Is it time to see the world through a different lens? With spare time up your sleeve over the Christmas break and plenty of cute kiddie/Christmas subject matter available, perhaps it could be time to start learning (or honing) the art of photography?
Whether you aim to become a professional photographer or just want to ensure your family photos albums are up to scratch for the future generations of your family, learning how to handle a camera and all the associated technology, are great lifelong skills to have.
There are plenty of ways to learn the art of photography, from selecting your subject, taking a photo and editing it to perfection. Novice photographers can learn some of these skills without even leaving their homes via the power of the Internet. If you’re interested in the paid route however, TAFE and other college-style institutions offer photography courses up to Diploma level for photographers of all levels and ages. If you think you’ve got an eye for the craft and you’re ready to move onto the next step beyond taking photos, www.lynda.com also offers online courses to enhance your photo editing skills and ultimately help you create photographic works of art. If you’re looking for a more low-budget approach, www.meetup.com hosts a large range of photography groups across Brisbane, Gold Coast and Bryon Bay with a wide variety of subject matter. You’ll learn from being with like minded individuals who will no doubt help you with any questions you have.
Getting properly set up in photography can be pricey if you are in the market for a good camera body, a range of lenses, SD card, camera bag, photo editing software – the list goes on. But, like everything, there are cheaper ways to go about it.
For instance, how seriously have you taken your smartphone camera lately? While we know them as prime selfie-taking instruments on a night out with friends, the humble smartphone camera can really pack a punch these days. At the very least, your smartphone camera will teach you the art of framing your subject well. There are even really cheap and cheerful add-on lenses for smartphones available. Typo does a fish-eye lens for iPhones as well as a macro and wide-angle lens kit, each for just for $12.99. In fact, you can really kit out your iPhone camera at Typo with an add-on flash ($19.99), illuminator lens ($29.99), bluetooth remote ($9.99), rotating panorama stand ($9.99) and even a fun kaleidoscope lens that’s currently on sale for just $2! These add-ons make great little gift ideas for Christmas and will give you and the kids reason to spend quality time together over the school holidays as you bond over capturing the best shot.
There is obviously no set age to become a photographer, however emerging Brisbane photographer Brent Luztke says he started pointing and shooting with his first film camera at age 11. Brent believes starting kids into photography from young enables them to expand their creativity as well as pick up valuable camera and computer skills. The sooner you pick up a camera the better you will become earlier. Simple.
You don’t want to go to all that work behind the lens only to store your efforts away on an external harddrive in the cupboard or in a digital cloud somewhere off in the ether. There are LOADS of options when it comes to sharing and displaying your photography:
- Digital photo frames. Rather than having to choose just one image to put in a standard frame, why not have hundreds, if not thousands, on rotation? Try Harvey Norman or The Good Guys online (prices start from $39.95).
- Photo books. These make great keepsakes, especially when built around a theme eg. that amazing family holiday or baby’s first year. Many websites offer photobook services that allows you to play with separate page designs. And the sites generally store your digital photos and photobooks indefinitely so you’ll also have a back-up copy. Here’s a hot tip: Many of the bigger photobook websites offer big discounts in the lead up to celebratory events like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas. If you aren’t in a rush for your book, file it for printing until one of these events. You’ll save 40, 50, even 60 per cent. And for an even simpler option, Chatbooks will turn your Instagram, Facebook and mobile photos into hard copy books with the click of a few buttons, from just $8.
- Trinkets and gifts. What Nana doesn’t love a photo on a mug? Or a bespoke Christmas decoration featuring a photo that junior took himself? And Pop could always do with a new stubby holder featuring his beloved family. Nowadays, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is what gift you want your photo on – there are so many options. Snapfish is even now doing photos printed on blankets!
- Apps. If you want to give your images some ‘wow’ factor before sharing them, there are more apps available than you can count pixels in a digital photo. WordSwags templates will have you turning your special photo into an even more special piece of inspirational word art in just minutes. A Beautiful Mess and InstaQuote are similarly popular other options. Canva does the same – you can even make cards, presentations, posters, blog graphics, brochures and more. These are all great options for inexpensively connecting with the long-lost rellies this Christmas.
- Prints. You might think that hard copy prints have had their day but tell me one person who doesn’t love looking at that perfect happy moment, caught in a lens and attached to the family fridge via magnets, every time they open the door?! There are also many, many options for turning your best social snaps into trendy square hard copies, for example. Hit up Google to find the best option for your requirement.
So there you have it. A little bit of photographic inspo to get you (and your family) excited about your camera these holidays. Just remember that practice makes perfect so remember to pack your camera for every occasion – you never know when that killer shot will pop up!