Given that I only picked up a camera properly five years ago, nowadays I can’t imagine life without one! I guess it became one of the eye-opening all consuming things that made me question a little what I’d been doing with my life beforehand…
I can’t think of a more fulfilling hobby, creative outlet and an incredible way to make a little bit of money in this new visual world of social media. So far I guess I’ve learnt everything more or less myself, but I’m constantly looking for ways to evolve and develop this most incredible medium…
TAKE A COURSE
There are so many good course out there focussing on different things. Some on the nuts and bolts of doing a specific type of photography and others on editing or Instagram. Recently I went on a night photography course with the London Institute of Photography. We traversed central London with our tripods from 8pm-11pm, course founder and leader Holger Pooten taking us round his favourite spots and gently coaxing and guiding us in the ways of night photography – trust me, it takes a mix of skill, patience and luck! And a good steady tripod; my old shaky one was unfortunately not up to the tremors across bridges we set up on over the Thames. LIOP offers a huge selection of courses, plus taster courses too, for extremely reasonable prices (and see the LIOP Challenge below to find out how you could win yourself £150 course voucher too!).
For Instagram obsessives, expert Sara Tasker from the gorgeous account and blog Me & Orla is currently offering a free 7-day Instagram online course straight to your inbox plus photography and styling workshops which you can see the latest of and book tickets here. And the insanely popular – already booked out til the end of the year – 1-to-1 Instagram mentoring which you can contact her about here.
Emily Quinton also offers a range of photography and styling workshops for bloggers and makers which I haven’t been on, but definitely do look good so definitely worth checking out too! And you can also find some lovely looking Brighton-based styling workshops by Emma from A Quiet Style, so check them out too! For making films for Instagram the absolute expert is the brillant, colour-passionate Xanthe Berkley, you can find her e-classes and courses here.
Nothing quite gives you a purpose like taking part in a photography challenge. I love how you need to grapple with a theme and think how you’ll take your best shot for it. Of course there are the biggies like the weekly #WHP hashtag challenge by Instagram but there are so many others too. I recently took part in the LIOP monthly challenge – last month’s challenge was to photograph a kiss (my effort above!) and you can sign up to receive the challenge by email and if you take part in all 12, you’ll receive a £150 voucher to use to towards a course. Sign up here!
The other thing to look out for is regular hashtags to take part in where your photo could be featured on the associated account (always a lovely way to accrue a few new followers too!) or you make the ‘top 9’ which is a fab way to network and have your work seen by others. I regularly kick myself for not doing this enough as there are so many good ones about:
- Check out #fridayfacelessportrait by Lapin Blu (and Sarah-Lou’s brilliant tips for taking self-portraits with your iPhone!)
- #momentsofmine run by @hannahargyle with her favourite posts being featured on _momentsofmine
- #prettycitylondon by @prettycitylondon‘s @siobhaise
- #prettylittlelondon by @prettylittelondon‘s @dr_dfillipo
- this month #aquietstyle_gather by Helen of #aquietstyle
- #embracingtheseasons by @hanbullivant
- #anatural_autumn by @circleofpines and @littlegreenshed
- #mystillsunday and #byarrangement by @kimklassen
- #littlestoriesofmylife by @circleofpines (and this month’s comp #littlestoriesofmylife_wearestardust)
- #aconsideredhome and #natureinthehome by @littlegreenshed
- #peninpractice for Pen users where the best shots will be featured weekly on @olympusuk;
- #prettydoortraits by @prettydoortraits‘s @ariannasdaily
PRINT YOUR PICTURES
This is something I keep saying to myself and never doing! Even though I bought a little photo printer just for it. OK, I did print out one picture on a canvas which I’ve hung in the sitting room (a favourite New York cityscape shot I took!) and now the plan is to do a couple more. I did the canvas via Photobox which worked just fine and I’ve just seen a lovely little photobook that @meandorla has just reviewed, so check it out. Been wanting to do one of these for ages!
LOSE YOURSELF ON A PHOTO WALK
This is pretty much my favourite thing to do. Wondering the streets of any city, seeing where the twists and turns will take me and what I’ll stumble upon. The other day I took an hour between appointments to get a little bit lost in Marylebone and stumbled upon the most beautiful and picturesque mews. Sometimes it’s just fine to do on your own and other times it’s great to hook up with people. You can find out about London Instagrammer meet ups here. Or head to somewhere super picture worthy like Kew Gardens and spend the day moseying about the gardens and hot houses – I had a gorgeous day there recently, snapping away – see pic below!