your story

Discussion in 'Photography Forum' started by queequeg, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. queequeg

    queequeg Senior Refuge Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Virginia Military Institute
    So, for those on here who are more experienced (perhaps you professionals) how did you get started in photography? I'm a senior in high school and have taken the photography courses at my school but I want to know where do I (and others like me) go next in improving? If yall wouldn't mind could you share your story? was it picking up as you went, a mentor, much schooling, anything.... PM's would also be nice if you want. Thanks for all your help.
  2. Lots O Decoys

    Lots O Decoys Elite Refuge Member

    Dec 19, 2002
    TN River
    You are very lucky that you are interested at an early age, and I commend you for asking. Your mind is like a sponge and what you retain now you will retain longer than someone of my age. I started much later... age... 34 and trust me, it is much more difficult to efficiently process all of the information that I have crammed into my brain for the last 6 years.

    I started out shooting action sports for my wife's softball team, giving shots to the parents and at the end of the season they gave me enough to cover film costs... We needed a photographer for an event that we sponsored so I agreed to take action shots and try and sell them for a fundraiser... Lets just say, it wasn't exactly profitable! I started shooting a little for the local paper, and then we were asked to setup at the district basketball tournament, and things went great! The next summer we contracted with USSSA softball and did about 5 tournaments and the next year we did 16. It has snowballed from there. We now have a studio and do weddings, seniors, families, kids, and sports. I have followed the try it and fall on your face method, and it works but there are better and easier ways out there... That's pretty much the short version. Just keep in mind, that it usually takes time... a lot of it!

    The best advice I can give you starting out, is to read all that you can on the internet, and don't be afraid to ask questions... There is no such thing as a stupid question... Just stupid people that don't ask...

    There is more information there than you can ever need. Next, practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. Don't be afraid to think outside the box or break the rules. Some incredible photography hasn't resembled what you might be taught in class. Traditional sells, but different pays better! If you ever get them to say, my gosh, I have never seen anything like that! You know you are in their wallet!

    On hand seminars are usually reasonable, and networking is unlimited at these seminars. Try and find your style (this may take a while) and then perfect it.


    It's like ford vs chevy... canon vs nikon... Before you go and buy a bunch of expensive equipment, understand how to manipulate the camera you have. Try all of your settings and see what they do, and in my opinion, most importantly, learn how to "see" light. Where is it coming from, how is it going to effect your shot, how can I use the light that is there, where is the shadow going to go, how much light do I want in the shadows, and THEN learn how to add effect by adding artificial light. By doing this you are learning the limits of your equipment and will aid you in what to purchase later.

    The new age of photography has seemed to turn to what you can create in your head. By saying that, I mean if you can dream it, you can do it on a computer. One of the most world reknown wedding photographers follows the rule of take a picture of the canvas, and then finish the art on the computer... It's mind boggling what he comes up with.

    Hope I haven't confused you, because I wish that I had done this at your age...
  3. terryger

    terryger Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    your next step is snap-snap-snap that shutter! when you have 50-60 k shots under your belt you'll have a much better idea where you may be headed and if its worth the gas!;)

    btw, i have 2 young ladies(your age) that hang around me every chance they get learning what they can about photgraphy.

    best of luck to you. :tu
  4. Dizzy Duck

    Dizzy Duck Elite Refuge Member

    Dec 9, 2000
    Gettysburg, Pa and Southern MD
    First, you'll have to realize that I'm a 55 year old "Graphics Geezer", "Crusty, Old School Technique Photographer, who had to have film pry-ed away form his cold clammy paws" and "Very much set in his old ways of doing things the real photographers way"... "I say that with a smile and a smirk and at the same time and perhaps a wink of the eye as well? Photography was quite by accident, although I have always been impressed with the Images from National Geographic (of which I had a dream come true) and the old Time Magazine.
    I don't know why,,, photography that is,,, since I graduated with a BS in Meteorological Science from the University of Oklahoma with an aviation minor.
    I'll try to make this short and sweet! I guess it started in the Army and Vietnam as a Helicopter Pilot ferrying around the Stars and Stripes Reporters and Photog's, when not out chasing those chopstick waving folks with those peculiar funny round little hats on their pointed little heads and playing "Dustoff" for Uncle Sam in my Huey. I collected cameras and equipment from the base PX at cheap prices and finally caught the Bug. After the military, I landed a job with Petroleum Helicopters in Cajun country making daily jaunts to the offshore platforms of the Gulf coast. I also did some aerial charter work for a few of the local commercial photogs in and around New Orleans and then Houston where I'm from. I figured,,, here I was making a pittance,,,risking my *** trying to set a chopper down on a 50' by 50' piece of metal,,, 125' off the waters surface in a 45 knot wind,, with all sorts of crap to blow into while these guys where snapping pictures with a license to steal......Why not me?

    So I ended up partnering with one of the photographers I had been working with and we formed a joint venture. Until the Oil bust of the 1980's, Industrial, Aerial and Commercial photography was my bread and butter. At the same time I was attending seminars, workshops and was grasping all of the photographic knowledge I could absorb. I also worked as a freelance photojournalist for a few publications in the Houston area including Southern Living Magazine. I went to Switzerland for a two week Large format workshop with Sinar Cameras. I was also blessed with attending one of his final "Sermons on the Mount" with the late Ansel Adams at Yosemite. I served a year as the vice president of the Houston Professional Photographers Guild as well.

    After the oil bust and my buisiness partner developed cancer and decided to retire, I took a chance at a part time dream job working with this totally insane Frenchman and the National Geographic Society on the Titanic project by helping the frenchman build a collage of the ship from the hundreds of images from the robot camera used. One thing led to another and I begain to call DC myy home with 16 more years at the magazine in Prepress Graphics and layout and design before the Magazine decided to get rid of all of us old folks for younger, cheaper labor. (From Shutter to Computer and now back to both).

    So here Iam now with a small home studio outside of Gettysburg PA trying to make ends meet.....Thank god my wife is gainfully employed!


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