While I’d clicked a shutter thousands of times, I’d never looked at the technical aspects of photography or even thought of doing so. Why did I need to? If I got a photograph I liked, that’s all that mattered.
However, when I took early retirement, I decided I ought to consider taking it on another step now I had a bit more time to play with, and purchase what I considered to be my first ‘real’ camera - a camera that allowed me to be in control rather than relying on automatic settings.
This was going to be a big decision, and one for which I felt I needed advice. So I decided to seek out a local camera club to join, thinking that like-minded amateur photographers could provide this.
In the few years I’ve been a member, I have learned so much, so here are my top photography tips if you are considering taking up photography, once you’ve retired – after all it is such an exciting and rewarding pastime!
My top photography tips
Join a club
Seek out and explore your local camera club(s). Ask if you can attend a few meetings prior to a decision about becoming a member.
Get snap happy
Take lots of photographs. It doesn’t matter whether these are on your phone, a compact camera or DSLR, but show them to others and get feedback. This will help you to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Learn the basics
Consider attending a beginner’s course, which will give you an overview of some of the basics associated with photography, such as understanding aperture, speed, focus, RAW images and basic picture composition. (The key to becoming a really good photographer is a balance of technical knowledge and artistic skill.)
Take your time
Don’t ‘dive in’ and buy a Digital SLR, you need to have some idea about what sort of photography you enjoy, as this may affect what sort of camera you buy (e.g. one of my priorities was a camera that worked well in low-light conditions).
Do your homework
There are so many cameras out there, makes sure you’ve done your homework prior to purchase. There are many online reviews and YouTube has many videos demonstrating models etc.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Don’t rely on using the ’automatic’ settings: be prepared to experiment with different settings, as I’ve found this is the only real way to learn and consolidate your understanding.
You will also need to consider post-production, i.e. editing photographs, and for this there is a whole range of software available, for example, Photoshop. For this you’ll obviously need a computer. Such software is not always the easiest to use or understand, but again there are numerous video tutorials available online, or in the photographic magazines from newsagents.
I’m not an expert - far from it - but I believe I am now a competent photographer, and the above points indicate the kind of path I took in early retirement.
Who knows, perhaps we can develop a photographers’ forum within retiresavvy (forum coming soon!), to share our experiences with each other and of course, our images!
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.
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