goal two: learn more about photography

I want to learn more about photography.


I have been saying this for YEARS.


I feel like some of you might be shaking your head at me right now. I am shaking my head at me right now.

I mean, I know about photography.

Sort of.

Kind of.

I seem to know about photography. But basically, I’m fooling you.


Basically, I know what kind of camera I have and that it has a LOT of buttons.

I know how to use some of the buttons, but there is still, in my mind, SO MUCH to learn.

I mean, okay okay, I’ll give myself a little more credit than just knowing the camera model and some of the buttons… I’ll admit that I know MORE about photography than I used to. I’ve come a long way since my point and shoot and since the beginnings of this blog. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that.

I know how to take a pretty decent pictures (at least I think I do), because I have a pretty good eye for taking good shots (again, or so I think).

But still.

I’m just not 100% satisfied. Or even 75%.

I’m satisfied with my images, but I’m not satisfied with my knowledge.

Does that make sense?

Basically, I want to know more, I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

Mostly, I think it just takes practice.

But also, a class or two couldn’t hurt.

So, my 2013 goals for photography are:

Take two DSLR photo classes (an intro, and then an intermediate)

Take a lightroom course

Take a photoshop elements course



Up until now I’ve been cheap and haven’t splurged on anything to improve my photography aside from buying my fancy cam. But I think some specific instruction is the next step I have to take to reach my goals– to feel more comfortable and more confident. The classes above are just a guide and not set in stone. If you have any ideas/recommendations for me, please let me know– I’d love to hear them!


For the most part, I will be displaying my practice on this here blog.

Tastefully, of course, but I think it’s safe to preface this goal/challenge with this:

I hope you guys like pictures.


{Read more about my 2013 goals here}


  1. I know exactly what you mean by this. I think having high standards / expectations is a great thing. It makes us not be able to settle, or be okay with a photo we know could be better. I, too, would love to put more time and effort into actually understanding my camera, and not just taking short cuts / editing them into better photos than they really are. Good luck to you!!

    • High Standards = my middle name.

      Especially in photography/design. Sometimes it’s annoying to be such a perfectionist, but most of the time I like it. Just the way I am!

  2. You should check out the forum clickinmoms.com. They host workshops, have tutorials, and provide an accessible and inspiring place to learn photography….I think they do a free trial week too. Very worth it!!

    • Thank you! I did come across that in my web search, so I will have to check it out.

      (and it means more coming from you– a photographer!)

  3. LOVE this! Definitely scour Living Social & Groupon for some face-to-face classes in Boston. One thing that I came away with from my class is to compile a digital “scrapbook.” So in class, we would take three pics with different settings. I’m going to make a scrapbook in iPhoto with the pictures and the various settings. Then I need to continue this with my practice pictures. For me, it’s a better way to commit things to memory. At some point I’m like, “what do I do with all these practice pictures??” That’s it.

    There was something much different in doing a face-to-face class than anything I could find online too. Ok, so tell me…are you using lightroom or elements in these pics? One of those MAY be my next photography purchase; however I want to keep playing around with iPhoto since it’s free. (But you know I die for those arrows…)

    • Yeah, the face-to-face would be best for me honestly. I know my brain works better when someone shows me with their hands, you know?

      I actually did get a Groupon once for a photo class in Boston, but let too much time go by and it expired. I still think I might be able to use it– at least for the amount I paid for it. I should look into that again.

      On these particular photos I used my iphone– I took them with my phone and edited them on my phone (with VSCO)– I also lightened them up a bit in lightroom– completely trial and error. I’m still a lightroom newbie, but I can already see that there’s SO MUCH MORE you can do in lightroom vs. iphoto. Someday when you’re ready you should take the plunge! (And I wrote the arrows in Photoshop Elements! Again, trial and error!)

      • Nice! (And seriously, is there a way for you to respond to my comments via email? I forget to come check back and lose SO MUCH communication +valuable info with you. Sorry, I’m needy ;))

        You should totally check on the Groupon. Although I am finding that I wish I had someone to just be one-on-one with me. I’m trying so hard to take what I learned and put it into practice, but I keep messing up. Totally failed on a little shoot I did tonight and couldn’t quite put my finger on where I was messing up (was it shutter speed? ISO? The combo of it all). Then I get down on myself..thinking I’ll never learn. Practice, practice…but I don’t want to continue to eff up pictures. ANYWAY…so would you go Lightroom first or Elements first?

  4. hear hear to all of this. i want to know soooo much moreeeee.

