Hi I’m Tandra and I live in Texas with my husband, who’s in the military. I’m a stay at home mom to our three littles – a 4 year old son, and two daughters aged 2.5 years and 11 months.
Before becoming a SAHM I was a children’s counselor, and I loved being creative with the kids I worked with. Now that creativity has flowed over into photography, since my husband bought me a DSLR for Christmas in 2017. But it didn’t start out easy…
I thought I could just pick up the camera, point it and take a beautiful photo of my kid (soon to be kids, I was 38 weeks pregnant). When my daughter was born in early January, I tried to take photos of her, but the visions I had in my head were not showing up on my camera screen… they looked terrible! I couldn’t figure out why my images were not turning out the way I had envisioned them.
I was shooting in Auto at this point and started hearing people talk about manual mode. I didn’t know how to do it and quite frankly, I was intimidated. So I watched several YouTube videos, I bought the Nikon D3400 for Dummies Book, and a Photoshop course but it still was not working.
I became so frustrated with my camera and myself, that I gave up and I actually put the camera away for a while.
Then in March Lou ran a kid’s photography challenge with daily tips and prompts, and I picked up my camera again and jumped in! I loved all the advice and photo prompts that Lou gave us that week and especially the feedback, and that’s how I learn best – with set challenges and feedback. It was the first method I had tried where I felt I was actually learning how to use my camera, and I was finally headed in the right direction. It was starting to click.
So I joined the Enthusiast Course later that year, and I finally learned how to shoot confidently in full manual mode!
I no longer needed to rely on my camera to pick exposure or my focus point, as I had mastered both of those things and that gave me complete control over what I was capturing.
I was able to make my visions come to life within the frame, in a way that I had desperately wanted!
I had my second daughter after completing the Enthusiast Course, and I was SO excited to capture her birth now that I had all these tools from the course. I actually brought my camera with my to the hospital and did my own little Fresh 48 with her the day after my c-section. I was also lucky I had enrolled in their Creative Workshop focused on babies which gave me that extra knowledge to photograph a newborn.
Learning about lighting was a big take away for me. I used to be one of those people that always aimed for an evenly lit photograph, but I think it’s important to test boundaries and play with the rules of photography… and when you break the rules you can get some pretty amazing photos!
Now I crave fun and unique light and I love experimenting with different lighting situations.
Initially I was worried about paying for a course, as I was a stay at home mom to two kids and never planned to do it professionally.
But CLG has given me the foundation for my photography and a wonderful self-care tool. We all need our own outlets and for me that is photography, and I can easily do it any time of the day.
I know if I had not found CLG I’d still be stuck in auto trying to figure out why my vision wasn’t coming to life in my photographs, or I would’ve given up entirely.
I would highly recommend the course to anyone and everyone, because it doesn’t matter if you want to be a pro or a hobbyist, CLG is a great foundation for learning manual mode and how to really manipulate your camera settings to achieve your visions.
I’ve had several friends ask me how I’ve learned to take my photos of my children and always refer them back to CLG for their courses!
We love a side by side before an after as it’s such a powerfully visual way to show how far you can come in such a short time when you take the Enthusiast Course. So please enjoy Tandra’s fabulous before & after images – the first one was taken of her first daughter, just after she got her DSLR for Christmas, and the after shot was taken after taking the Enthusiast Course.
Many thanks to Tandra for your wonderful words and beautiful photos! If you want to see more of Tandra’s photography check her out at Instagram.
Join my new workshop and learn How to Shoot Pro-Quality Photos With Your DSLR… and it’s totally FREE to join! Register here for the workshop…