I’m here today with our Artist of the Month, Judy Glenn. Judy is a fantastic photographer who loves to capture God’s creation with her lens. She’s going to tell us a bit about what it takes to become a photographer.
How can someone become a photographer? Anyone can be a photographer; you don’t have to have credentials behind your name. I am constantly doing things to improve my photography skills. There’s a professional photographer in my church who agreed to mentor me. We meet at her house when I have a list of questions I need answered. I also ordered the text book she used in her photography class.
Where can we learn more about photography? Check out your local Center for Continuing Education or join your local photography guild. I took a photography class in Athens and look forward to learning more through the photography guild. There are also several websites I love that have wonderful how to articles from taking great photos to composing the perfect shot. You can also order tutorial DVDs or go to your local bookstore and pick up one of many photography magazines.
What’s the best photography gift you’ve ever received? For Christmas, my mother and brother-in-law gave me Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. It is a software program that allows me to view, edit and manage my photos. If I take a photo that is very dark, I can go into the program and add light. I can also crop, add color or writing and a lot of other neat options. The program definitely makes my photos better! I would like to get the high end Photoshop program, but it is very expensive.
What is a good camera for a beginner to use? Based on your needs, you may only have a point-and-shoot camera to capture occasional photos of family and friends. Do the best you can with what you have or can afford. If you want to learn more about photography, I would suggest a digital thirty-five millimeter camera with automatic and manual features. It took me forever to step out and take photos in the manual mode because I am a perfectionist and do not like to mess up or try something new. Shooting manual is a learning process, and I mess up some photos, but I can promise you, it makes for a better photo! You are the one in control of the camera, telling it what you want instead of the camera making those decisions for you.
How do you get those great up-close shots? I have a camera that accepts interchangeable lenses. My shorter lens is for everyday photos, and I attach my longer lens for my nature photos. If I took a photo of a hummingbird with my smaller lens, I don’t think you would be able see the hummer very well in the photo. There are also macro-lenses that let you get real close to the subject. Instead of buying an expensive macro lens, I screw on a set of close-up lenses to help me get close shots of flowers. These lenses are cheap compared to the expensive macro lenses. I also invested in a decent, easy to carry tripod. I don’t have a very steady hand for taking photos. The tripod gives the camera stability which will cause the camera to shake less. With less shaking of the camera, the photos will come out sharper. My tripod has a swivel head which allows me to adjust it quickly as the hummers are fluttering around!
How do we get started as photographers? The best advice I can give to you is to get out and take a lot of photos! Find what you are passionate about and spend time researching where to take photos of that particular subject. On the internet, I recently found a wildlife refuge only one hour from where my Dad lives. I went there in July and was in Heaven because there were a billion birds flying everywhere. I plan to spend all day there in December. You also need to know your subject. I know where the hummingbirds love at play at The State Botanical Garden of Georgia. I know their favorite branch or palmetto they like to land on. This is from spending a lot of time in the field observing them. Did I mention you need a lot of patience waiting to get the perfect shot? I love photography; it is in my blood, and I will constantly strive to make myself a better photographer. Jesus is extremely instrumental is helping me get the perfect shot! Hopefully, these tips will help inspire you to also become a better photographer.
Thank you, Judy, for being our Artist of the Month! We’ve enjoyed your photographs and getting to know you and how God has inspired you to use your gift for Him. For more of Judy’s photography, please follow her at Seeing Through God’s Eyes.