It all began with a youtube video.
I know, sounds strange, but the path that ultimately led me to becoming a photographer was not straightforward at all. Back when I was in highschool, a junior or so, I loved watching youtube videos.]
Like…everyday for multiple hours a day. Because in 2009 that was still relevant.
I remember thinking that the people I watched seemed to be having so much fun making these videos. I knew viewers like me enjoyed watching them, so I decided that I wanted to start making my own videos as well.
I began on a “trusty” point-n-shoot canon powershoot that was hand-me-downed from my dad. The quality was questionable of course, but I was having fun and that’s what really inspired me in the beginning. I wanted to answer questions and help people, but in a humorous way. Eventually I started to include more fashion and natural hair videos to help & inspire people too. (In case anyone is interested, my youtube username is ShekinahShazaam and there’s still a bit of content on there.) I haven’t made a video in quite some time partly due to my aging macbook’s weakness with handling video editing and also because I don’t feel the pressure or drive of making them like I did when I was younger.
But back to the original story.
Once I reached my second year in college, I saved up from my meager part time job wages and proceeded to purchase a DSLR. This was convenient because I could use it for my photography class as well as take pictures for any design projects if need be. I bought the Canon Rebel T3 ($500 at the time) instead of saving up 100 more for the T3i.
I know I know. I should have just waited and saved up more. But patience is not strong with this one. Oh and before anyone loses their fecal matter on how these seem “outdated”, this was back in 2011 so those were my affordable entry level options.
I fumbled through the motions of learning on my first seemingly grown up camera. Filming myself wasn’t too terribly difficult, but I soon grew sick of the back and forth of trying to focus myself. So I saved up again for the T3i (which was now only 50 bucks more.) I sold my T3 on craigslist and proceeded to film some more with my new camera. I am of course now in the process for saving up once again, but this time I’m aiming big for the 5d Markiv.
“But what the muck does that have to do with photography Shekinah?!” You may be asking. Well hold up, I’m getting there.
I learned a lot in my class and switched over to Manual mode and shooting RAW (best decision hands down!) I still hadn’t mastered the basics, but I knew enough to get me by and produce decent results. I enjoyed the versatility of a DSLR and ventured into the deeper waters of planning my own shoots.
It wasn’t until about my 4th year of college that I grew to love photography just as much–if not more–than filmmaking. I never called myself a photographer because that’s not what I studied and I didn’t want to be one of those pretentious fools that give themselves a title when they go out and buy expensive equipment only to not know how to use it or float by with auto mode.
You know who I’m talking about 😉
So instead I was the graphic designer who also took pictures. I made friends with all different types of creative people including photography students. It was actually nice because I gave them pointers on design stuff for laying out their portfolios and they gave me tips on shoots I was planning. I realized that even though I had no formal education in this field, I had studied from books and learned from others for years so I was somewhat experienced. I finally felt like I earned the right to call myself a photographer.
It still wasn’t until another year later that I’d be ok with calling myself a ”Professional.”
From then on out my passion just grew. I shot as much as I could, from fashion editorial shoots to commercial headshots for my performer friends and even a couple of weddings! I did a photo challenge where I posted a picture every single day for a year to see if I could improve from it. Suffice it to say, I grew lazy and took a lot of pics with my iphone so perhaps that was a fail haha
I invested in some excellent prime lenses, collaborated with other photographers, and continued to read books and articles on becoming stronger. I’m constantly seeking out inspiration and planning my future projects. I even made a separate photography website with branding to go along with it! P.S. This is where you are currently reading from 😉
So over the course of 8 or so years, I’ve learned, made my fair share of mistakes, and had an epiphany.
I love photography and I want to do this for the rest of my able-bodied life.
Currently it’s erring more on the side of freelance work, (and I try to squeeze as much as I can into my day job), but I hope to eventually be working as an editorial photographer for different fashion magazines in the near future.
May the light be with you.