I would give almost anything to go back to this moment when my now pre-teen son was just four weeks old – not only so I could kiss his sweet baby cheeks – but so I could use the skills I have now to take a photo of him that doesn’t make me cringe today.

I loved this photo because I’d captured his sparkly eyes wide open and a hint of a newborn expression.  I even showed it off in a frame for many years.

Now when I look at it all I can see is how washed out his skin looks and how badly his right arm is chopped off.

Of course, I’m glad to have any photos of my first baby at all.  Those days in my life will never return.

But I wish I’d known then what I know now

Back then I didn’t have the skills to capture how beautiful my babies were to me.

Here’s another photo I loved.  Such a sweet gummy smile.

Too bad his skin looks orange/red, his hands are blurry, and his little feet got chopped off.

There’s that cute smile again, but this series of photos is oh-so-blue! And the harsh lighting – ack!

No problem – slap a sepia filter on it! 🙂

I didn’t know the first thing about how to get good color in a photo or proper exposure.

More funky skin tones and limb chops here…

Everyone starts somewhere

I share these photos not to make fun of myself, but to show that everybody starts somewhere.  

I’m living proof that it’s possible to go from being clueless about photography to taking photos you love.

After my third child was born things began to change.  

Check out these photos from her first year:

Can you see the difference?

I was just getting started and I still had a lot to learn, but I was light years ahead of the photos I used to take.

One skill I learned changed everything…

Be sure to Pin this for later

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With so much technology at our disposal today, activities requiring skill and artfulness are being lost.

Take bread, for instance. Homemade bread is yummier and usually healthier than store-bought bread, but so much less convenient.

In our quest for easy, we always lose something.

This holds true in photography. Our camera phones require no skill of us at all.  And for many moments, their convenience makes them the best choice…

but…

once you get the hang of it, learning how to take control of your camera settings can be one of the most rewarding skills you will ever learn and can make the biggest difference in your photos.  It’s not as hard as you think,

and it’s well worth the effort.

As I look back over my photos over the past few years I can see my skills progressing:

Over time, I learned to see the light…

I learned how to compose and edit and polish my photos…

I learned how to capture authentic moments…

…but the turning point in 2012 was getting my camera off of auto mode and learning to shoot in manual mode.  This was the one thing that changed everything.

I learned that I’m smarter than my camera. My ability to see the light and choose what’s most important in my photo beats my camera’s auto settings every time.

My Only Regret?

-not learning sooner. 

I missed so many great photos of my first two babies because I didn’t have the skills I needed to capture their little years.

But I’m so thankful for every great photo I’ve captured since learning how to use my camera.

It feels great to look at the back of my camera now and feel a rush of excitement over what I’ve captured.  No more cringing.

I’ve never regretted the time and effort I’ve spent learning photography.

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