How I got started in Photography
Rene is an old friend of mine, and I've been photographing her family for probably longer than I should have been. She's one of my friends who was gracious enough to support me as I learned and encouraged me a long the way. I'm sometimes asked how I got started in photography, so I thought that Rene's family session was a good time to answer that question in my blog.
Someone at a session a few weeks ago asked if I had gone to school to be a photographer, and was surprised to know that I was actually an Engineer in my past life, and that I have a BS in Industrial Engineering and a Masters in Manufacturing Operations. It sounds like a leap, but as I've said before, I believe photography is just the right mix of art and science and I think that appeals to me personally.
I purchased an entry level DSLR not too long after my second daughter was born. I shot it on auto, used the horrific on-camera flash, and generally sucked at using it. But I started to fall in love with it and yearned to learn more. At about that same time, the GM Plant I was working at shut down. Being unwilling to move out of town, I found myself without a job. Which was OK with me since I had not been happy working since I had become a mother. So I joined the MOMS Club of Spring Hill and began a different sort of life than I had lead up until that point.
I wanted to learn more about photography, and my first step was that I took a class at the Ritz Camera store in Cool Springs, where I had bought my camera. Unfortunately, these stores don't exist anymore, but that's where I started. It was a basic class, and I think they may have even offered it free with your camera purchase. But it taught me how to get my camera off the auto mode, and some basic composition rules.
I also read a lot of books. One of my favorite authors when I was starting out was Scott Kelby. Sometimes I read the books multiple times, just so that I would understand it a little better each time.
But the biggest thing that I did was to practice, practice, practice. The MOMS Club that I was a member of for years was a fantastic place for me to practice photographing children. I would shoot lots of candids at playdates, and eventually began more formally shooting events, like the Halloween Party. After a few years, friends (like Rene) began asking me to shoot their families annual photos for Christmas cards. Eventually, once my youngest went to Kindergarten, I went back to work full time. But after about a year and a half, I found myself unhappy with corporate life for various reasons. My best friend, Adina, urged me to start my own photography business. I wasn't sure I could do it or if I was ready, but she somehow convinced me that I could. So with my husband's support, I took the leap.
But the learning was far from over. From the moment i decided to go into business, I got even more serious about learning. My main source of education of the past two years has come from Click Photo School. Their online classes, and the community support that I get there has been priceless. I've made virtual friends who mentor each other and inspire me. I couldn't even count how many workshops, breakouts and seminars I have done through them.
So in summary, I pretty much eat/sleep/breath photography. My Facebook, Instagram and Feedly feeds are filled with articles, blogs and inspiration and I constantly try to learn new things. I do not believe there is a finish line to learning, and I'm grateful that there is not. I guess that's why they call it a passion.
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