SELF TAUGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
I don’t have some fancy story about how I got into photography. I don’t have childhood memories of playing with cameras, didn’t take a class in high school, just bought a cheap film camera to take photographs of my girlfriend because she was hot, luckily I married that girl but that’s a different story. I moved on to college and got a degree and was luckily unlike some to not end up working at Starbucks while trying to pay off huge student loans. Instead I grew with a great company which allowed me the freedom to pursue my passion for photography but again I’m getting sidetracked.
Back to being self taught- no classes, no internship, just shooting and photography was so much fun. The only thing I knew about lenses were some could zoom in far and some could shoot wide, they had numbers on them that I could care less about. All I cared about were getting great photographs. Photography was fun.
Some photographers need the best camera and lenses on the market, I realized that the people with the best equipment are usually sub par shooters. My first wedding was shot on a point and shoot, and I got great photographs that are on the front pages of my portfolio today. I then got a Nikon for an anniversary gift, not knowing that meant I took a side in some crazy Jedi / Sith war against canon, something I’ll joke around about because that’s what were supposed to do, but I really don’t care. To be honest I wanted a panasonic but it was more expensive. So back to real cameras, I recently had my main camera break, I replaced it with a new one but in the process realized I somehow moved on past the good ole days when I had the confidence that I could shoot a wedding with a point and shoot and get great photographs. I’m in the process of going back there, I have a 3k camera in my bag right next to a $50 toy camera. They’re both real, they both take photographs, it’s up to me to make them great. Now a days people in the crowd have better equipment then the photographer shooting the event. Photographers need to accept that and accept the fact that it is their job to still get the best photographs.
So I guess it’s time for me to go back to the past. I love taking great photographs. I shoot for me and my clients, I’m sick of wasting time playing the Facebook game and getting people to like me, I’m sick of checking to see how many people look at my site or blog on a daily basis. I’m sick of trying to post a blog once a day to keep my site relevant. If I have some stuff to share I will, some weeks it might be 5 times, other weeks it may be none. I’m not here to bash blogging because I truly believe it is a great opportunity to get your work seen, I’m simply against unnecessary blogs that were done just for the sake of blogging. I believe there are some great photographers that bury their work. A great photograph needs to be seen, not stored away on some hard drive simply because the photographer is too afraid to adapt.
I’m not ashamed to be self taught. I’m not ashamed that if you ask me what the range is on the lens that I’m using that I may look down at it and read it to you. I’m not ashamed that I can’t look at a sunset and tell you what aperture setting and shutter speed would be ideal – but I can shoot it and get the photo I want to get. I’m not ashamed to admit it took me 40 minutes to figure out how to open the film backing of my used F4 I picked up, and that I ruined the first roll of film because I didn’t know I had to manually rewind it. That’s just all part of the process as I continue to grow into the photographer I want to be, not anyone else. If that means I have 5 clients a year then great, they’ll get my heart and soul put into their photographs. If I have 50 then they’ll get the same as well. Photography to me simply comes down to preserving memories, yet at the same time the heart of the photographer is also being caught in the image. Maybe that’s why we photographers care so damn much. So I’ll continue to show my heart through my images, whether through first kiss, mission-focused, eastlake church, or another photographer I may be assisting. The images are what matters, not the name of the group or business. So my encouragement to my fellow photographers is to simply keep shooting, don’t get caught up in the distractions. If you do your photos probably suck and you’re just too afraid to do anything to improve.