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Do You Have Some Photography Advice?

Last year I purchased a DSLR camera. I purchased the Cannon Rebel T2i. Then before we went to New York this August I bought an additional lens, one to zoom in a little closer.

cannon rebel T2i

While I do love my photos and notice a big difference using the camera I know that I’m not using it to any potential. I usually use auto mode or close up and that is it. I know that I can do so much more. I envy bloggers such as Penelope from Penelope’s Oasis and Kelly from A Girl Worth Saving who’s pictures are just beautiful and make such a difference in a post.

I’ve tried purchasing books but I feel like I’m reading Greek. I’m looking for an online course with homework. I need to learn how to do something and then do it over and over again so it can sink in. I want more then just say this is how and why you do it. I need to do it as well and also work at my own pace.

Do you have any suggestions? Have you taken an online photography class that you would rave on? I really want to learn more about my camera in 2013 and take better photos I’m just not sure where to start!

About Colleen Shibley

Colleen Shibley Mother to 3 kids, wife to an awesome & thoughtful husband, beach lover, book reader, working woman by day, and blogger by night. Blogging from sunny South Florida passionate about travel, good food, entertainment, and enjoying family time...[Read More...]


  1. Honestly, I have a fancy camera as well that I use one auto! Eek! It does take excellent photos, though.

  2. cathy henatyszen says:

    i don’t have any advice, my brother gave me a digital camera with video for Christmas… I have never had one like this… sure lots to learn

  3. Meghan @JaMonkey says:

    I’m still learning how to take great pictures. And learn my camera for that matter. I’ve taken a few classes that really help!

  4. rebeka deleon says:

    i wish i had a nice camera..i love taking photos.

  5. I have no suggestions at all. If it involves more than pushing a button and keeping my fingers away from the lens I’m lost. Good luck.

  6. Bella Pop courses. I took two last year and they helped me understand so much. I was lost too.

  7. I finally got me a DSLR a few weeks ago and I am trying to figure it out. There are so many tips and tricks out there and I hope that I can learn from other people. I’d love to take a class as well.

  8. Several years ago when my husband got me my first digital camera , a Minolta that he bought at a Wolf Camera Store, it came with a nice package of goodies. One of the best things was they offered was free courses in the store to show you the functions of your camera. It was held after hours so it was just the class without interruptions.. The employees that worked there and taught the classes were very knowledgeable and were photographers themselves, so they could explain things so we understood them and answer questions we had. You might check to see if you have A Wolf/Ritz Camera store in your area and see if they do the classes.

  9. Michelle Proper says:

    I also would love to learn more about my camera. I have a sony mavica CD500 and just know the basics. Good luck in your quest and I look forward to reading more of your blogs!

  10. Julie Wood says:

    I do not know how to take great photos with this camera. I usually have my son,who is good at taking pictures help me. I wish I knew how to take great photos! I hope that you can find a way to learn how to use this great camera!

  11. If you come across helpful hints, it’d be great if you could post about it – I’m still clueless about my camera after buying it last Thanksgiving

  12. i’ve always wanted to get into photography- if only i had the time.

  13. I recommend a site called – It has a lot about videos but most of it transfers to still photography and it’s all DSLR-based. I use it a lot. Also, sometimes Groupon has deals on photography classes local to your area.

  14. I don’t know of any online courses, but I’m sure there are a lot. Interested to hear what you decide on though!

  15. no advice here; i could use some myself!

  16. I bought the Nikon D5100 and I love the pictures I take, but also only shoot up and in auto mode. I have also bought books, but I would love an easier way to learn.

  17. Melissa Dealmeida says:

    I would love to get back into photography-so relaxing and rewarding! xoxo

  18. Learning to shoot in manual is one of the best ways to take better pictures. Or just taking a low cost photography class can help a ton.

  19. I have a Nikon D3100 and I just took it out of Automatic. The best thing I ever did!

  20. Oh my gosh Colleen! Thank you so much! You know what really help me with photos was Plate to Pixel and then simply having fun with light. It’s amazing how much it can change a photo. Also moving around the object too. If you find a great class let me know! I’d love to improve my pictures too.

    • I have that book. Do you take your photos inside or out? Your lighting really does look natural. I notice in many of your photos you have that light blue wood like background, that always looks refreshing.

      • I prefer to use natural lighting but I’m learning to use artificial lights. I have the T2i also and I just grabbed at sigma 50mm lens during the holiday sales. I am really impressed by how it does in very low light situations. I’m talking about my very dark kitchen and simply using the light coming in the window on a cloudy day. I have a bounce that I use in the front of the food to help shine light on it and bring out more detail. I really like to use color accents around boring foods a.k.a brown food. I like a nice pop. I can’t wait to see what your photos look like this year!

