[Photography] How To Encourage Your Gift

A walk around my university campus in Sackville, New Brunswick.

A walk around my former university campus in Sackville, New Brunswick.

Are you stuck in a photography rut?  Do you want to improve your skills but aren’t sure where to start?  This post is for you!  I was recently asked this question by a friend of mine and thought I’d share my thoughts.

Question:

My wife is really good at photography.  I love the pictures she takes.  But she doesn’t seem to pick up her camera for months and I want to inspire her and encourage her gifting.  What did you do to motivate your self?  What things did you do to encourage your gifting?

Answer: 

  • THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO: Keep your camera out of the bag and in an easy to reach place.  You will be much more likely to take pictures if your camera is accessible.
  • Project 365: A project that challenges you to take at least one photo every day for a year.  I completed my first Project 365 in 2014 and it was a very worthwhile and helpful experience.   If that seems like too much you could do a Project 52, which is one photo per week.
  • Daily Photo Challenges: There are many daily challenges that give you a prompt for inspiration.  My favourite one is from Fat Mum Slim.
  • Come up with your own project.  I started The Most Important Thing project a few years ago to develop my portraiture skills.  Take your passion and turn it into a documentary project.
  • Go for a walk every day and bring your camera.  Try to explore as many new streets and places as you can!
  • Keep yourself accountable: share your images on social media and with your friends.  People’s likes and comments always encourage me to keep going!
  • Get a good editing program for your computer like Lightroom or Photoshop(I recommend Lightroom for beginners as it is more user friendly)
  • Do free portrait sessions if you are interested in portrait photography.  There is no better way to get better at portraits than just going and practicing!  I gave so many free sessions when I was starting out and it definitely paid off!  Offer a session for a family, a friend with a newborn, or a couple who just got engaged.
  • Similarly, get involved in an existing project like Help Portrait in which you do a portrait session for someone in need.  I plan to take part in this year’s event which is happening on December 3rd.
  • Hire me!  I am starting a portfolio review service in which I will review twenty of your best images and lovingly critique each one, helping you to know what you should work on and how you can improve.  I am offering this service for $30 CAD right now!  Contact me for more information.

Some other ideas you could try for a week or month:

  • Shoot everything with one lens.  If you only have one lens, consider buying or renting a new lens.
  • Process everything in black and white.
  • Take a picture of a stranger.
  • Shoot everything at the lowest aperture your lens will go.
  • Shoot at night with a tripod and slow shutter speed.
  • Shoot everything that is colourful.
  • Enter Contests – online, magazines, Jones Soda Labels… do a search!
Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.26.47 PM

A couple of years ago my Dad suggested I submit a photo to the Jones Soda company.  I sent in two, and this one was chosen!  I was over the moon!

One of the best things you can do is just bring your camera with you everywhere you go.  I caught the following images because of slugging my camera around.  Yes, it’s heavy and cumbersome, but it’s usually worth it😉

nature (4 of 8)

seba black and white (1 of 1).jpg

I didn’t have the best light in my apartment where we used to live so I would bring my children and camera to the park where I had lots of beautiful natural light.

chess men (1 of 1)-2

chess men (1 of 1)

I love capturing natural scenes like this.  If I have a friend with me I’ll ask them to sit near what I really want to take a picture of and then snap away.  Yep, I’m sneaky like that.

What do you do when you’re stuck in a photography rut?

how to encourage your gift.jpg

One thought on “[Photography] How To Encourage Your Gift

  1. eldonhay says:

    Dear Lindsay,
    Thanks for this fine blog! Love the wagoners heading toward Centennial Hall. And the other superb photo of Sebastian. What a fine photographer you are, and teaching the craft to others
    Anne joins in sending love
    Grampa

    Like

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