Here is a little about my photography journey that has brought me to now.
For those who may be curious, I wanted to give you all a simple overview of my photography career so far. I’ve always been interested in photography. I would say that probably started when the first iPhone came out. Just like many beginners others who have followed along that path. The iPhone really was a revolutionary piece of technology. I would snap some photos, toss a filter on them and people would say, "YO, you need to do that professionally." I would laugh, "Yeah...sure sure" and then continue on with my day. This was in my early 20’s. I’m now 30 and it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I really began taking photography seriously. I’d always been drawn to landscapes. Those amazing scenes that just suck you in. So I decided you know what I’m going to try this. I took a loan out against my 401K and bought my gear. I bought a laptop and some basic Nikon equipment. Entry level cameras. It’s all I could afford and looking back it’s a blessing that I started there.
The camera’s showed up and I went...I have no idea how to use this. I then slammed that laptop open and started searching on google and YouTube. "How to be the best photographer of all time." Okay, maybe I didn't search for that but it wasn't far off. I watched tutorials, dove into other people's works and copied all of the trends. If that style was in you can bet your ass I was using it.
Then I had a good friend of mine asked me, “You bought a camera right?” I go yeah. He says "I have some family coming and we need photos taken of us." I go ummm...yeah I don’t know if I’m the man for the job. I’ve never done that. I just do landscapes and it’s currently iffy on my work with those. He says, “We’ll pay you $100” Say no more! I’m there and know exactly what I’m doing. (I had no idea what I was doing." I was very good at winging it though. It also helped they were good friends and understanding. To my amazement, the photos didn’t turn out too bad...like for someone that just went in and started taking pictures. I give them a solid 3 out of 10. That began my career. It didn’t sky rocket...but it did slowly start moving forward.
Eventually I got more clients and began growing a little bit, small, but growth nonetheless. The one thing I always stuck to was I need to make a career with this gear. If I can’t do it with the bottom of the line basic setup then there should be no point in me even trying. I kept to that for about the next 3 years. I didn’t waver and that was a tough but rewarding. I finally got to the point where I bought some good gear, all fuji cameras now and I’ve been photographing weddings, primarily for just under 4 years.
Finding my style was so difficult. Like I said earlier, I copied so many people thinking that was the ticket to pandora's box. If I can just be like them, then I’ll make it. That wasn’t true. I would say for about the first 2 years that’s what I did. I got to the point where I just wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy shooting weddings, doing these styles, doing the poses and classic photographs. It was draining. I had to stop and think. If I’m not happy doing this it’ll probably reflect in my work and if that happens the clients won’t be happy or maybe they would be. They might not even notice. I don’t know...that was just my dumb thought process. I finally changed to basic editing. Nothing over the top. Clean, crisp, simple work. I believe that simple is always best. For my style of shooting I really started to move away from traditional. I went clear to the other side. I started photographing in a very candid and documentary way. That's how I prefer my wedding photography to be. Cut way down on the traditional poses and began just being an observer at a wedding. Looking for the moments throughout the day and photographing those. That's really what it’s all about. The emotions and the people there.
I’m not where I want to be but I’m getting there. I expect this to be a life long and ever evolving journey. If I’m not continually growing and learning then whats the point really. Hopefully this helped if any of you are struggling. We all do. Not just in photography but in life.
When you see you a ladder you need to climb it. You remember in The Santa Claus movie with Tim Allen, he runs into a ladder? That’s what I’m talking about. Sometimes in life opportunities appear in front of us. It’s our choice whether we want to climb up there and see what is waiting. That climb isn’t always easy. There will be days you’re pissed off, or sad and you don’t feel that the journey is worth the reward. You’re wrong. I’ve been there and I was wrong. If you are pursuing something you’re passionate about, keep going.