Some of the most attractive hobbies are those that allow your to express life’s stories. Photography, for example, is a way to express your various roles in life and highlight your finest expreriences.
The best stories, of course, are based on relationships. It’s not only about you but about the most important people in your life. Although the details of your experiences will blur in time, the lens of your camera will capture those precious moments when you were with those you loved.
Additionally, stories can be about the places you’ve been to and the things you’ve done. The sunset pictures when you went to Hawaii on your honeymoon or the pictures of your chocolate-colored Labrador leaping in joy the day you returned home after a tour of duty deserve to be remembered in technicolor.
If the idea of becoming an amateur photographer interests you as a way to vivify and immortalize your personal story, how do you begin?
Start Where You Are with What You Have Now
The sooner you start, the less likely your enthusiasm is to fade into “a good idea at the time.” If all you have is a smartphone, that’s more than enough. You can obsess about buying the right camera and getting the best equipment later.
Take Plenty of Pictures of Everything
The best way to learn how to do anything well is to do plenty of it. When you start to take pictures of everything, a curious thing happens—you notice the world around you in a new way. Familiar things reveal themselves to you in an unfamiliar way.
Taking lots of pictures forces you to decide what’s worth capturing. This, in turn, will train your perception to notice color and hues, shadows and light, straight lines and curvatures.
Appoint yourself as your family’s official photographer and shoot perfect family photos. Go to the local park and capture pictures of squirrels holding nuts in their paws. Visit your state fair and snap pictures of happy children on a carousel.
Refine Your Craftsmanship
After you’ve developed a reputation among family and friends as an incorrigible shutterbug, it’s time to refine your craft.
First, educate yourself about photography. Buy books. Read blogs. Ask questions. You may also want to sign up for a photography class to learn directly from an experienced photographer.
At some point, too, you’ll realize that you need to improve your tools to take the type of pictures that you want to take. Now is the time to invest in cameras and photography software to take your photography skills to the next level.
Photographers are like journalists—both always need fresh material to stay relevant. Just as “breaking news” isn’t attention grabbing if it’s a rehash of what happened yesterday, so, too, there is a limit to how many times you can sneak up on family members and take natural-looking pictures.
The best way to seek adventure is to go places and do things. Although no newspaper editor is sending you out on assignment, send yourself out on missions to capture interesting images. If you’re stymied on where to go, speak to fellow photographers to come up with interesting assignments.
Share Your Skills
Teaching others is the best way to learn something better yourself. Think about creating a photography blog where you share your photographic capers. Talk about how you used the law of thirds to a take picture of a moose at Rocky Mountain National Park. Besides blogging, consider sharing your ideas with a Facebook photography group.
By sharing what you know and by discussing photography with others, you’ll increase your awareness.
Exhibit Your Photos
If you’ve taken all these steps, you’ll get to a point where you’ll have a collection of remarkable photographs. Why keep these beautiful images to yourself? Share them with the world.
First, find a place where you can show your work—perhaps, a coffee shop, or a library, or at a country fair.
Second, choose a theme.
Third, print and frame your chosen photos.
Fourth, hang up your pictures for all the world to see.
In conclusion, once you appreciate photography as a way of telling your story and as a visual art, you’ll get increasingly better at it. In the fullness of time, you’ll create a network of friends and followers and share your knowledge and your images with a wider and wider audience.