Beginners Luck: The First Photos I Ever Took

According to my “life plan” of ten years ago, today I should be a college music professor or half way to becoming famous as a music composer.

Funny how life has a way of not turning out the way you planned.

Instead of spending yesterday morning composing the next hit show on Broadway, I spent it creating a brand new photography course on Finding Your Voice (it’s going to be awesome!) and stumbled upon the photos that began this surprising turn in my carefully laid plans.

Here’s a little peek at the photos and some notes I penned a few years afterwards on just how pivotal that first experience was.

How it all started…

In May, 2006, I borrowed my mom’s DSLR to shoot my sisters bridal pictures. Just for the fun of it.
I had no idea the crazy turn of events that would follow from that playful day’s activity.

With camera in hand I set out to copy a local photographer we admired.  I copied his posing.  I copied his locations. And dang, I got what I thought were some amazing pictures!


Hindsight is 20/20.  At the time I gained a large inflated ego built on false confidence.  Today I can look back and clearly see that the “success” of those images had nearly nothing to do with me!

Why did they work?

1. I had a great camera and lens—(albeit I shot all in automatic, but having a good camera admittedly can make a difference!).

2. My sister is beautiful.  She can make any image look stunning.

3. My sister is also a dancer, so she’s naturally graceful and a capable performer.  She basically posed herself and I pushed the shutter release button.  We’ll just say “she made it easy”.

4. We already had an existing relationship with each other which made interaction easy and uninhibited.  Natural smiles were easy. We could both have fun together and it shows in the shots.

All this combined into a nice case of beginners luck 🙂  Everything I shot afterwards was more of an uphill battle. (Who knew that most people don’t pose themselves and smile at you naturally??!)

So, how did they not work?

Well, eight years later I can give you a whole list of  technical flaws.  The gear today is dated, and they were all edited in iphoto on a crummy uncalibrated laptop screen.

I didn’t know how to use light.

The exposures aren’t quite right since auto mode decided for me.


Despite their flaws, noticeable now to a trained eye…

I love them anyway.

1.  They represent the work of a beginner.  What beginners often lack in knowledge they can make up for in heart.

2.  They help me measure my progress.  I’m noticeably better now.  And thats super exciting to see the difference!

3.  They have emotion and memory.  I could choose to be really hard on myself today for everything they lack. But in all honesty, I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.
Despite how vitally important I think it is to have a technical foundation, the most technically perfect photo in the world that lacks emotion still doesn’t trump a technically imperfect image with soul.  Ideally, we want to marry technique AND emotion… but if you have to choose, go for the heart.

biopic2 Brooke Snow is the Professional Photographer for her own family and an Abundant Life Practitioner. She loves tree swings, the month of May, and early morning walks. She lives with her calm husband, adventurous son and bouncy baby girl in Northern Utah. Join her FREE Photo Perspective Photography course for great instruction on easy ways to immediately improve your photos.

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3 Responses

  1. I am not a trained eye . . . So only see a happy bride! I love these photos Brooke. It is fun to see Linds before I knew her! I have a lot to learn and I love to read your articles. Maybe some day I’ll have the Camera and take your classes!

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