Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Say "cheese"! (Or actually, don't.)

Two Saturdays ago I had the privilege to attend an all-day photography workshop with none other than the talented Ashley Ann. The workshop, a "SnapShop" (don'tcha just love that name?), lasted from breakfast to dinner, and the main aspect covered was learning how to shoot manually with a DSLR camera, along with photo composition, how to capture life on film (as opposed to just taking pictures), etc. It was a great day -- beautiful weather, gorgeous peak color on the trees, fun meeting other creative girls, and let's not forget, a whole glorious day to myself to relax, enjoy some adult conversation, and feed my creative soul. Thanks again to my husband for Daddy Daycare!

The workshop was at Ashley's adorable farmhouse, and let me just say, not an inch of that house was to be found that wasn't touched by her artistic hands. She has such a unique and fun style, and I had just as much fun gleaning ideas from her decorations as I did learning about the camera. She has mastered the art of DIY, and there are her own unique creations peeking out of every nook and cranny in her house.

To get an idea of her style, first go and check out her daughter's amazing nursery.

Seriously, I'll wait. Just go check it out...

Cute overload, right?

Just take that times about a zillion, and you'll have her house. Yes, the perfect backdrop for a day of creativity and learning.

The truth is, since buying my camera a few years ago, I had already taken a photography class. Right after getting my camera, I signed up at a local camera store for a six weekly sessions in which I learned all the technical terms under the sun of how to shoot manually. And yet, since taking that class, I have only shot in automatic mode. Why? Because I think it was all too technical. I would consider myself a pretty smart gal, but the technical terms I learned in that first class only helped me as far as my knowledge. I never mastered how to put that knowledge into practice.

Enter Ashley Ann. Her SnapShop workshops were exactly this -- like spending a day with a good friend showing you how to master your camera. She gave us all the technical terms, but she described them for us in a way that was so much easier to understand. All day long I was experiencing "lightbulb" moments! We had two practice sessions of shooting at her house before we headed out late that afternoon for an actual "photo shoot".

The following are pictures I took, all in MANUAL! Woohoo! Sure, I have a long way to go, but the fact that they even turned out made me pretty happy. First I'll show you the raw images of the best shots I got:

I know, I know. Adorable models, huh?

Then I tweaked the photos a little bit in my iPhoto program to make them more like the ideas I had in my head. You can click on any of them to open them up for a closer look:

The goal I have for myself is somehow to get from point A to point B -- to go from taking the photos in manual (and automatic) and tweaking them in iPhoto to taking the photos in only manual and having them be so awesome that they only look like I tweaked them in iPhoto. That means I have a lot of practice hours and bad shots ahead of me, learning to find the right balance between shutter speed, ISO and aperture. Oh, and trying to find places that have more natural light to shoot in.

(By the way, you can read Ashley's summary of our day and see the photos she took of the same models here.)

If you're in the neighborhood and wanting to learn how to become a better photographer, I highly recommend SnapShops.


Farmgirl Paints said...

Okay...yep so glad I went to her site. Love her style:) Your blog is super cute by the way.

Karen said...

OK - so wierd that she has a Cora pin - small world - Good JOb on the photos, my friend, REALLY GOOD JOB! I am proud to know you

dobco said...

What fun to learn new things and from such talented people. Keep up the good work. Me...I'm still just trying to master my little digital camera!

Ashley said...

Is it weird that I am crying while reading this post?! Thanks for your kind words about my home and the SnapShop. You put into words my desire and aim with SnapShops...thank you, thank you, thank you! I am greatly humbled....