Left Coast By Design

Chris Can’t Shoot

Before I continue, I’d like to point out for those of you who think I’m talking about firearms, the title is likely still true – but this one’s about cameras. Just sayin’.

Sunset & Fountains

A Kihei Sunset

If there’s one thing I’d like to do this year, it’s to figure out how to take better pictures. I’ve always been interested in photography since I can remember, so it’s a shame that I feel that I’m limited to whatever an AUTO mode on a camera can provide me. Further complicating matters is my need to learn by seeing & doing (a Kinesthetic learner for those keeping score at home), so simply reading the manual or a book doesn’t quite cut it.

I’ve had some thought that going on a photowalk with someone would probably be best, but considering the cost of such events from the pros, not sure it’s all in the cards. So how else does someone become as good as a photographer as Rob Masefield or Allie Henze? Keeping trying? Yep… going to have to do that. But I’m also thinking there are other avenues.

Suggestions anyone?

Update: For those asking, I currently use a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT and a Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS.

Categories: Photography

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  1. Hey Chris!

    Firstly let me just say thanks for the generous mention in your post above. I’m genuinely flattered.

    You’re lucky that you live in one of the most diverse and picturesque cities in the world which is dripping with a pool of inspirational hobby photographers, far more talented than I, from which you can learn plenty.

    There’s really only a few rules you should follow if you want to sharpen your skills. They go something like this:

    Simple rule, simple to follow – you just need to have the motivation and discipline. For example, conduct a year-long photo project. A shot a day, every day for one year. I’ve never done one in the past, but decided to give it a shot this year in a bid to further my own skills.

    Whatever area you think you a a little weak in (portraits, abstract, landscapes etc), make sure you attempt over and over again. You’ll get there – I promise!

    I’ll be the first to admit that “photo walks” can be a bit of a drag when your personality doesn’t gel with the other participants. I mean you want to have fun at the same time as learning right?

    Do the rounds of places like Flickr and other forums, get to know other Vancouver-based photographers who you get on well with online and like the work of, and get out there and shoot together.

    Pick cool events with lots of activity, movement and photographic opportunity like zombie walks and other big public occasions.

    Ask for feedback from people you trust. Tell them to be harsh and speak their mind on first impressions… and don’t be precious yourself.

    Don’t feel the need to defend a shot if it gets criticised. Everyone has different tastes, so learn from people and what they don’t like about your work. You may not agree, but you absolutely can learn a lot this way.

    Hope those help you out a little mate!

    • Hey Masey – I am quite serious that I think your work is top notch. In fact, there has been quite a few times that I would have liked to use some of your images here within a post or two, but never had the wherewithal to ask permission (flickr has you on all rights reserved).

      Anywho, thanks for the tips. I am thinking I probably need to figure out how to venture off of AUTO mode too – seems to be such a waste to have a DSLR and not really get the full benefit out of it.

  2. I’d recommend what I did. Originally bought a Canon Rebel XT way back… and never took it off the auto settings. Such a waste. Decided to take a beginner’s course, night school through the VSB. Cheap… and it gives you the basics. Both in class learning and going out to various places and shooting.

    After you have the basics down… Then just go out and play. Photowalks are good, though I’ve never really done one. My skills definitely improved that way.

    • That sounds like a pretty solid idea. Ideally, I would like to take a class close to home – Richmond obviously. I really should try to find the Continuing Studies booklet to see what happens to be offered form the Richmond School Board.

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