I'm not about to get all sappy about my wonderful husband, Paul. At least not today, anyway. But I will tell you how I, a high school senior photographer, got my start.
For our first wedding anniversary, Paul bought me a Minolta camera. This was before the digital age, so it was a film camera, but it was an SLR, which allowed me to change lenses. I tried to figure out how to use it. But I am more of a hands-on learner, so I didn't get very far. For sure, I barely read over the pages in my book about exposure. I shudder (get it, sounds like shutter) as I remember thinking I didn't really need to understand exposure. (Ha! Turns out that couldn't be further from the truth.)
Fast forward to about 10 years ago. I had just quit my professional career as a software engineer and had two small children at home. In retrospect, I was desperate to use my brain and be proficient at something again. Paul encouraged me to take a photography class at night at a local junior college.
That is when I fell in love with photography.
One night a week, for a couple of hours per class, we learned about focal length, shutter speed, ISO, composition. And we learned about exposure. It was finally starting to make sense. Weekly assignments were sometimes difficult but I was learning the basics and practiced whenever I could, including taking lots of photographs of our two little boys.
But the main way I learned about photography was by practicing still life. Museums are full of them and I was beginning to understand one reason why. First, the subjects don't move, they don't complain, and, if you have the space, you can come back to it anytime. By this time, I had bought my first digital SLR and had joined a local camera club. The camera club members were extremely helpful. The club contests forced me to keep shooting every month, even when I did not want to. I say that because most months, the contest had a theme, such as "Blue", or "Sports". The themes forced me to experiment.
Here are a few of those still life images:
Yes, the theme was "Blue". This was a difficult one to come up with:
I love, love, love Gerber Daisies. A print of this hangs in our half bathroom:
This one's my Dad's army uniform for an American themed contest:
I tell you this story because maybe some of it is your story. Maybe you are a photographer or a musician, or a dancer. So you get the process and what it feels like to fall in love with an art form. I'd love to read your stories. Feel free to comment below.
I am a senior portrait photographer in the Dallas, Texas area. If you are interested in hiring a senior photographer, I hope you'll give me a call! My number is 214.783.9691 (call or text). Or you can e-mail me at Dawn@StudioYouPortraits.com.