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So, I just finished Summer School! No, not traditional school, something way more fun – Shoot Along Summer School, an 8 week online course to help parents learn features of their DSLR camera to capture better photos of their kids.
Reclaiming my creative side has been an important outlet in the midst of fast-paced family life. In retrospect, I have always had a camera in my hand. Something about capturing moments of time has always been a joy, especially when the subject is family and, the story, our life. I wanted to learn more about the field, while not taking too much time and attention away from family memory-making this Summer.
I bought a DSLR camera 18 months ago and wanted to venture out of Auto mode and learn some Manual settings. I signed up for Shoot Along from an ad on Instagram, as the program was geared toward parents with a focus on learning DSLR settings, while enjoying family time outdoors. I was intrigued.
Each week and assignment was forwarded to us with a specific photography focus. We had a week to complete the assignment, and then would post our favourite snaps to a private Facebook group made up of other parents who registered.
1) Understanding Light
2) Composition (rule of thirds, leading lines and symmetry)
3) Colour theory (colour wheel, monochrome, vibrancy)
4) Aperture (f/stops, framing, foreground/background, aperture priority)
5) Capturing Motion (Shutter-priority mode)
6) Manual Mode (ISO, Aperture & Shutter Speed, Storytelling)
7) Pattern, Texture & Faces
8) Candids & Impact (shooting on the fly)
At the end of the course, can say I’m the Anne Geddes I daydreamed of becoming? Nope. Not even close. Did I learn some great new tricks and achieve better quality photos of my kids. You bet’cha.
Room for improvement: I would have liked a little more one-on-one feedback pertaining to my photos specifically, but understanding this company is run by parents, I completely understand the lack of time to answer every single question from a large group.
- the mentors Heidi and Amy were super supportive and encouraging
- you’ll get a: “Summer Bucket list” (or Spring/Fall version in other seasons) of places to go as a family to inspire your photo capture
- I found the private Facebook group a fantastic forum for parents to digitally mingle and ask questions about others’ technique and camera settings
- And the best one – the kids got a kick out of Mommy having homework!
The course cost was $49.00 USD (roughly $64 CDN with the exchange) Given the new confidence I have taking shots in manual settings, 8 modules of references I can refer back to for practice, as well as some frame-worthy shots of my babes, I’d say it was money well spent.
The Summer School project is over for this year, but they do run Spring + Fall 8 week courses, or a year-long version with more comprehensive photography topics covered in addition to the ones mentioned above. Check it out!