Photography Landmark: how I got here

I almost hesitate to use the word photography here... maybe photo taking landmark? Because the thing is, I'm not a photographer - I have waaaay to much respect for my photographer friends to claim to be one - but I've been working hard to learn to take better photos. I'm pretty proud of the results, just saying....

Today I wanted to share the top things that have helped me get this far.

1. Knowing my camera: I know, I know grooooaaan... but learning the ins and outs of my camera has totally changed my ability to take better photos. I own a Canon Rebel DSLR which has a lot of setting options, but even knowing how to adjust little settings on my iPhone makes a huge difference. (Did you know you could tap different areas on the view screen to adjust the exposure?) If you're overwhelmed and need somewhere to start I would recommend a) figuring out how to turn off the flash and b) learning how your camera uses white balance. Trust - those two will help a ton.

2. Getting a tripod!: Oh my gosh. I got a tripod between the two couch pictures above (it was a Christmas gift). See how much more clear the image is? That's because using a tripod helps me take advantage of my camera's shutter speed options in low light situations, which let's face it, is almost every indoor light situation. If you own a camera that lets you control shutter speed, buy a tripod.

3. Finding editing software I love: For me, this was Photoshop. This might be another grooaaan moment because photoshop is so expensive, but I thought I needed to at least mention it. Photoshop has been a monumental help in my photo life - there's a reason it costs so much, super quality. If you have photoshop and you're curious, I mostly use the free Photoshop actions from Pioneer Woman to edit my photos.

4. Taking a million photos: For every photo you see on the blog, there were probably 5 others that didn't make the cut. I take SO many photos and with each one I feel myself getting more confident with my camera and creative with the composition of my photos. Practice makes perfect - there's a reason that saying is so cliche ;)

Do you have any tips that have changed your photo taking life? Share them in the comments so we can all learn together - thank you in advance!

PS. My apartment made it into Apartment Therapy's Small Cool Contest! Eeeeee!!! Take a second to check it out if you want. I'd also be so so grateful if you feel like voting for me :)