There is a verse in the Bible that says:
If the ax is dull,
and one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success. (Ecclesiastes 10:10)
In other words, you can get by with a dull ax, but you'll be working a lot harder (and longer) than you need to. For me, the ax that needs sharpening the most is my skill level in photography.
My latest goal, then, is to improve my photography skills. I keep hearing over and over from those who have found success selling on Etsy: You have to have good photos! So it's simple. I need to sharpen my photographic ax!
I have determined that by the end of 2015, I will have become a decent photographer. I've heard it said that if you were to read on a specific subject for one hour a day, every day, in five years you would be an expert. While there are, no doubt, exceptions to this rule, in general I think it is valid. But I'm not interested in becoming an expert in photography. I just want to be a decent photographer (by which I mean, I'd like to produce photos that don't look like they were taken by a 5th grader). I think this is doable in a year.
Step one in working to achieve my goal was to go to the FREE public library and pick up a few books to get me started. My initial haul included the following:
[Here is my first set of books on photography that I picked up from the local library.]
Step two is to actually read them, which I am gradually accomplishing.
Step three is to read the manual on my little point and shoot camera (What?....No, I have not read the manual! Why? Because it is full of Greek words and phrases like aperture, f-stop and white balance which I am only now starting to make sense of). Those who have been around me for any length of time know how I hate reading manuals in general. I despise them even more when they are written in a foreign language thinly disguised as English.
Step four is to actually take photographs. Lots of them. For some strange reason having to do with not wanting anything between me and the action, I have always had an aversion to messing with cameras. But I am slowly getting over that and could actually end up becoming one of those obsessed people who photograph everything! Case in point:
[Exhibit one: Why I won't be starting a career in food styling anytime soon]
Above is an example of a failed attempt at creative food photography, taken on a recent picnic in a wooded area. I actually had great hopes for how this would turn out. I wanted the woods in the background to be blurry (and they are) but I wanted the salad to be in focus (which it's not). Apparently, I need to work on my depth of field (and I only vaguely know what that means).
Step five will be to eventually get a dSLR camera, but only after I have proved myself worthy of it! And yes, I will read the manual.
How about you? Do you have any books or other resources that you've found useful for learning basic photography? I would love to hear them!