When I was in my teens I was obsessed with disposable cameras. I loved to photograph any and everything, wait for the camera to be developed, and sift through my photos to see how they’d turned out. One time I took a photo of my ginger cat in the green grass of my backyard and, to me, it was the perfect photograph; the background was blurry, the cat’s eyes were in focus, he was mid-jump and so his stance was really interesting to look at. I was so proud of that photo… and it was a total accident. I had no idea what I was doing but boy did I love trying to recreate it!
Since then I have loved photography. I bought myself a wedding gift in the form of a Canon DSLR camera and 50mm lens in 2010, read some books on what aperture is, took some photos of my daughter and cat (shocking, right?), and then, well, life happened. I had another baby, we moved, blah blah blah… long story short I stopped using my very expensive camera and just used my phone’s camera because it was easier. Every once in a while I’d bust out my “big camera” and take some slightly better photos than what I was getting on my cell phone but I just never really got the hang of it.
Enter the Momtography jump start DSLR class. Momtography was created by Beryl Ayn Young, a former elementary school teacher with a knack for breaking down complicated things into easy to digest info. She created the content contained within the Momtography class and has licensed Momtography instructors across the country. The instructor in Michigan is Heather Carson and she was lovely enough to open her home to me and Katie while we took the class. Readers of Metro Detroit Mommy get a discount… read the review for more info!
So, why do you need this class?
1) It’s easy to understand
I have a difficult time retaining information when I read it; hands on is the way for me to learn and actually absorb information. This class is definitely hands on. You bring your camera and accessories and jump right into the learning process with help from your instructor – and then you get instant feedback. “This subject is blurry even though I have it set to auto focus, why is that?” “How come my camera’s eye isn’t seeing what I’m seeing? The colors look off.” “Why can’t I take good photos in the sun?!”
|Left: without checking the ISO.
Right: after realizing I was letting in too much light.
2) It’s fun
I had a BLAST with Heather and Katie. We didn’t just talk about what brought us to the class, we talked about our kids, our partners, our lives and our jobs. We laughed while we learned with the hands-on exercises while taking notes. There was also some delicious food – and I got a super nice pen!
3) It’s not time-consuming
The course is 4 hours long. That’s it. I know that sounds like a lot; I was a little unsure what to expect and was kind of wondering how we’d manage to keep the class interesting for a full 4 hours but trust me, not a minute was wasted. I feel like I’m better prepared whenever I pick up my camera now because it’s demystified. I understand why there are numbers and letters all over the place and what each setting on the dial does. I know the meaning of aperture and white balance and ISO and why they are important for each and every photo I take. By no means is this a university level course – but I’m not looking to be graded on my work. I just want to enjoy it.
|Case in point: blurry middle photo but that’s okay BECAUSE KITTY TONGUE!|
4) It’s empowering and encouraging
I’m not afraid of my camera anymore! Not only did the actual class help with this but we were sent home with a handy camera settings flowchart and a “Stop and Look Checklist” to reference while we practiced at home and beyond. So now I have backup! When you take the class you are also added to the Momtography Alumni group on a national level as well as local. I’ve been taking advantage of that and it’s really helpful to go back and forth with a pro. I know it’s hard to pick up the camera when it’s stiflingly hot outside or when you just want to take a quick walk around the block, but that’s when you’ll be able to get the most practice. So get out there and practice!
|Feedback is just a post away!|
As I pull my camera out for the fourth time since my class a few weeks ago, I think about what I learned in such a short four hours of time. I have told anyone who is interested about the class because I love supporting other entrepreneurial moms but I also absolutely feel like I learned some really key basics to moving past that automatic setting or the little picture icons to actually understanding the functions of photography. I have an obsession with a good blurred background that I have had a really hard time getting so I’ve been focusing what Heather taught us regarding that specific skill. Today, however, I worked on shooting multiple subjects. Those subjects were both moving and still so while I might have taken a bunch of shots I was pretty excited to see some great lighting and captured movement taking place in my pictures.
Who doesn’t love a good puppy portrait?
What Heather gave me in the class outside of helping me be more comfortable with my camera is the push that I needed to really work on using my camera more and getting to know it like you would a new friend. I really appreciate that Heather took the time to get to know us throughout the class so that it wasn’t just a basic curriculum run through but an individualized session of focusing on building knowledge and working on the specific things that we each were interested in. I appreciated that it was a combination of sit down and listen learning as well as get up and go learning. I still have a ways to go but the number of pictures I’m taking compared to the number of successful shots I’m seeing as I cull the stash is pretty incredibly different than before the class. Lastly, as a busy mom of three, time is of the essence and I’m so thankful to not be bogged down by having to delete 50 blurry pictures each time!
Momtography Live costs $199 (with the early bird discount); this gains you access to all that the course itself offers but also a PDF version of the slides shown that afternoon, the Facebook alumni groups, a renewed love for your camera, and just as important – an afternoon doing something you love. Here’s your exclusive discount: enter code MDM25 at checkout to save an additional $25!
What’s your biggest hurdle to picking up your camera and taking photographs you can’t wait to print? Share in the comments!
Dana is the lucky mother to two incredible kids (aged 10 & 6) and the happy wife of Nate. She stumbled around in her adult life for a while before finally realizing that she could get paid to pursue her passion: keeping kids safe. In 2013 she started working at Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale where she eventually became a Child Passenger Safety Technician with additional Special Needs training. Dana also runs the child passenger safety-focused Facebook page Buckle Up Detroit and works with the amazing lady bosses at Metro Detroit Doula Services offering car seat classes, consultations, and more!