Over the weekend, I managed to finally get myself down to one of the Photography Course for Beginners sessions in Sydney, and I canít believe I hadnít gone earlier! So many questions were answered during this class, which would have saved me a lot of the headache and frustration Iíd been having these past few weeks.
The class was held at The Rocks, Sydney, which is a great place to take pictures of interesting architecture and iconic Sydney sights. Unfortunately for us, the weather didn't cooperate ó it was overcast the whole day, and drizzling lightly at the beginning ó but we made the most of it where we could.
Nick, our host, handed out a very useful printout of what we were going to cover in the class, which also had detailed explanations on the basics of exposure and composition. We started with the Holy Trinity: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO; and Nick gave us some examples of his experience with each. He also pointed out parts of our surroundings as examples of when to adjust which settings, and helped us find where the relevant buttons were on our cameras ó which is really important, because I get lost trying to find some of them!
The biggest challenge of the day was probably when we walked around taking shots. Donít get me wrong, itís fun to practice, and it really helps you put your newfound knowledge to good use, but composition is hard!
I'm very sad to say that composition is my greatest weakness at this point in time. Even with Nickís explanation of framing, leading lines, rule of thirds and selective focus, not to mention his incredibly patient guidance, I found myself staring at the scenes before me and internally wailing "I donít know what Iím doing!Ē Often times, Nick would watch as I tried to compose a shot and failed, then giving me a nudge in the right direction.
I managed to get some good shots with leading lines; if I had to pick the composition element Iím most confident with, it would be that one. Iím getting the hang of the rule of thirds, but that needs more practice, especially since Iím having trouble with finding what I want to be my main point of focus in a picture. I suspect that I just need to pick something interesting before I point my camera, rather than seeing a nice view, pointing the camera and then trying to find a specific point of focus. Oh, the things you learn.
One big thing I came away with after the class was how differently you start looking at the world around you, once you start thinking like a photographer. That isnít to say I am one right now, but listening to Nick talk about how he composes a shot is an eye-opener. It really makes you pay attention to the little things around you, like the way the light shines through a leaf when looking up a tree, or how a simple shot can often be stronger than a complex, busy one.
So whatís my next step from here? Practice. Constant practice. I might start with taking photos of food or objects, first, so I can get the hang of composing with a particular focus in mind, before I move onto bigger things.