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Gaining Experience As A Photographer

I've been in that situation too where you are keen to put what you've learned to the test! Look, I get it, you've put time and effort into learning the craft but you need to practice.

How can I gain experience in photography?

There are different ways to get the practice you need. In this post, I've included a couple to give you ideas but there are a million more. I can do another post about this so let me know in the comments if this is something you are interested in.

Ask some friends or family members

This is a great idea if you have people around you who love pictures as much as you do. If you don't or if you are too shy to ask then this is easier said than done. Don't feel bad about not asking your friends. I do too find it hard to ask people you know to pose for me so this is completely normal. Nevertheless, keep in mind this is people who love you and will love your work so it's a really good starting point.

Start with objects

Photo of a bottle of gin from the top
Example of product photography

You don't need people to practice what you've learned. Go to a botanical garden, or maybe a zoo. Animals and flowers will never say no to a good picture. Plus, they never get tired so it's a good starting point.

Volunteer at charity events

Mother and son smiling at the beach
SurfAble event at Sumner Beach in Cristchurch, New Zealand

I absolutely love this one! I've volunteered so many times and I have loved every single time I've done it. There are a couple of posts coming up about those events so you can learn what I did wrong so you don't repeat my mistakes so stay tuned for that. But I cannot recommend this enough! Whether you get 10 pictures or 100, your work will be appreciated.

Go to public events

Woman during the Catrina Parade in Mexico City
My gorgeous mom with Catrina like makeup

This is also an amazing opportunity to put your skills to the test. Just like the charity events scenarios, you are not in control of anything apart from your camera settings. So if you want to see if you are up to the challenge, believe me, this is your chance. I recently went to the Catrina Parade in Mexico City and it was an absolute dream! Let me tell you all about it...

The Catrina Parade: a colorful procession of skeletons

A Catrina is an elegant skeleton figure extremely popular in Mexican culture. La Catrina is a sacred symbol that represents the way Mexican people see death and the afterlife. In Mexican culture, they choose to honor and celebrate the lives of the people who are no longer here with us rather than focus on the idea that they are gone forever.

Catrina druing Catrina arade in Mexico City
Mexican tradition of a Catrina in the Catrina Parade in Mexico City

This Mexican tradition happens every year, before the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, there is a 4.5km parade between the Ángel de la Independencia to the Zocalo (see the map below).

People get together to dress up as Catrinas with colorful and elegant dresses and incredible makeup. But when I say incredible, I really mean incredible! The details, the creativity, the colors! They are just out of this world. They also dress up as a Catrina version of famous Mexican icons such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Selena Quintanilla, among others.

Catrina wearing an elegant dress during the Catrina Parade
Catrina wearing an elegant dress during the Catrina Parade

Not only do you have so many things and colors to shoot at, but people are truly happy to be there and willing to pose for you with the biggest smiles on their faces. Lots of photographers go to this parade as well so you can see how they work with the Catrinas and learn right then and there.

Man dressed up as a Catrina
A Catrin as per Mexican traditions

If you want to experience this truly amazing event, visit Mexico City. There are 2 events (normally on 2 consecutive weekends) that you can come and shoot to your heart's content. Visit their website to check the dates before planning your trip.

I've included some more pictures below... Let me know what you guys think!


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