My very first pictures I ever shot… and why they worked…or didn't…
I never wanted to be a photographer.
In fact, I had one duty as a student body officer in college that I absolutely hated: taking pictures.
Maybe it was the endless rolls of film always needing to be developed that creeped into my hectic schedule.
Or maybe it had everything to do with a sub par camera, lack of knowledge, and consistent mediocre results.
Whatever it was, digital changed all that.
In May, 2006, I borrowed my mom’s DSLR to shoot my sisters bridal pictures. Just for the heck 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.
So, how did they not work?
Well, five 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. And despite how vitally important I think it is to have something of a technical foundation, the most technically perfect photo in the world that lacks emotion and meaning still doesn’t stand against a technically lacking image with soul. Ideally, we want to marry technique AND meaning… but if you have to choose, go for the heart.
Are you ready to to marry the heart you have in your work with a technical foundation? Check out the class options that provide both technical and creative progress!
Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.
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