How I Got Started with Photography (and how you can too)

My Start to Photography

If you are wondering how to get started learning photography, I have some recommendations based on my experience. My story is similar to a lot of parents in that my main motivation was to take better photos of my daughter. I’ve also always been drawn to expressing my creativity. I loved to draw and take art classes throughout high school. Photography just naturally fit. I also enjoy learning and commiting myself to something. After having my daughter, as I’m sure a lot of parents can relate, my own personal interests and goals were put to the side. Photography gave me something to look forward to learning and pursuing. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I continue to learn as much as I can about photography by taking classes online and practicing (almost) every day.

Around the same time, my daughter was about to turn three. I took a lot of photos of her on my phone, but wanted better quality photos to document her life. For her two year old pictures, I went to a photographer who was pretty cheap. I was pretty disappointed by her pictures. While the pictures showed what my daughter looked like at the time, they missed telling more of a story. These pictures lacked the details of her life that I wanted to remember- those little things that change so quickly, like her favorite stuffed animal and blanket. This is why I am such a fan of lifestyle photography sessions. Lifestyle sessions capture candid photos that display personalities, connection, and love. Kids can just be themselves, which is what parents want to remember the most.

How to start learning photography by Nikki Shefchik Photography

Gear Recommendations and Online Classes

I knew there was something missing in my daughter’s professional photos, so I purchased a entry level DSLR camera last Christmas (Nikon D3400) and both the 50mm and 35mm prime lenses. I took Courtney’s course Beginner Guide to Manual Mode and dove right in to using manual mode. I think this has been a HUGE benefit to learning photography. I have complete control over my settings and didn’t rely on the camera picking any settings for me. It took a lot practice and I still have so much to learn, but this gave me the results I was looking for in taking pictures of my daughter.

If you are interested in taking better pictures of your children, I highly recommend the Nikon D3400 (or newer D3500) DSLR and a good prime lens (50mm for outdoors, 35mm for indoors) to get you started. I have since upgraded my camera, but it was honestly difficult to part with the 3400 because it was the camera I learned on. I never used the kit lens because of its limitations, which also helped improve the quality and look of my photos. I knew I wanted complete control over my camera, including my aperture, so that was my main reason for moving right to a prime lens. Invest in a couple good courses on , or coles’s classroom and you will be in great shape to get started! I promise you will never regret taking more photos of your kids.

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