Learning the in and outs of your camera is something we should all strive to do so - not just so we can become technically proficient, but so we can reap the benefits that comes with it! Here are 5 reasons why I think you should start learning how to master your camera TODAY.
1. You can preserve memories
For me, this was the biggest, most important reason to master my camera. I'm still in awe that I get to capture a memory that can be enjoyed now and in the future - it's an amazing feeling to look at a photo and be transported back to the moment and day that you took it. My biggest regret is not learning the basics sooner: all throughout the first couple of years on my son's life, I was so busy trying to glean information off various websites and piece it all together, that I missed capturing so many moments because I was too busy learning. I'm sure making up for it now though!
2. You can capture a feeling
One of the other benefits of learning photography over just taking a quick snapshot is that you learn how to incorporate a feeling into your images too. It means you don't just capture what the scene looked like, but also how you felt that day too, which makes the images even more powerful and priceless to you in the days to come. Basically, the more techniques you know, the more able you are to accurately reflect what you want to say - even if the only person you are telling is you in twenty years time. Being able to look at a photograph and feel those same emotions is nothing short of magical.
3. You will begin to notice the beauty in your everyday
Once you learn photography, you will begin to notice things that you didn't before, like light, shapes, colors and textures, and you will begin to see the beauty in the little things that you maybe didn't notice before - like the curl of your daughters hair or the colours of the salad for dinner. This was totally unexpected for me - I didn't really understand how photography could help you appreciate the smaller details, but it does. I can be stopped in my tracks taking out the trash at how beautiful a spiders web looks with the morning dew on it, or by the way the light is curving around my subject and outlining them, or even just with how pretty the colours are. This awareness allows you to slow down and see the beauty in your everyday, which firstly gives you better photographs, but also a bigger appreciation of life in general - finding beauty in the stuff that might just have passed you by before you learnt to "see".
4. You can find your voice
Being able to control your camera allows you to express yourself in your own unique way. You can create moody photographs, bright and cheerful photographs, soft and romantic photographs - your camera just becomes the tool by which you show what you want to say. Once you understand how your technical settings can control mood, you can use exposure, motion, depth and composition to get your images to show exactly what you want them to.
5. You will have skills you can use.
Once you have mastered your camera, you will then have a great commodity - your skills. Of course that means you can start a photography business should you want to, or sell prints or cards and so on, but even if you only remain a happy hobbyist like myself, then you still have skills that will give you a precious commodity - beautiful photographs. You can use them as gifts, decorate your home with them, create meaningful photo books and take on other projects that allow you to express your creative side.
Although we usually just have one big "why" for learning photography - for many of us that is for capturing memories - there are loads of side benefits to learning your craft too. So, when you start to feel discouraged, remember all the reasons why you are doing this to help keep yourself motivated and feeling positive!