"Lydia, you are so talented!"
"I wish I was creative like you!"
"I wish I could take photos like you!"
WANNA KNOW A SECRET? YOU CAN.
Almost five years ago, I was in a tattoo shop, watching my husband get some new ink by one of our favorite artists, Jason (of New Age in Springfield, IL). He's terrific at his craft. As I was watching him draw up my husband's new tattoo, I lamented that I wished I were creative, but that I didn't have a creative bone in my body. And it's true. At that time, I was NOT creative.
You know what he told me? He told me creativity is learned. He seemed almost insulted that I thought he woke up with this immense amount of talent, like he was just born with it. I argued with him that surely he was naturally creative and that I had missed that gene. I didn't get it. I couldn't wrap my head around it.
I had gotten my first DSLR that week. I was overwhelmed by all the controls. I didn't even know HOW to buy a good lens. What on EARTH was an aperture?! So, I practiced. I googled. I practiced. I youtubed. I practiced. I checked out books from the library. I practiced. I hired a mentor. I practiced.
And that's when I realized, I was using the concept of being born with talent as a cop-out.
What Jason was telling me was meant to be ENCOURAGING. He was telling me that if I wanted to be creative, I COULD. It took me four years to understand.
So, I want to encourage you, too. If you want to be creative, PRACTICE. Exercise! Try new things... fail at them. Try them again. FAIL AGAIN. Youtube the technique. Try again. And eventually, you're going to get it.
If your daughter comes to you and says "Mom, I want to be the best soccer player in town!" What do you tell her? Do you tell her that you're sorry, but that she wasn't born with soccer skills? OF COURSE NOT. You tell her that she's going to have to work hard. And practice. And learn from people who are better than her and have already mastered the skills she wants to master.
I took some VERY awkward and awful photos in those first years. But you know what? I also took some keepers that I still treausure, despite their imperfections. So, it's the same for you, friend. If you've been wanting to get good at photography. Spend less time WISHING and more time WORKING at it. I promise, it'll pay off.
If you aready own a DSLR, but it's been sitting in your closet, unused. Join the club. But it's time to dust it off and LEARN to be creative. I still purchase learning resources regularly. I still practice. I still google. I still mess up. I still have mentors.
If you're local to Springfield, IL and would like some affordable hands-on learning, where you can ask questions and see EXACTLY how I shoot, be sure to click on the LEARN tab to stop avoiding your DSLR and start artistically documenting childhood.
I would love to help you exercise your creativity and learn to take photos of your family that you're proud to share on instagram, hang on your walls, and pass on to future generations.