Several photographers have been feeling a little nostalgic today on a couple forums I belong to. Looking back at where they started in their photography and where they are today. It's cute to see their photos from a few years ago and then something they recently took...improving and growing is what this business is about. If you don't you will go no where.
I felt like playing along but when I started to look for some "Then" pictures, I had to break out my portfolio. What's that you say? A portfolio? Yes, before blogs, websites, Facebook and Pinterest, photographers had to actually carry their printed work to meet with a potential client in a portfolio. I cracked open the pages of my portfolio, sitting on the shelf along side my family scrapbooks. My sweet little portfolio that served me so well all those years ago going through the pages brought back so many wonderful memories.
In order to show you pictures from my portfolio, I first had to scan the pictures. Because again, this was before the digital age when my pictures were done on film. I had to send my FILM to a lab and they sent me my prints along with NEGATIVES. When I wanted to have black and white pictures, I had to shoot with black and white film. If I wanted the blurred, frosty edge, I had to use a filter. LOL Now I'm feeling really OLD. So I scanned a few of my favorites and put them with current images to see where I came from and where I am now.
I'm not sure if many people know how I became a "professional photographer". (The definition of professional photographer is someone who is paid for their photographic services.) Like many professionals I know, I started as a "mom-tographer". Before I had my own kids, I took pictures of friends' kids...once I had my own, I became my kids' stalk-a-ratzie and did photos for friends and family.
I loved the outdoors and loved to photograph my subjects in outdoor settings. The beautiful, natural light was and is my favorite. I enjoyed taking my kiddos to new locations and take pictures. Friends would ask me to take pictures of their kiddos and families as well...I happily did it, because it was what I did!
I think it was in 1997, right after my 4th baby was born, a friend asked me if I could shoot a wedding. At first I said no...weddings are a huge, once in a lifetime shot...if you mess it up ~ there's no do overs! She said that they were paying for their wedding themselves and were going to fore-go having a photographer altogether. That really tugged at my heart-strings. From my own experience just a few years earlier when my sweet husband and I got married, we did the same thing. No money. Paying for everything ourselves. Entrusting a friend with a nice camera to take some pictures for us (which only 4 pictures turned out). But this was a little different. I knew my camera and very well. I knew how to compose a shot. So I told my friend that I would do it on a few conditions: 1) They didn't have to pay me BUT they had to furnish all the film and develop the film themselves. 2) Please don't be sad or hate me if everything goes wrong. ~ and they agreed. To my surprise...pretty much everything came out great. The best part, the bride and groom were happy! So happy, that they started to recommend me to their friends who were actually willing to pay me! LOL
But again, going back to not a digital world, I didn't have a portfolio...so I set out to build one. Offered free sittings...free bridal shoots...etc I even had a few friends who could still fit in their wedding dresses who did bridals with me, just to help with building my portfolio!
Line upon line...that is how I have built this amazing wonderful business of mine. I build a personal relationship with those who I photograph. I don't stop learning. I don't stop growing. I try to learn and absorb new and amazing things in the photographic world. About 7 years ago (I think it's been that long) I got my first DSLR. And honestly, I hardly used it. I still photographed almost everything with my film SLR and used the digital one as a backup. Slowly but surely, I learned to love the digital side of photography and now with Photoshop, have learned even a more artistic side to this craft.
So, there you have it...my little walk down memory lane. Thank you for indulging me. I hope you enjoyed it as well. It is so amazing to see where we start ~ to where we are now. I hope that in another 18 years I am still doing exactly what I love and sharing it with the world!
Again, I hope you enjoyed this. I know I did. We can do anything we put our minds and hearts into. Find what you love and be the best at it.