  5. I love your pictures, so I have no qualms with you posting thousands of them on your blog for us to look at. :)

  6. I’m on a similar mission — there is SO much I don’t know about photography and all those buttons! I’ve always loved your pictures so I can’t wait to follow along :)

    • It’s funny, because I always thought you knew so much! I guess we’re all just experimenting! There has to be some people out there who know what they’re doing, though. I HOPE! I don’t want to feel this lost forever.


    • Maybe we can look into doing one together? My friend Melanie {The Sweet Life!} and I bought our photo groupon together aaaaages ago. Maybe we can find a day that works for a bunch of us. COULD BE SUPA FUN.

  8. Your photos are some of the best I’ve seen, and I can’t wait to see your progress during these classes! Go girl!

  9. I appreciate that your goals in this area are clearly defined;”take x class,” not just “teach myself more somehow.”

    This is gonna be good. I can’t wait.

    • I figured I needed something concrete, you know? I keep telling myself I want to take a class… This year is the year to finally DO IT.

      I should set an even more concrete goal for myself: take the level one BEFORE April Vacation. How’s that for concrete?

      (and now that I’ve written it down, that is what I’ll do.)

  10. One of my resolutions is similar– I want to actually use my camera more. I am learning how to use it on manual mode, but I feel like a huge dork pulling it out around my friends or when wandering around Chicago. But I can’t learn unless I push myself to use it more! I have the same camera as you, and I have a fixed aperture 55mm lens.

    I took a one day workshop from this guy: http://dslrworkshops.com/

    It was super helpful to me, since I pretty much didn’t know what any of the buttons on my camera did! Since then I’ve been shooting almost completely in manual mode. I got a Groupon for the class, too, so it was a bargain! Good luck :)

    • So great you took that class! I will have to check that one out.

      On taking your camera out in public: JUST DO IT. I do it all the time and I never regret it later… It’s how I get many of the pics for my blog! I know what you mean about feeling awkward, but after while your friends will jut get used to it– you’ll start to be “that friend that loves photography”– I am and it’s FINE!

  11. I always love your photos and you totally have a great eye and take beautiful images. But I totally get what you mean. I really really want to know more about my camera, editing and well, just all there is to know. :) I love your goals and can’t wait to see your work.

    • There is just SO MUCH out there it’s likely impossible to learn it all. And I’m sure once I learn one thing, I’ll just find something new to lust after. But I guess that’s good, right? Setting goals and trying to achieve them.

      I mean what would be the point if nothing ever challenged us? There’s a Pinterest quote for that, right?? ;)

  12. This is such a great goal! I already LOVE all your blog photos so I am very excited to only see them get better and better. Good luck!!

    I’m nowhere near ready for a DSLR but I would like to start taking better photos as well. I have a little point and shoot that has lots of manual options. I need to start flexing its muscles a little more instead of resorting to auto mode or my iphone.

    • I just started with a little point and shoot! And I loved it!

      It’s cool your has some manual options– keep practicing! And I sometimes feel like an iphone is all you need– they take amazing pictures!

  13. Where is your camera strap from?

  14. i always think your pictures are beautiful! i have a nikon d3000 and took one class (a groupon deal) …but still have SO much to learn, and really need to practice more. i am such a slacker and definitely leave my camera in auto more often than not lately **cringes**. excited to follow along with your progress!

    • I know, I think it really is all about practice. Even when I do take a class I know I will have to practice a lot/take notes because knowing me I’ll just forget everything I learned if I don’t ingrain it in my brain!

  15. Oh my goodness you already know I’m your biggest photography fan, so I cannot even WAIT to see everything that’s to come! I need to find the time to work on photography, so looking forward to hearing your tips as they come too!

    • Maybe I should do some “tips and tricks” blog posts?

      Here’s my biggest one so far: get out with your camera as much as you can. Be a tourist! Be that crazy girl taking pictures of everything!! Seems to work alright for me… :-D

  16. That’s an awesome goal for the year! I definitely understand how you feel about photography. I feel like I’m in the same boat! There are so many things that I know about my camera/photography (thanks to Pinterest and high school photography courses) but I still feel soooo intimidated by all of the buttons and manual options on my camera! Let alone the word-packed itty-bitty camera manual…

    I’ve been trying to push myself to shoot completely on manual this year and my hopes are to someday read the entire manual as well. Good luck–not that you need it because your photos are amazing! :)

    • Ahhh! I can’t forget Pinterst! ALL THE GOODNESS.

      That’s a good goal you have– to push yourself to use only manual. I like it!

  17. I feel the same way – I havent even invested in a good camera – I want to sooo badly though!!!

    • One day I just took the plunge. I’m SO GLAD I did! There is so much more you can do with a nice camera– although I think iphones take really awesome pictures, too!

  18. If you’re ever back in Syracuse to visit, let me know. I will teach you some stuff that I know :D

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