Thrifty Thursdays | Simple Ways to Improve your Photography on A Budget | Photography Tutorialsl

I often have people asking me questions about photography - what camera should I get, should I take classes, can you teach me?  I wish i could teach everyone everything I know, but the truth is, I don't know even half of what others know, and I basically taught myself.  Success comes from hard work and determination and consistency - stepping outside your comfort zone and doing the hard stuff to make it happen.   It takes a willingness to keep learning even after you think you "got it". I love taking courses and workshops and continue to do so. Not only do I learn new techniques, I also make new lifelong friends and find inspiration from new artists. 

I have been thinking for awhile about ways to make my blog more personal and hopefully more helpful for other aspiring photographers - whether you are just beginning, using any camera or device to record your moments, and for any reason.

Any Level, Any Camera, Any Reason.  Slogan?!

When you are new to photography, or even just new to digital photography, there is a lot to learn and it can be super overwhelming.  There is a great tendency to spend more money than we really need to as often we believe that more money means better equipment which in turn means we take better pictures. Not true. An amazing artist can take just as great photographs on a lower end camera and I personally know many talented photographers who use crop sensor "starter" DSLR cameras and you would never know it! So how can we rock what we got?

I am going to list some of the budget friendly ways I grew as a photographer and maybe some of these will help you grow as well!

1. Learn your camera! Cost: FREE!

Read your manual, study the little CD guide that often comes with some cameras, and if you bought second hand and do not have a manual, guess what? I guarantee you can find a copy of your camera's manual online as a free download! Just search the make and model and save to your computer. I promise that just knowing the ins and outs of the camera you have will improve your knowledge enough and you can start taking photos outside of "auto" mode! 

I shot with my Canon Rebel T3 for years! And actually I still pull it out as a back up now and then and the more I got to know it, the better my images became with it!

 Taken on Canon Rebel t3

Taken on Canon Rebel t3

2. Google Search Cost: FREE!

Mr. Google knows everything doesn't he?  Well, maybe not everything, but he can USUALLY help us find out what we need to know! When researching our cameras, how to use software, a particular editing technique, or maybe you just want to view images that others have created with the same camera or lens as you, Google will lead the way. Search different keywords, follow links found on other pages.  Just spend a few moment to look around, read and learn! I will say that Google has been a great tool for me especially when i was just beginning. It lead me to some of my favourite sources of inspiration, tutorials and has even convinced me NOT to purchase items I maybe did not need :)

3. 50mm prime Lens! Cost: 100-150$

You can purchase a 50mm 1.8 prime lens for under 150$! This "nifty fifty" was the first lens I purchased when I first bought my DSLR. It takes some getting used to as most of us have only used zoom lenses, you will quickly learn to use your feet to zoom by moving closer or farther from your subject! Compared to the lens that comes with your camera, which is usually a 18-55mm lens that changes aperture as you zoom in or out, the nifty fifty will stay put at the aperture you set it at. This will help you learn what settings you prefer and give you more control over the pictures you are taking. The glass in this lens is much better than the kit lens, giving you more clear images. Not to mention you can shoot with an aperture as wide at 1.8 which will give you that blurry background most of us strive for (called bokeh). 

 Taken with a 50mm 1.8 Prime lens on Canon Rebel t3

Taken with a 50mm 1.8 Prime lens on Canon Rebel t3

4. Join a Forum! Cost: Prices Range

Forums are awesome! You can learn so much from photographers from all levels, from brand spanking new (as in, they haven't even taken the camera out of the box!), to seasoned vets. The only problem may be choosing the right forum for you as there are so many! Personally, the first one I joined was Clickinmoms.  I think it may have the largest membership and is chalked FULL of information! I am also a member of The Bloom Forum, which is smaller but I love it for totally different reasons such like the inspiring photographers and all the film talk!  Most of the forums offer a free trial so I would suggest trying them out first to see which one speaks to you!  Most of them offer workshops which can be pivotal in your learning!

Some suggestions are Clickinmoms, Bloom Forum, In Beauty and Chaos, Light Inspired, Rock the Shot, and so many more! 

 Taken during FAVE - a workshop offered on the Clickinmoms forum

Taken during FAVE - a workshop offered on the Clickinmoms forum

Hopefully this helps just one of you before you go out and spend way too much money on something you do not need quite yet!  Feel free to leave a thought or question below! I would love to hear them! Or let me know if you have a topic you would like to see on a future "Thrifty Thursdays" post!

Check back in two weeks for the next Thrifty Thursday post!