Life – My Photography Journey

Hello Everyone,

As Today is world photo day what a perfect time to share this post I’ve been working on! As some of you may have seen I recently took up photography. For now it’s a hobby and also helps with our blog but I will never shut out the dream of it being more then that. I’ve always been interested in photography and art in general. I visit the gallery of photography at least twice a month (if you haven’t been yet you should go, it’s in temple bar!).

My kit

After talking about it for long enough I eventually got my first DSLR camera for my birthday in April. I bought the Nikon D3300 in the Camera shop on Grafton St. for €399 which includes a bag, 16GB memory card and comes with a 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 NON VR KIT lens.  More details and add on extras can be seen here.

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My photography at first

I’m not going to lie, I literally thought once I had this deadly camera that all my photos would automatically be amazing. Little did I know that for at least a week (while attempting to shoot in manual) most of my photos would turn out either completely black or completely white. This was really frustrating and I started to hate the whole idea! I was dissapointed by all the photos I took, so I went against all the youtube channels I had watched and shot all my pictures in Auto. Auto is what the professionals would consider a sin. I kept watching more and more youtube channels but just could not get my head around it. Shutter speed, aperture, ISO, White balance, exposure … aaahhhh!

DSC_0463Shot in Auto, snooze fest of a photo. Pretty sure the flash flared in broad daylight!
My photography course

After shooting in Auto for nearly two months I decided it just wasn’t good enough. Like driving an automatic car and never knowing how to drive clutch. After a bit of research and a little persuasion I signed up to the 7 week DSLR course at Dublin School of photography. This cost me €199 and the timetable was every Tuesday from 7-9pm. The focus for the course is to learn about your camera; how it works, all of it’s functions. Throughout the 7 weeks we only shot in Manual (hurray!) FYI for this course you wil needed a tripod so I bought one from the college for €80.

At first, as we sat around tables in a class room I wondered how I was going to learn to take cool photos from in here, there was nothing to take photos of! Then we were told only 2 of the 7 courses actually involved taking photos out and about around the city with guidance from our teacher. I really didn’t think two practical classes would be enough, but turns out it was!

Each week we focused on a different function of the camera which I learnt determines the kind of photo you end up with. We were given homework each week which we had to show to the class. Having your photos critiqued was a bit nerve racking but it was the best way to learn. Being compared to everyone else in the class was also a great way to make sure you actually did your homework.

Before doing the course if I took a decent photo I’d be scrambling for a piece of paper wriing down the functions wondering ‘now… how did I do that?!’ But by the end of the 7 weeks we had studied the functions of the camera in so much detail  I was never shocked about the outcome of my photos. Think about the type of shot you want, set up the functions and shoot.

Topics we covered;

•Understand Shutter speeds.
•Understand Aperture and depth of field.
•Understand exposure & your light meter
•Understand White Balance.
•Understand focus points
•Understand all your Cameras settings.
•Understand different lenses, filters, tripods & other accessories
•How to freeze action in your photographs.
•How to improve your landscapes.
•Introduction to digital imaging with Photoshop on week 7
•Top ten photography tips

Types of photos we learnt to take; light trails, portraits, landscapes, product photography and a bit of street photography. Here’s some of my photos:

Light Trails

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Aperture f22.0 ISO 100 Shutter Speed 5″

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Aperture f22.0 ISO 100 Shutter Speed 3″

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Apperture f22.0 ISO 200 Shutter Speed 15″

 Portraits

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Aperture f5.6 ISO 400 Shutter Speed 1/4

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Aperture F5 ISO 400 Shutter Speed 1/125

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Aperture f3.50 ISO 200 Shutter Speed 1/100

Landscape

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Aperture f22.0 ISO 100 Shutter Speed 6″

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Aperture f22.0 ISO 100 Shutter Speed 20″

Product photography

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Street photography

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My style of photography

As you can probably see from some of the above, my style of photography varies. I tend to keep things dark and a bit odd. I love taking photos of things other people don’t even look at. If everyone is pointing their camera at a beautiful scenic view, I’ll be looking the other way at the graffiti on the wall (apart from when it’s homework obviously!) I like my photos to look different and to not be a typical photo anyone can take, whether I under expose the shot or look at it from a different angle I try to make my photos unique. This unfortunately I learnt has a lot to do with how you edit them and all the gadgets and lenses I now need to invest in. But I’ll leave that info for another post!

What’s next

For now I just need to practice as much as I can. I can’t wait to take my camera on holidays to the West Coast. Just need to figure out if I can fit my tripod in my suitcase with all my clothes!  I also would love to do some outfit shots for Amanda and our blogger friends so I can get some practice with fashion photography. So if any of you are reading this and want some outfit shots done FOC while I’m still learning, let me know. When I’m a huge high flying professional I’ll be charging you all thousands!

I plan on doing a street photography course in September and hope to invest in some new lenses and filters over the next few months so if you’re interested and want an update on these in a follow on post please comment below.

Thanks for reading

Doireann xx

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