Being a blogger of any kind today requires one to be a writer, photographer, business person, marketing guru and all round media mogul. Simply writing up an account of your experience no longer cuts it in the blogosphere. So, how does one keep up with the ever evolving world of blogging?
My blog is only a year old and I’ve had to learn new skills very quickly – you need to hit the ground running. As such, if I had to pick one single thing that has helped my blog to stand out, I would have to say that it’s photography. The most successful bloggers I know, use great images to capture and convey moods, tastes, smells and experiences. When it comes to promoting your blog on social media, a single great picture will speak a thousand words. Furthermore in travel blogging, in particular, being able to take a good photograph is vital.
Until recently, I was using my iPhone6 for taking pictures. It has a great camera and was easy to use. When it came to editing, apps such as VSCO, Snapspeed, Mextures, Squareready and Camera+ are simple to use and great for use within the phone. Life was good!
However, a year into setting up my blog, I was ready to move it up a notch. I had long toyed with the idea of purchasing a digital camera and finally took the leap and invested in one. But…things didn’t go as planned – I missed the convenience of using my phone. I didn’t like how heavy my new camera was and resented having to carry it around! I had no idea how to use it and would occasionally shoot in ”auto” mode. Consequently, I went back to using my phone (yes, I did!).
Convinced that this particular camera was not serving my needs, a few months later I invested in a DSLR camera – Cannon EOS1300D. It certainly suited me better as a complete novice. I liked how it felt in my hands. Also, as it’s a slightly older model, I was less intimidated by it. We clicked! (Pun intended). Still, I had no idea how to use it. I knew from having researched cameras FOREVER that my new purchase had great potential. I started shooting in “auto” mode and simply LOVED what I was photographing. It captured people, places and objects exactly as I saw them. It was perfect! As much as I loved my new(ish) camera I still had no idea how to use it out of ”auto”. So, I did what I do best – RESEARCH.
I shopped around for a beginners photography course that would help me. I wanted to become a more confident photographer and learn how to use my camera. I came across The London Institute of Photography based at the Truman Brewery in uber cool Brick Lane, East London. I emailed the school to discuss my needs and the response was as quick as it was helpful. I enrolled on the Beginners Photography Course which is taught over 2 days.
So, a few days later, new camera in hand, I arrived at LIoP to begin my journey into becoming a better blogger. My tutor was Holger Pooten, Head of the institute who has over 20 years of professional experience. I was in good hands! The class was small (around 8 people) so it was intimate and engaging.
Day 1 – Fundamentals of Photography
The course began with a great introduction to my camera. It laid the foundation for the rest of the course. Within the first hour I was already beginning to see my camera in a new light. I was amazed at just how much it could do. We also touched briefly on the history of cameras and photography. There were examples from great photographers old and new. I was totally immersed. After lunch we went out into the bustling streets outside to put our skills in to practice. What a difference it made to my confidence to operate my camera outside ”auto” mode. I felt in total control. I began to see light, movement, objects and people from a whole new perspective.
Day 2 – Shooting Variety on Location
The second day of the course brought yet more in depth knowledge of the basics of photography. We then moved on to really beginning to understand the camera as a tool for interpreting the world. By this point, I no longer viewed the camera as something outside of myself. I started to understand that my camera was a part me. I began to treat it like my own eyes. The tutor took us to the bustling street food market in Brick Lane and allowed us to put our theory into practice. The light changed from stall to stall and I had to adjust my camera for each shot. All the while I was strolling around the market, my tutor attentively coached me through my settings helping me to understand my camera better.
Consequently, I now carry my DSLR camera with me everywhere. I have formed a new bond with it and am able to convey emotions far better. It is certainly improving engagement with my audience. While I am still very new to this approach of taking pictures, I have invested in extra lenses (great advice offered by my tutor Holger at LIoP) and am the proud owner of multiple tripods. I am finally able to connect the dots and it’s liberating. After just 2 days I had learnt to take pictures that I wouldn’t have thought possible before. To think that this was just a beginners course!
Finally, I took this picture on my last trip to Nimes, in the South of France using everything I had learnt. I was happy that I could begin my journey into taking exactly the kind of pictures I want. It makes all the difference to the kind of blog you want to create. Most importantly, when it comes to monetising your blog you definitely need better images to sell yourself. So, for me it makes all the sense to invest in my career. The greatest advice I can offer anyone starting out would be to invest in learning photography, learn how to edit your images, invest in equipment, invest in your blog. It is the best advice I can offer. Happy blogging!
For more information of the course I took and other courses visit: https://liop.co.uk/
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