Have any newbies with a DSLR felt as frustrated as I do right now? I have been feeling really disappointed with my cat photos, thinking that I will never get my photography settings right, let alone take a sharp picture. Join me on the Pet Parade and let’s see what we can do.
Surely there is a way to look at my photographs and be positive about what I have learned? Not every picture was a total write off, was it? No. I decided to ask myself some questions. What did I do right? Would I discover enough to confirm my progress with my DSLR camera?
I hope my post will encourage you to keep trying for that great image and enjoy the learning journey. Here’s why.
Beginner Photographers Can Take Good Pictures
Not every photograph you took will be underexposed, or blurry.
There will be a whole fistful of images you can look at and see that they are actually not bad at all. Aspiring DSLR photographers need to take a breath. Remember that not every picture you have taken is a total failure, look at your photographs and be your own biggest cheerleader.
Did you take a great close-up of flowers in Av mode, or capture a cat’s eye closeup with a reflection? Take a moment to acknowledge that you took a good picture, check the settings you used and remember them for next time.
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”Henri Cartier Bresson
Positive Results with Black Cat Photos
If you are like me you are trying to compose better pictures as well as learn what your camera can do. Ea
One of my aims in this short series of Po, the young black cat at the local cat cafe was to capture her leaps and pounces. Those pictures did NOT come out well.
Originally I thought the pictures were a total failure including these blurry smudges. but after leaving them for a few days I reassessed the pictures.
“Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.”Henri Cartier Bresson
I admit the photographs are not pin-sharp and Po’s fur lacks shine but the pictures work very well in another way.
Lively Black Cat Pictures
The series captures spirited Po at play. She is totally focused on a wand toy of dancing feathers. You can see the toy in the picture below. Po’s playful spirit comes through loud and clear in the photographs.
I realised that while my intention had been to catch some dramatic poses of leaping felines and dramatic claws, what I had managed to do was create a short series of fun and lively portraits that show a young cat’s determination to enjoy herself and catch that toy!
The lesson from this black cat photo story?
You may feel disappointed in your photographs when you first download them. At that moment they don’t align with your intention but don’t judge your photographs too harshly, and don’t delete pictures unless you got the exposure totally wrong and they are completely black or white disasters. I have a lot of those sometimes!
You may discover positives things in the images later as I did with these photographs of black cat Po. As newbies, we are all making slow and steady progress so let’s all take a deep breath and keep practising.
We may not be experts but every photo teaches us something. I think this should be a confidence boost for every photographer. Don’t you?
Image Processing Software Can Help
If you love an image but it’s dark or lacks sharpness, there are things you can do in software like Affinity or Photoshop Elements to make your photographs look better.
- A darker image can be lightened. There are limits but always try.
- Fur can be gently sharpened to give more definition.
- Specific areas can be focused on for tiny tweaks that transform your image.
- Crop a photo to focus in on an area of interest.
Improving General Photo Skills
My recent weekend workshop provided me with the confidence to explore Manual mode which was a big step and I realised that the guidance of either a friend or a professional photographer (live or online) can a big help to aspiring photographers.
The best advice I ever got is knowledge is power and to keep reading.David Bailey
If you feel you are not making progress, then maybe step back to the safe haven of Av mode and a bit of exploration may build your confidence. Check out tutorial videos and other free resources. There are so many you are bound to find something that resonates with you as a photographer.
This portrait of Po (which was adopted on 20th July 2019) was one of my encouraging images. I decided to step back to Av mode on my Canon T6 and this is the result.
You are not alone in making mistakes. Remember that you have taken some cool pictures and will get better and better as you invest time. If I can get better, you can too.