When it comes to learning photography online, there are SO many courses and workshops available, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one is the best fit for you. And if you’ve already tried the Google and YouTube rabbit hole, you’re probably close to information overload!
It doesn’t help that a lot of online photography courses tend to be information-heavy and filled with confusing technical jargon, with no one to help you understand where you’re going wrong and what you need to do to get it right.
Which is exactly why CLG Graduate Laura Walker chose our Enthusiast Photography Course! Disheartened by the negativity and judgement she’d found in some online photography groups, she was looking for supportive, encouraging space in which to learn, and CLG ticked all the right boxes!
So today, I’m excited to introduce you to Laura and share her story. She’s a Click Love Grow Enthusiast Course Grad and mum of two gorgeous boys from sunny Queensland…
I’m a mum of two beautiful boys, a gorgeous chocolate Labrador and two crazy guinea pigs. My youngest son is aged 6 years old and has a hidden disability (Level 3 Non-verbal Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and an Intellectual Disability). Being a special needs mum is tough, but I have the most supportive and encouraging husband in the world.
My eldest son is 9 years old and is the most compassionate and understanding kid. He is usually happy to pose for photos (sometimes only for monetary bribes “How much money do I get?” Ha ha!). Photos of my youngest son are always documentary, as he cannot be directed to look at/away from the camera or told what to do.
I live in sunny Queensland, Australia, and I am lucky enough to work in one of the most amazing places in the state, The Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art on the banks of the Brisbane River. I’m surrounded by beautiful art every day, and I love being inspired to create my own. I work full time, so my weekends are filled with exploring beautiful locations with my family (and my camera!). I am very lucky to live so close to so many gorgeous places.
I really wanted to be able to capture beautiful photos of my kids and relatives to preserve our memories. I wanted to be able to look back on those special moments and cherish them forever. I also loved the idea of documenting our family story for future generations. So to realise this dream, I decided to go out and buy an expensive camera!
I had zero knowledge of how to use one, I just thought if I bought a fancy camera, I’d be able to take beautiful photographs of my family instantly! It’ll be easy, right?
Ah no. That was definitely not the case! I still vividly remember the day I got my camera, popped it into auto mode and snapped the first picture of my son.
I looked at the picture on the back of the camera and frowned. I was confused… wasn’t my fancy camera supposed to make all my photos look amazing??? The photo looked like I snapped it with my phone!
The same thing happened when I took my camera out for its first adventure. We were going swimming with family and I was so excited – I had this amazing camera and I was going to take these incredible-looking photos with splashes of water, sunbeams and smiling kiddos!
Well, I took my pictures, went home and opened them on my computer. I almost cried! The photos looked awful: they were over-exposed and blurry. I was so upset and disappointed! I thought I was utterly hopeless at photography and that I was never going to be able to take a decent photo. I was so disheartened that I put my camera away, and the odd time I did get it out, my photos continued to look flat and un-inspired. I questioned why I ever bought the camera in the first place!
When I’d had my camera for around 12 months, I decided it was time to learn how to use it properly. I started out by reading a few blogs and watching a few YouTube tutorials but nothing really stuck. I just didn’t understand.
Part of the problem was that the terminology was too technical, so I just couldn’t grasp it. And being bombarded with SO much information, I struggled to comprehend any of it. I felt very overwhelmed!
So I started looking for some beginner photography groups on Facebook. I figured it might be easier to learn alongside other new photographers – we could muddle through together.
Oh boy, was I wrong! Some of the conversations in these groups were SO judgemental – some were even downright rude – so I was scared to even post anything, and ended up feeling even more discouraged.
Until I stumbled across Click Love Grow…
While I was hunting for beginner photography resources, I came across CLG’s free mini courses, and it was like the penny dropped – all of a sudden, I realised that taking compelling photos was a skill I could learn!
It was like Lou was in my home, speaking to me personally, and saying “You can take great photos – let me show you how.”
I joined the Loving Photography With Click Love Grow beginner Facebook group, and as I scrolled through all the amazing photos and read all the wonderful stories of other beginner photographers sharing their journeys, I began to feel hopeful that one day I might be able to take amazing photos too.
So I made the decision to invest in myself – I joined the Enthusiast Photography Course in early 2020, and I’ve never looked back!
I eagerly jumped into every lesson. I was so excited to FINALLY learn how to use my camera, and I loved the Enthusiast Course from the very beginning because of the way that Lou teaches.
She delivers the information in such a warm and friendly way – it almost feels like your best friend is in your home teaching you!
The courses are detailed and thorough but everything is broken down into small chunks so you can grasp every detail, before moving onto the next one.
Lou uses lots of practical examples, and the live chat gave me the chance to ask all my niggling little questions and get clarification on a couple of things I’d been struggling with. I never felt overwhelmed, and the lessons were all there for me to work through at my own pace, and to review and revisit as many times as I needed to feel confident with each concept.
One of the most useful lessons I learned during the Enthusiast Course was the importance of finding good light.
Looking back on that disastrous pool adventure, I realise now that one of the reasons those photos turned out SO badly is because the light was really harsh and difficult to work with, and back then, I didn’t understand light or how to take photos in different lighting situations. Now, I am constantly hunting for – and finding – amazing light, even in my own home.
Understanding light has made SUCH an amazing difference to my photos.
My biggest ‘Ah ha!’ moment during the Enthusiast Course was the aperture lesson. Lou asked us to take a series of photos with slightly different apertures so we could see the effect changing our aperture had, and all of a sudden, I FINALLY understood! I used a garden ornament as my subject for the course, and now, using my newfound understanding of how aperture affects light and depth of field, I’m able to take the most amazing portraits of my kids!
Learning the basics of composition was another favourite lesson, and knowing what elements make up a compelling photo has really improved my images. When I’m out with my camera, I often hear Lou’s voice in my head telling me to make purposeful composition choices!
I also love, love, love editing!!!! It’s almost as fun as taking the pictures! Taking a photo and enhancing it to its full potential is such a great feeling. Before I found CLG, I knew nothing about Lightroom. I had no idea what a RAW file is, or what white balance meant. In fact my editing skills were limited to applying an Instagram filter! Now, I love experimenting with Photoshop and Lightroom to create something extraordinary.
I was first drawn to CLG because the people were so nice! Unlike some of the other beginner photography groups I’d found on Facebook, their Loving Photography Facebook group was so supportive and encouraging. Those same threads run through both the Enthusiast Course, and the CLG Grads group which you get invited to join once you complete the Enthusiast Course. The whole CLG community is incredible!
Everyone lifts each other up, no matter their skill level. From the moment I joined the CLG community, I felt accepted and included in a community of like-minded people. Their Facebook groups have SUCH a fabulous vibe! They are uplifting, awe-inspiring, exciting, helpful, fun and most of all, supportive. No question is stupid and every member is valued.
It’s great to feel accepted and supported while on my photography journey. It is truly a fabulous community.
We love seeing a before & after set of images side by side, as it’s such a visually powerful way to showcase the transformation in our student’s photography in just 8 weeks after taking the Enthusiast Photography Course. So please enjoy Laura’s fabulous before & after set!
Many thanks to Laura for sharing your beautiful images and your story to which I know so many women will relate. If you want to see more of Laura’s photography check her out on Instagram.