Well, NOW where to start? I have so many things to share with you. Thoughts you could appreciate and relate to, I'm sure.
But for now, I'll make it cut and dry: my journey up to this point. I think it's incredibly helpful to other would-be photographers out there to know that, for some, the journey really does all start rather "hoopty" – that is, some folks just stumble and fumble until they get it right.
- I have long been wanting to improve my photography skills. But if you recall, there wasn't a class or place I could get real (and good) information. So I checked out books and the web. But I still felt a little hampered. I am a person who needs another person to bounce thoughts of. Andrea was happy to oblige me when she could. But let's face it – the girl is BUSY with her three.
- Enter Rachel. When I found out there was another shutterbug – and one who had just opened her own photography business a few months previously – in my SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS, I crossed my fingers and hoped upon hope that she'd be up for a camera-buddy.
- I bought the newest Photoshop and we met for coffee a few times and she showed me a few of her tricks…it was enough for me to figure out how to get somewhere. Which makes all the difference when trying to decipher all the Photoshop Spanish out there.
- My neighbor asked me to shoot her daughter's first birthday party. She took a chance on me (well, she'd had a beer when she'd asked so maybe she didn't know any better) and I'm grateful. The shots were entirely indoors, on an overcast day, and I was crammed among lots of people – but I was up for the challenge. I know VERY LITTLE about using my flash but I worked it out and learned a lot from that shoot. It helped that Rachel let me borrow her (very expensive) zoom lens. If you're going to be doing event photography of any kind, you need a zoom lens. I also got a lot of practice with PS and even found a great way to use all those macro pics:
- Then Rachel let me join her on a baby shoot. I wanted to see if the process was what I was thinking. I'm the type who needs to see the process – not so much because I need to know what to do (although it's helpful that way, too), but to confirm for myself once I do go for something that my thoughts and feelings are pretty normal. Otherwise, I tend to think things should be way more difficult or perfect than they really need be. I didn't want to be in the way, so I took several photos of Rachel working. The backdrops and poses were her creative ideas. But when I did (pensively) finally join the shoot, I got a couple of shots: …which made me think. Maybe I can do this.
- So I decided to keep building my portfolio. And this time I'd set up my own shoots and see what happened. Rachel and I set a date to rent the 50mm 1.2 (nothing like a great lens to inspire confidence). I asked a couple of (very supportive and photogenic) friends to indulge me in a shoot, with the caveat that it may all turn out to be crap.
And I will pause here, because I just can't stand for one post to be the length of an epic novel. And frankly, my new motto is Baby Steps. Okay, that's not really a motto. It's a cliche. But its a great excuse to not expect too much of myself all at once. And the girls are all over me to pay attention to them. More later…
PS. If you're looking for some sweeping, glorious end to this story, I'm afraid you might be disappointed. Part 2 ends with how the shoots went. I'm out of gas after that. 😉