The thing with self led learning photography is, you don’t know what you don’t know. So it can be a very long drawn out process of researching before you even work out what you need to learn, let alone finding the right course or tutorial to teach it!
Imagine how much easier it would be if you knew exactly what was missing from your photos, exactly the skills you needed to bring the wow factor, exactly the steps you need to take to do it? Oh aaand someone walking along beside you the whole way, guiding you through considered and in depth critique on your images?
Once you have the foundations, growing your skills to take the kind of photos that have wow factor, shouldn’t be that hard. But a surprising number of our Enthusiast Grads join our Advanced Course after having tried to build on their foundational photography skills, and discovered they still didn’t know what they didn’t know.
Pam Hart is one such Grad. She was an Enthusiast Grad who joined our Advanced Course after trying a bit of self led learning, getting nowhere, and deciding to once again put herself in our hands to help her achive her vision for her photos.
Why? Because she already knew it would work, and it would work fast.
I’m Pam, I’ve been married to my husband, Tim, for 8 years and together we have two boys, Harrison (aged 3) and Barrett (aged 1). We just moved to New Hampshire and we hope to start a little homestead with big gardens and some farm animals. Right now we have two dogs, Randy and a new puppy, Amos and we just got 12 chicks that will be laying hens.
I’m a stay at home mom these days but previously I was in the Air Force as Military Police and then I was a social worker. I have deployed and travelled to some amazing places and I’m so bummed I didn’t have my camera or knowledge that I have now!
I love food, always have. I love to eat it, cook it and now photograph it. I find I get about 10 seconds of tolerance from my kids with photographs and that is what led me to photographing food, flowers and my dogs.
I had a little interest in photography when I was younger, and I got a film SLR when I was in high school. I took it on a trip to France, and I took tons of photos but really had no clue how to use the camera. I took a black and white film course in college and enjoyed it, but that is about where it ended for quite a while.
I got a ‘fancy’ DSLR as a gift from my husband so I could take ‘good’ photos, but I just used it on auto. I’d bring it on vacations and try to take nice phones but on auto mode, and combined with a lack of composition knowledge, the images were just snapshots.
Then in November 2017 I had my first son, and I wanted to capture ALL the moments, big and small. I didn’t want to rely on memory, I have a horrible memory! I can’t afford to have a professional photographer for all of it, so I knew I needed to learn more in order to take good photos myself. I can remember being super pregnant and trying to rush learning manual mode!
I tried YouTube, online tutorials, online courses that were just videos without support (both free and paid). But nothing helped me get out of auto mode. Then when my son was 5 months old, I took CLG’s Enthusiast Course. Finally, manual mode made sense!
It gave me a love of photography as a hobby, and a desire to take even better photos of my son. I started to feel I could turn it into a side job one day. I also started to really enjoy food photography, which came out of a group conversation with two other CLG Enthusiast Course grads. We would set photo challenges for one another, and one week the challenge was food photography. I thought, I can totally do this! And I can remember that first food photo – it was a delicious breakfast of left over corned beef, cabbage and hash… and the photo was not at all what I had envisioned and it did not look appetizing at all!
I knew I could do better and I wanted to continue to learn and grow.
But I didn’t know what I didn’t know so I couldn’t just look up how-to’s online… plus that kind of self led learning had failed in the past.
I already knew from doing the Enthusiast Course that I learn really well with the CLG model of lessons, instructor support, group support, seeing critique and support of others and the challenges.
So I joined the Advanced Course in March 2019.
I really loved the composition lessons and high/low key exposures lessons! I learned a lot about reading light and tone, and how to make images work in those situations. I loved my low key images, and I still love shooting that way. That lesson really helped me to understand that low key doesn’t have to mean low light, and moody doesn’t have to mean low light either.
The skills I learned from those lessons formed the foundations that I now use to shoot and edit, whether it’s food, flowers or my sons.
I love the learning model. It is so different from other photography courses I have done and I love how it works.
I also love this community, partly because it is all female and I really appreciate that. I find all the ladies are supportive and positive, there is no competition or tearing each other down.
I have never met a group where people are so willing to help each other learn.
I have been in different side groups and become friends with other Grads, and I just learn so much from everyone. There are some really great photographers in CLG that inspire me too. Lately Sally Frawley – a food photographer and grad – has been a huge inspiration and motivator, and she has been so generous with her time and knowledge!
The Advanced Course is so worth it! You will dive into more advanced concepts and it will push you to grow… you’ll learn to think about light and subjects differently.
And don’t wait! I wish I’d taken it right away. I wasted so much time trying to troubleshoot by myself between the Enthusiast Course and Advanced Course.
I think a lot of learning is trial and error and making mistakes but it can be a bit arduous. But learning with the Advanced course takes out the growing pains, and I saw a huge leap in my quality of work as a result.
Check out Pam’s stunning transformation before and after the Advanced Course!
Big thank you to Pam for taking the time to share your story and delicious images! If you want to see more of Pam’s work, check her out here.
If you’re already shooting in manual mode, on our Advanced Photography Course you will learn to shoot with confidence in any scenario, and push yourself creatively to find and develop your style through intensive 1:1 critique on your work. Our next course is starting soon… join our wait list to get an email when we go on sale!
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