How motherhood made me a better photographer
Over the past few years, I've fallen in love with a medium that I never expected to. I felt so lucky as a teenager, who'd already discovered their life's calling; I didn't know what it was, all I knew was I loved to use my computer to create art and eventually I graduated to become a Graphic Designer, and not a day has gone by that I'm not grateful for discovering the passion that propels me forward to this day. Then Archie came along, and everything changed. You'll always hear how having children will change your life, but I didn't realise how strongly they'd inspire me, how I'd suddenly feel such a huge push to be creative, to do more, for them, for myself, in every aspect of life.
The birth of my first child spurred the birth of my blog, somewhere I could gather together all my interests and skills, somewhere I could log all of our memories, and through blogging, I discovered photography. I started to delight in taking photos of the boys, in capturing every moment of their babyhood in the hopes I'd never forget it. Even now, the photos of their wrinkly newborn skin, their skinny limbs and the look of newfound love written on our faces in those photos means the world to me and having a place of my own to keep them, to record each developmental stage or each new word or phrase, or to share our own stories of parenthood, is everything.
These days, I rarely leave the house without a camera in hand and I used to worry about witnessing every moment through a lens instead of through my own eyes; I used to put pressure on myself to ensure I was always present, always in the moment, not stressed about capturing the shot, but as my knowledge of cameras has grown, and my photography skills developed, I've relaxed and trust my instinct to know when the shot is right there in front of me and when it's time to put the camera aside.
I've also started to offer up my camera to Archie, to give him a chance to take the reins, to capture what's in front of him and to get a feel for whether he may be interested in my hobby one day. I've realised that photography is so much more than knowing how to use a camera, so much more than preparing a scene or setting up a shot. I used to trash anything that was slightly off-focus, that wasn't arranged the way I'd imagined, and now I see the beauty in those shots and how it can be the moment you're taking a picture of, and not the image itself that defines it.
I've spent plenty of time writing about the technical side of photography and now I want to share that other side, the more important part, the thing that will keep you picking up the camera until it becomes second-nature.
Your subject. Your subject is everything.
I took photography A level in college, something we were pressured to take alongside graphic design and something I was not interested in at all. I really tried to enjoy it; I shot the macro close-ups, the abandoned buildings, the moving light. I made the camera out of a box, I developed film, I learned about the chemicals and spent so much time in that dark room. I wanted to feel something, but I never did. I dropped out after 6 weeks and never regretted my decision.
And then, a good 6-7 years later, something came along that I wanted to capture, all of a sudden there was something that pushed me to see the value of taking photos. Those macro flower shots will remain at the back of my hard drive for all of eternity, but the image of my two sons together for the first time is something I will always cherish. Photography is 10% technical, 90% is finding what you love to capture, something you'll never tire of seeing and recording.
If you're looking to take photography further, take a look at the latest camera deals on Groupon; a good camera is always an investment and something you need to take time over considering what will suit your needs. When I realised my Panasonic Lumix point & shoot wasn't capable of taking the photos I wanted, I traded in for a Canon EOS M, my first foray into shutter speed & depth of field, and then when I'd pushed it to it's limits and needed something more powerful, I saved and saved and bought the camera I still have to this day, the Nikon D3300, my constant companion.
It's a hobby that takes time and investment, but to discover something that you love makes it all worthwhile. For all that technical jargon explained, feel free to check out my previous photography tips posts but the main thing to remember is have fun, find your happy place and capture what you love.
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