Dec 18 2018


When you’re out with friends having fun, someone in your group will surely bring out a camera to snap a picture. Or when you’re home alone with your cat, you might take a picture of him when he does something cute. Photographs are a great way to keep a memory forever, on your phone or on your wall. But with so many people taking pictures, there are also many bad pictures that are too dark, or too light, or out of focus because taking a great photo takes practice.

Photography has become so popular that most cities have classes to teach people how to use their cameras and how to take the best picture. Some of these classes take place outdoors to teach students about nature photography, other classes might focus on taking pictures of people inside a room.

Rafael and Gary are talking about how photography has become very popular and the importance of learning how to correctly use a camera. Find out more in today’s English lesson about how to be a better photographer.


Rafael: Photography is hard. Here I am trying to make a living taking pictures of beautiful images in nature. And I feel like everybody wants me to take pictures of them at their wedding.

Gary:  You need to have a really good eye to be able to frame a good photo.

Rafael:  Yeah.

Gary:  And there are so many people using websites like Instagram. Photos are so trendy now.

Rafael:  Yeah, Instagram is trendy. You see a lot of photos up there that you can tell the photographer had a big lack of expertise.

Gary:  Yes, because they don’t know the settings of their camera or the settings of their phone, because a lot of people are using their phone to take photos.

Rafael:  And I think reading manuals has become a lost art.

Gary:  I’d agree with you on that. My digital SLR has a really thick manual and I actually did read through a bunch of it because there were so many features that I had no idea what to do when I first got the camera.

Rafael:  Well, anyway, I want to show you this amazing photo I took in Mount Hood.

Gary:  That is really nice. You’ve got a good eye!


Rafael works really hard at his photography expertise by going out and taking beautiful pictures of nature, but he is annoyed that people only ask him to take pictures of them at events. Gary agrees that it takes a good eye and a lot of practice to be good at photography.

Photography has become very trendy, but Rafael thinks that people need to read their camera manuals to really learn about their digital SLR cameras. Gary agrees that people need to better understand their camera settings to take the best pictures.

Do you carry around a camera all of the time? What is your favorite subject to photograph?

Grammar Point

Simple Past Tense

Rafael shows Gary an amazing photo that he took at Mount Hood. The verb took is in simple past tense.

The simple past tense is used to talk about a completed action or state that occurred in the past. To form this tense, you simply add ed to the end of the verb, as long as it is a regular verb. For example, the past tense of walk is walked. Be sure you use the simple past whenever you say when something happened in the past, for example, “I talked to her yesterday.”

There are many irregular verbs in the simple past tense, however. For example, the past tense of take is took. The past tense of does is did. Be is especially tricky, because we say I/he/she/it was and you/we/they were.

To form the negative in the simple past tense, we put did not before the base form of the main verb, as in, “I did not see a movie last night.” Did not is often shortened to didn’t, especially in spoken English. With the verb “to be,” we use was not, as in, “I was not impressed by the film.”

Which is correct, “He have a great time at the party last night?” or, “He had a great time at the party last night?”


  1. What types of photos does Rafael like to take?

  2. What word/phrase describes something that people do but is not done very often anymore?

  3. Gary says you need a __ to be a good photographer.

  4. Which sentence uses the simple past tense?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!