I wouldn’t call myself a photographer, but the art of taking photographs has always intrigued me.
When I was 10 years old, my parents bought me a Canon Powershot ELPH 100 HS for my birthday.
I remember being SO excited to have my own camera. At the time, we had a “family camera”, which was a small gray Canon. My dad had a Nikon DSLR (which he replaced with a newer model in 2012). He taught me a lot about photography; I learned the terms exposure, aperture, ISO, and more, as well as the meaning of each of them. I brought my camera many places because I was excited to get a chance to use it. I even participated in the 4-H photography project for a few years.
Although I haven’t used my little Canon camera in years, and I’ve used my dad’s DSLR sparingly, I still take a lot of photos. My iPhone 5s camera is the tool I use most often. It’s second nature to me at this point to whip out my phone and snap a photo of something. Most of these photos are of daily life. Pets feature in many of them; I would say landscapes also take up a large amount of my photography. I enjoy taking pictures of people, but I don’t do it as often as I’d like.
I don’t typically think about taking a certain approach to photos, unless I’ve thought about taking the photo beforehand. The majority of my photos I snap now are completely spontaneous, driven by whatever catches my attention in the moment and sparks the thought “I want to have a picture of that.” However, for the times I think ahead, the top things I consider are camera angle, lighting, and subject placement. I think that the amount of detail I give to the photo and any feeling or meaning I try to capture depends on how much time I have and how much I am personally invested in the picture. I couldn’t say how successful I am at that, but something I do think I have a certain level of success with is editing the photos in Adobe Lightroom. I don’t know exactly when I started learning how to use Lightroom, but my dad has used it to catalog all of our family’s pictures for as long as I can remember. I have numerous memories of sitting next to him as he edited and tagged the pictures, and he would explain what he was doing while I watched. At this point, I have a fair amount of experience with Lightroom, and I think I am often successful in editing photos to look the way I want them to look. This includes conveying certain feelings through the image. Of course, half the battle—or three-fourths of the battle—is taking the picture itself.
Going forward, I think the first step in becoming a better photographer is simply becoming more mindful and attentive to my surroundings. What’s going on? What’s worth taking a photo of? How do I want to capture this moment or this feeling?
Next, I also want to pay more attention to the details of the picture—especially depth.
An image can tell you so much about the moment it was taken and why. It tells you a story about the subject(s) and it tells you about the photographer and their personal style.
If you’re interested, check out Reflections on Photography + My Life (Part II) to see some photos I’ve taken.