  21. Unfortunately I’m no help here. I just point and shoot.

  22. Let me know what you find!

  23. I just tinker around.. I really should take a class too!

  24. I just got my first DSLR – there are some pretty cool online courses, but I haven’t figured out which one I will take the time for! I may just take a class at the community college!

  25. christina moore says:

    Unfortunately I’m no help here, I do not take good pictures

  26. Gina Brickell says:

    Well, I’m kinda like you. My camera stays in auto focus and doesn’t move from there… I’m very ignorant when it comes to taking pictures, but would also like to get better at it. Pictures mean so much and when you can take “good” pictures, you can frame them and keep them around your house. Unfortunately mine never turn out well enough to do that..

  27. Tara Caudillo says:

    I could use as many tips as I could get lol

  28. I mainly only shoot in Manual. I learned very early even before I bought my camera last April that if I was going to get a DSLR (Nikon D3100) that if I’m going to shoot in Auto than I might as well keep using a P&S.

    I haven’t ever taken online classes or anything. I just asked a lot of questions to my friends who take amazing pictures (what their ISO was, f/stop, why they did this and that, ect) and that helped me.

    And pretty much anything on Click It Up A Notch has helped me, especially this page in particular:

    I’ve read that page ^^ over and over again and come back to it when I need a refresher. I’m sure a class or two would help me perfect some skills but without some photographer friends and Click It Up A Notch I know I would have no idea what I’m doing in Manual.

    Hope that helps 🙂

  29. steve mccuan says:

    thank you for the help

  30. I have the T1i and usually just use the creative auto mode. I took some manual photography classes in college, so I kind of remember stuff about composition, etc from that. I’d be interested in finding out more about an online course as well.

  31. If you can try to select a background with a single color intead of multiple colors.Now sometimes this can not be helped.With one background color your eye will see the subject quicker.
    If you take children get low.I took one of my granddaugher were I was laying on the floor and she was standing.

  32. Michelle.A. says:

    I know you said you don’t really want to do more books but the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson really teaches you step by step what you can do. There are lessons and it helps you understand as you learn. Besides that, online forums are very helpful. Mainly just keep shooting. When I first started I would wait until the kids were asleep and just shoot a doll or stuffed animal until I nailed my focus every time.

  33. Work on shooting without it being automatic, and work on your focs point. And just keep practicing using it.

  34. I took a correspondence course from the New York Institute of Photography that was pretty good. But this was long before digital took over so I can’t say what they would be like now. Also it was a bit expensive. Some of the best shots I’ve gotten from my dslr have been from just trying things. The instruction manual was massive but I think I’ve learned more by just noodling around on my own. And set everything to a silent mode for good candid shots of children and wildlife!

  35. I think you take nice pictures, but I know what you mean. I really want a DSLR and some classes to learn how to use it.

  36. GayAnn Wright says:

    I had an EOS SLR film camera back in 89 but it was stolen so I really haven’t been able to use any because I haven’t been able to afford another one. I’ve just been buying point and shoots.

  37. This is me 100%, only, I haven’t made my DSLR purchase yet due to being intimidated by the many brands and varieties available. I’m anxious to read the suggestions and advice that others give.

  38. Read Plate to Pixel and/or Mamarazzi. Those two books helped me understand my T3i better than the manual plus so much more.

  39. Do you have any community education programs that offer classes? It’s so much easier to go at it with hands on lessons, in my opinion.

  40. Jan Messali says:

    I’m sorry I don’t have advice… I stopped by to read this because I feel the same way as you. I have a great camera, but need to know how to use it more effectively. I’m anxious to read the comments. Thanks!

  41. I don’t have any tips, but for a mother of 1 I do take a lot of pictures. I did start to dye down with taking pictures because my camera wasn’t working, but now that I got my brand new one for Christmas from my husband oh boy am I taking pictures after pictures. I love them

  42. Kathaleen says:

    Cameras, computers, phones; anything these days, I have to spend alot of time figuring them out! I like the options on digital camera’s ; of black and white virus color photo’s , panoramic views. I guess it’s “patience makes perfect!”

  43. I need to learn tips too!!!

  44. No suggestions here as I’ve got the same problem. There are just so many amazing features that I feel a little lost with my camera.

  45. Amy Orvin says:

    Try using different modes. Just try it , you might be surprised how well random shots turn out.

  46. Susan Wilder says:

    Oh wow! This looks like a real nice camera and I’m in the market to get one~ Thanks for the great info!


  47. Betty Baez says:

    Definitely going to go through the comments i want to make the leap to a dslr but im a bit intimidated

  48. I would love to have a digital camera like this as I only have a small one and I love to take pictures and mine seems to take some fuzzy ones when I zoom out to far ….

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