A lot of people ask me how I got my start in photography… It seems as though photography has become a popular trend. Everyone and their mom who has a SLR camera is now a “photographer”. Well, I got my start quite a while before this…
In 4th grade, I was homeschooled. I know, that probably explains a lot. My mom has always had a huge interest in photography… She studied it at Flager College and literally never goes anywhere without a camera. So, as my teacher, she decided to create her very own photography course that I would take. I used her 35mm Minolta and good old film. Film? What’s that? For those of you who don’t know what film is, click here. Mom taught me the basics… shutter speed, aperture, composition, etc. When I finished a roll of film, we would drop it off at Walmart and eagerly await its return in 3-4 business days. I vividly remember one of my first photography assignments. I had to take a picture of a wasp’s nest for 10 days in a row. That’s my mom for you… Instead of destroying the nest that would eventually wreak havoc on my neighborhood, she wanted me to document its growth. I also took lots of awesome pictures of gutters, grass, acorns and other beautiful subjects.
I was introduced to digital photography in 2004 when I got a job at a photography studio in Jacksonville. The studio’s main focus was senior pictures, but we also did undergrad yearbook pictures, school dances, sports, etc. Although I had to keep my camera on 1/125, f/8.0 ninety-nine percent of the time, it really was great exposure (no pun intended) to digital photography.
Christmas 2007: Santa brought me a Canon Rebel xti. Glory hallelujah! No more Kodak Easy Share!!!! This is when I really fell in love. I constantly played around with settings and promised myself that I would never set my camera to auto. I took pictures of everything you can imagine… Oranges, my Bible, roommates when they weren’t looking, my feet and far too many of myself.Someone may or may have not thought they were super good-looking back then. Over a 2.5 year period, I added a couple of lenses to my collection and eventually had a total of three: 18-55mm, 28-135mm and 50mm f/1.8. By the grace of God, people actually started to ask me to take their pictures. Uhhhh, what? You want me to take your engagement pictures? Like the ones you’ll have for, like, ever? So I did. For free most of the time. I think any photographer will tell you that word of mouth is the best friend of any new business. If you could really call my amateur photography a “business”. I kept booking shoot-after-shoot and even booked two weddings for this past summer.
In February of this year, my incredibly generous grandparents bought me a Canon 5D and 50mm f/1.4 in celebration of my graduation from Liberty. I remember opening my 5D and thinking, “I will never be the same!!” It was like a rebirth of my love for photography. I got this blog that you’re reading, I’ve shot two weddings, countless portrait session, logged 300 hours in Lightroom/CS4 and have 6 weddings booked for the next year. I would say it’s been a whirlwind, but as you can see, it’s been more like a slow, eleven-year process. But the tortoise wins the race, right? And please hear my heart… This post is not at all to build myself up; I just wanted to share where I’ve come from. And seriously, it’s only because of the Lord. He’s so good, way too good to me.