Photographer Confessions

Confess your photographic sins, my son…

Well, Ansel, I got started in the wedding business at 19 years of age, shooting video for a great company down in Tampa. Then, a friend of the video company, employed me to second shoot still photos for quite a few weddings. Oh, this is so embarrassing… that whole time I worked for both companies I didn’t know what f/stop was, what it did, or how to manipulate it. It’s not that I knew about f/stop and didn’t take initiative to school myself on its importance, it’s simply that I didn’t even know the term. Naive. Wow. I don’t know if I’ve ever told anyone that before. Now, I did know what shutter speed was and how to change it to achieve certain effects. Also, I knew how to roll on the ground and climb up stuff to get interesting angles. This helped provide variety to the main photog since he got straight forward shots.

Let’s see… I was given a DSLR kit as a graduation present. Took out the camera, attached the lens, and snapped a picture. “Hmm… this doesn’t look awesome. Why doesn’t this look awesome? This an expensive camera.” I was under the grand assumption that the camera instantly made everything look great, which, of course, is not the case.

When I look at some of the first weddings I photographed, I reminisce over shots that could have been. But that’s part of what being an artist is – growing and learning so as to advance your craft. Seeing gaps for improvement and filling them opens newer gaps begging to be filled. Absorption of styles, learning about lighting, trying different lenses, studying artists, gobbling up technical info, making the controls of the camera second nature. All these things lead to progress of the mind in terms of what’s possible as well as the technical know-how, which allows for genuine creation. Everyone starts somewhere, it’s good to self-evaluate and critique. When feeling overwhelmed with a task or a job, one way to ease the mind is to watch bodybuilders and know that sometime, a while ago, they started small and had a big goal in mind. Keep up with your work, shoot all the time, growth is imminent.

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