An invaluable skill that I’m trying to improve

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As a blogger, I take a lot of photos. Because of the nature of my content, a lot of those photos are of myself, taken with a tripod and a wireless shutter release. I’ve had over 6 years of practice but roughly 4 of those years were spend on “auto” mode with my nice DSLR camera.

After I had kids, I started to take more photos of them and got even more practice at adjusting the settings in manual to get the look I want.

Even though this skill has come a long, LONG way from 6 years ago, I still feel like I have a ton more that I could learn when it comes to photography, specifically lifestyle photography.

I can’t remember when I first stumbled upon Skillshare, an online education community with over 17,000 classes, but as someone who loves to learn, I was instantly intrigued by the concept. I’ve taken a few different classes, from hand lettering to jewelry making, in my city, but there were times I wanted to learn something new that I couldn’t find an in-person class for.

I was thrilled when Skillshare reached out to work together on this post because I loved what they offered and had already learned so much from a pizza making and pasta making class!

Besides sponsoring the post, Skillshare’s also giving the first 500 Small Things readers two FREE months of unlimited access. Just click here to start your two free months.

I browsed their photography section to find a class that could give me a few basic tips, specifically with ISO since that was something I knew so little about, and found a lot of great classes. I chose a short one on photography basics which included a dedicated section in ISO. The entire process was so quick and easy, I was toggling my ISO and seeing a difference in my photos only minutes after the class started.

I’ve always been a hands on learner. I retain so much more knowledge by doing something and learning as I go versus reading about something and then applying it later. The fact that I could have my camera in my hands, and manually adjust my settings during this class made it so easy to learn.

Like most of us, my phone is usually nearby to snap a quick photo of the kids doing something cute. Those photos are great for what they are, but I’m trying to be more diligent about taking photos of the kids with my DSLR! I put my newfound ISO knowledge to the test and snapped a couple photos of the kids playing in the driveway the other day.

I had learned that ISO is a camera’s sensitivity to light. If you are shooting in a bright environment, turn the ISO down. If you are shooting in a darker environment, turn the ISO up to make it more sensitive to light. The higher the ISO, the grainier the image will be too.

Here are 3 quick tips that may help you take better photos of kids!

  1. Try to get them to interact with you during the shoot. I like to drive a car along my arm, up the camera, and then have it crash or do something silly to try to make them laugh! There are usually some blurry photos when I do this, but I can usually snag at least one laughing one!
  2. Don’t tell your kids to “say cheese”! Usually they have this expressionless smile when they are saying “cheese”. Try to make them laugh, and this helps a lot of you have someone with you to jump around and be silly behind the camera.
  3. Let them move and play. I’ve never liked stiff, overly posed shots of kids. I love the ones where they are moving or simply looking up from playing with something. It looks more “lifestyle” to me, and I prefer that style of photography.

As far as camera settings go, I cannot recommend taking a Skillshare class ENOUGH! You can learn the very basics and see instant changes in your photos. There are also a handful of iPhone photography classes as well if you don’t have a DSLR camera.

Other than photography and cooking, Skillshare offers classes in a huge range of topics. Next on my list is a watercolor class, just for fun!

If you’d like to sign up for 2 FREE months of Skillshare Premium (which means access to all the classes), use this link here! After the 2 free months are up, membership is only $8.00/month.

I’d love to hear which classes interest you most! Let me know which ones you are looking at in the comments below!

This post was created in partnership with Skillshare, all opinions are my own.

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Comments (28)

  1. Posted September 8, 2017

    I’d love to improve my DSLR skills too. First, I need to invest in a camera, haha, but I’m working towards saving!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Alisa says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    Thank you! I’ve been looking at Skillshare for months and I’m so excited to get to try it free for two months! And i’m so excited I checked your blog early this morning!

  3. Cailan says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    Hi Kate! I’m sure you’ve shared it before, but would you mind sharing what lens you use? The shots of your boys are great! Thanks!

    • Kate says
      Posted September 8, 2017

      I used a 35mm!

  4. Makenna says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    This is what I have been looking for! Thank you for the awesome recommendation. I am so excited to try these classes out. Happy Friday!

  5. Posted September 8, 2017

    Hi!

    I was wondering what kind of lens you’re using here! I love hearing what people use 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Kate says
      Posted September 8, 2017

      I’m using a 35mm

  6. Posted September 8, 2017

    Skillshare sounds great! I’ve been wanting to learn more about photography but what always holds me back is lugging around a heavy camera everywhere! I really do want to learn though and Skillshare seems like a great way to. When I finally take the plunge and buy myself a professional camera I’m going to absolutely look into their classes.

    • Kate says
      Posted September 8, 2017

      They even have a lot of mobile photography classes too for simple phone camera photography!

  7. Jessica RICHARDSON says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    I have been needing to learn how to use my camera and don’t have time for an in-person class. I’m excited to try Skillshare. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Kelly says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    I totally needed this post Kate. I too have a DSLR, and usually only use it on the auto setting. I have been trying to find classes on how to use it in other modes, but haven’t found any. Definately going to check this out. Thanks!

    • Kate says
      Posted September 8, 2017

      DEFINITELY get that camera off auto! classes on Skillshare are just what you need!

  9. Carolyn says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    Thanks Kate! Excited to learn new skills!

  10. Hannah says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    So excited to use SKillshare! Brushing up on photography and Photoshop skills for work and my personal life. Also the cooking classes look amazing! 2 free months just made it even more worth it!

  11. Meghan says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    Thank you for this! I’m a new mama and this is going to be a great way for me to learn some new skills while I’m at home on maternity leave.

    • Kate says
      Posted September 8, 2017

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Posted September 8, 2017

    Thanks for this, Kate! I’m really looking forward to honing my dslr photography skills and my photoshop skills.

  13. Jacquelyn says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    I can’t seem to get the link to work, it takes me to the sign up page but after I enter my info, nothing happens? Have all the free trials been used?

    • Kate says
      Posted September 8, 2017

      Hm, that strange. Can you try in a different browser?

      • Ali says
        Posted September 8, 2017

        I’m having the same issue.

  14. Courtney B says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    These pictures and tips are great. What type of camera do you have and what lens are you using?

    • Kate says
      Posted September 8, 2017

      This is a Nikon D5300 with a 35mm lens

  15. Michele says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    You could not have given us this opportunity at a better time! I’m on maternity leave and, as a teacher, I’m feeling very disconnected from adult conversation and learning. I’ve wanted to learn about photography so I can actually take some decent photos of my kids, and I am pumped to dive into some of those. Ooh, and getting crafty! Thanks!

    • Kate says
      Posted September 9, 2017

      Love to hear this!

  16. Olga says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    Such a great idea! Made me go to Skillshare right away!

  17. Kelly says
    Posted September 8, 2017

    Just Google exposure triangle. ISO, aperture, and shutter speed are all related to get a proper exposure. I typically shoot in fully manual mode, but will use aperture or shutter priority mode when the time calls for it. I think most people can actually take better photos than their camera’s auto mode if they just take a few moments to understand the exposure triangle, metering modes, and how they all relate. Great blog article!

  18. Sara C. says
    Posted September 9, 2017

    Cooking. Im excited to check out the pasta making.

  19. Kate T says
    Posted September 9, 2017

    I was excited to give this a try. However before giving out my credit card information I did a quick search for reviews and it sounds like a lot of people request to cancel and this is not honored. People are continually being charged even after cancelling. I’m not willing to risk that! Bummer! Sounded good.