If you or someone you know in the Jacksonville, FL area is interested in learning more about photography, please contact me for rates and availability.
All images in this article (with the exception of one noted below) are copyright 2016 Lenae Lowe and are presented here with the artist’s permission. Use without her consent is prohibited.