Beginning a Photography Journey... / by Amanda Liew

I purchased my first DSLR (Nikon D3100!) right before Thanksgiving, so I had a mighty fun time playing around with it for the first time when I visited my cousin’s family in upstate New York! Fun fact: my dad is the youngest of 12 siblings all from one mom and dad. Aside from my dad, there was only one other son… and 10 sisters!!! Insanity! My uncle is one of the oldest, so his kids are only slightly younger than my dad. Therefore, THEIR kids are only slightly younger than I am! Even though I’m technically a generation older, Olivia is only 6 months younger. Nevertheless, staying with the Lees is always a good time. I got to practice out my photography skills while they got some cute family portraits! Luckily, my cousin’s family also had Nikon DSLRs and taught me a few things. My cousin recommended first shooting in the “A” (Aperture) mode rather than “M” (Manual) to start with. 

Here are some more cousins that I actually met for the first time! I’m the baby of the family, as you can tell.
Thanks to Christmas shortly after, I got to practice even more with my own family back in San Diego! With my brother away in China for two years and myself in school 3000 miles away, it’s been difficult to get some family pictures of all of us together. I came up with a great idea for my grandparents’ Christmas gift, though: a collage frame and a photoshoot to fill it up! We finally got some great family portraits. I, of course, enlisted my lazy brother to share the cost and agree to hanging the large frame up in their apartment! Meanwhile, I got even more practice and tried out a tripod with a timer for the first time. 
Aren’t my grandparents adorable? I loved their matching Christmas outfits!imageimage
I definitely struggled with shooting in artificial lighting. Comparing the pictures between my cousin’s family and my own, I’m realizing how much of a difference natural lighting makes! Over Christmas break, I’ve been searching for some basic DSLR tutorials online. I found a really great one by Aimee at It’s Overflowing. She runs through Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed, and Metering very thoroughly and simply! I’ve found that a lot of tutorials online make a lot of assumptions about your photography background which can be very frustrating. Aimee, however, does a wonderful job of explaining every step and even assigning little “assignments.” If you want to check it out, click here.

I found out that one of my high school friends has a Nikon D3100, too, so we’ve decided we’re going on an adventure throughout all of San Diego to practice! I’m really excited and loving my camera so far!