She Tried Out Learnivore

Nothing excites me more than when things just fall into place. When you put something out to the universe and it's all "you got it, dude!"

At the beginning of the year, I made a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish before the calendar struck 2016. One of them was Learn How To Use My Camera. My precious Nikon D3200 that Adam gave me for Christmas...of 2013. A full year later and I really had no idea how to use the thing outside of auto mode.

My plan was to take some sort of class because I knew it was something I needed to be guided through rather than teach myself. I needed my hand held on this one. I went so far as to make a list of all the available classes and courses and workshops in the Boston area, but didn't commit to any of them. 

Then my new pals at Learnivore contacted me.

What's Learnivore? I'm so glad you asked! It's a website launched by Bostonian Emily Burns last year that aims to connect instructors, coaches and mentors with lifelong learners. Whether you're looking for tutoring or test preparation for your kids, or want to delve deeper into your own interests, you can find someone to help you out.

After signing up for an account (it's free to use), you can either browse through instructors on a variety of topics and contact them directly or post a request for a lesson so they can clamor for your affections. I wrote a post with exactly what I was looking for - someone to teach me what my camera could do, what that whole F-stop and ISO stuff is, and the very basics of editing. Basically, assume I've never touched a camera before and go from there. Over the next few days, responses started to roll in from photographers and teachers and I started to feel guilty about having to choose just one.

Anyone can sign up to be an instructor on Learnivore so it's important to do a little homework before you choose.  Did they put some thought into their profiles? Do they have a link to their portfolio, if applicable? Of course the usual common sense rules apply - talk to the person first and meet in a public space. 

I ultimately chose the first instructor to respond - Suzi!  We exchanged emails and planned our first lesson for an hour at a cafe. Prices for lessons vary by instructor but were all reasonable for one-on-one lessons and are handled through the Learnivore website (using WePay).

If you're like me with a healthy (?) amount of social anxiety, meeting up with a stranger might seem scary. (I'm years removed from my online dating days and out of practice for this kind of thing). I can't speak for all the instructors on Learnivore, obviously, but Suzi was wonderful and friendly.  With a BFA in Photography from the School of the Museum Of Fine Arts, she clearly knew her stuff but was able to simplify it enough for me to catch on.  She brought along a cheat sheet for me to take home and refer to as I fiddled with all the settings on my own. We had a follow up lesson a few weeks later after I had some practice so I could ask more questions and go over editing. 

With just a few weeks of camera mastery under my belt, I already feel a zillion times more comfortable with it. I'm even using it on the M mode! Check me out! M for manual...and Molly. So how am I doing? You can be the judge! Here's a few of my favorite shots:

Learnivore has a fun little contest coming up! Check back on Monday for details!

Disclaimer: My first lesson was complimentary thanks to Learnivore.

Molly Kerrigan