Sweet & Savory Life

12 Things I’ve Learned About Photography

I’ve been shooting with my Nikon D5100 for a few months now, and it’s drastically changed not only the way I capture memories but also the way I blog. Shooting with a legit camera has definitely taken my photos (and posts) to the next level, to the point where I cannot imagine going back to a point-and-shoot method. I do not take my photography too seriously–it truly is a hobby and I enjoy it.  Below are some tips I’ve learned through online tutorials, a beginner photography class, and (of course) good ol’ trial and error. I’ve included some of my favorite shots I’ve taken thus far.  Happy clicking! -Sarah

1. In the name of all that is holy, watch this video and put your camera strap on correctly.

(Says the girl who dropped her camera in the Target parking lot and then cried afterwards.)

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2. Take your camera everywhere. Chase sunsets.


3. Your perspective is interesting. Use it.

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4. Natural light is your best friend.

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5. Be trigger happy.

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6. Work hard for a difficult shot. This is how you learn.

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7. Find the closest independently-owned camera shop to you. There will be nice people there. Make friends and learn from them.

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8. Go for walks–just you and your camera.

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9. The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable your subjects will be.

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10. Get over yourself and be silly. It’s not about capturing the perfect shot – it’s about freezing moments in time.


11. Buy a shutter remote. Not because you need one, but because they are fun.


12. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Only when you break out of the auto settings will you truly unlock your creative potential.

(I think I just took this post to a whole new level. Better stop while I’m ahead!)


P.S. When I was compiling these pictures, I noticed that in all of them Shelton is wearing the same shirt. I have let him know that apparently it’s my lucky shot shirt and he should pretty much wear it all the time.

Categories: Photography

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  1. Love this post Sarah! I joined the SLR family at Christmas when I bought myself a Canon for my birthday. Because I’m not used to having it I’ve had to remind myself to take it with me and not worry about being silly. Capturing precious moments is so important. Lovely post, and thanks for the tips x

    • sweet sarah

      January 24, 2013 — 1:36 pm

      You are so welcome! It gets easier to remember as things happen and you get used to having a nice camera. I consider mine a fifth appendage! :)

  2. I love this post! I have ordered up a Nikon D3100 on Amazon – it was reduced by quite a bit and I couldn’t resist. I am so fed up with rubbish shots on my blog and I can’t wait to start learning and experimenting. Your photos are lovely and so is your dog!

    • sweet sarah

      January 24, 2013 — 1:33 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! You will love having a good camera – it’s such an investment! Not only for your blog, but for your life :)

      Spuds says thank you also! ;)

  3. This is an amazing post! I wish I could afford a new lens for my Canon DSLR. I’m sure there is a lot more I could do with the standard kit lens but I just feel so uninspired! Your post has really motivated me to the point where I am getting the charger out to get my camera set up again. Poor thing has been collecting dust lately…

    Beautiful photos!

    • sweet sarah

      February 1, 2013 — 4:17 pm

      All my pics are taken with a kit lens! But I know what you mean – some days I feel it and some days I don’t. Thank you for your comment! :)

  4. Thanks for the great tips! I just bought myself a DSLR for my birthday and am having fun experimenting without the auto functions myself so I can relate! Happy SITS Day!

  5. I think I need a remote! Happy SITS Day!

  6. Great tips! I have yet to get a DSLR, but it’s on my wishlist. Your post makes me want to run out and get one. :)

  7. Love the tips! I am still struggling with my camera. Happy SITS Day!

  8. Great tips! I’m trying hard to learn more about photography but find so much is overwhelming! I like your down to earth tips:)

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:55 pm

      Thank you! Sometimes it’s overwhelming for me, too, but like most things there are good days and bad days. I appreciate your comment!

  9. Great post! I love my cameras and I pretty much always have one of them with me! Our stories are told through our photos!!

  10. Love these Sarah! Especially the one about get over yourself and capturing lifes moments!! Awesome!
    Happy SITS day friend!

  11. Gorgeous photos and beautifully designed site. Visiting from SITS!

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:31 pm

      Thank you! I obsessed over the design for days and still tweak it from time to time. It’s just never “done!” Thank you for commenting :)

  12. Photography is definitely something I want to get better at and putting photos in my blog that take up the space I want them to is another skill I need to work on. Thanks for your post. I love the photos, especially the tree. Ha, thought I was going to say your dog. Enjoy your SITS Day.

  13. Awesome post! I just got a Nikon and I’m attempting to learn how to use to capture better shots! Thank you for your insight!

    Visiting from SITS!

  14. Love that tree shot, and agree, photography is FUN!

  15. Enjoyed reading your post on photography. I’ve been a professional photographer for 4 years and also shoot Nikon! :D Thanks for some inspiration today to get out there and be creative!!

  16. Another great post! And too funny about the shirt. My husband is the same way…he has more clothes than me, but only wears 3 shirts. Happy SITS day!

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:29 pm

      Haha, yes! Just the other day Shelton said to me, “I have a closet full of clothes, but I wear the same five shirts.” At least he’s cognizant of it!

  17. Happy SITS day! I love your tips. Very real! Now following you and pinning this post to pinterest. Feel free to come on over to my place anytime for a chat :-)


  18. Great tips! I’m newish at photography and got a great camera last fall, so definitely need to apply these. Happy SITS day!

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:27 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m still learning things all the time – it’s a very fun progressive hobby. There’s no need to be a pro right away :)

  19. Fabulous tips – I’m going to take them to heart even though I only have a little point and shoot. Then I’ll be a pro by the time I move up to the big girl camera :) Have a great SITS day!

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:27 pm

      There ya go! I had a point and shoot for years before I received my DSLR as a gift. If it hadn’t been gifted to me, I would probably still have my little point and shoot. I never thought I’d enjoy something so technical, but surprise, it’s awesome. You never know – you might feel the same way!

  20. What a beautiful energy you have about you! I’ve been hopping onto SITS blogs for a long time now and I RARELY comment as I find a lot of the blogs are much of the same. this was VERY refreshing!!!

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:25 pm

      Your comment totally made me grin real big! Thank you so much for your comment – I feel like you understood what I was trying to get across. You’re right – there are so many blogs out there it can be VERY hard to stand out :)

  21. Great tips! I have a nice DSLR camera for my job, and it’s made me a much better photographer. This post makes me want to work even harder at it.

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:24 pm

      Every now and then I have had the opportunity to do some shooting for work-related projects and I agree – it really helps to hone your skills when you have to think on the spot. Thank you so much for your comment :)

  22. Found you from SITS. Thanks for the tips! I really want to start learning photography and these are great. I love your blog design, btw. :)

  23. Great photos! I bought a Canon Rebel T3 in December and I LOVE it! I mostly use it to take food photos for my blog but I am ready to get out and do some nature photos!

    Happy SITS Day to you! :)

    • sweet sarah

      March 28, 2013 — 7:21 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment! My advice is to take a walk outside – even familiar spaces are fun to discover with a camera in hand :)

  24. My blog is all about the pictures and buying my SLR was a huge improvement. I loved your post – so accurate about being silly, chasing down the picture and carrying your camera everywhere. I’ve been in a lot of embarrassing situations but, man did I get some great pics! Nice blog. Visiting from SITS.

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