A lot of people ask me how long I've been a photographer. I find that to be a tricky question. Did I become a photographer when I got my first DSLR camera? Or maybe I became one when I finally mastered taking photos in manual mode. Did I become a photographer when I finally began to value my work and started charging for my time and product? Or was it when I finally had an official blog and a ProPhoto website?
Honestly. I think I have been a photographer at heart long before I ever got my first DSLR camera.
I became a photographer when I tried to memorize peoples' expressions and then tried to recreate special moments in order to bring out beautiful, honest, laughter and smiles. Today, I shoot in a setting called RAW. But I have been about the RAW for as long as I can remember. It's just taken me a really long time to understand that I can't manufacture authenticity.
See, I found it incredibly challenging to 'create' those authentic emotions from behind the lens. And so, in my first few years of being a professional photographer I hated most every session that I did. I didn't hate the people. I loved the people. That's what kept me going. But, I really was dissatisfied with my final product. It plagued me. Every session I would go in knowing exactly what I wanted to capture. And every session I would look at the photos I took and feel completely defeated. But I kept at it. I continued the posing and the 'look at the camera and smile. smILE. SMILE. SMIIIILLLEE! And every session missed the mark of what I so desperately was trying to capture.
Then, my world got rocked. And I learned so much about what real authenticity looks like. And it became the turning point for my photography business.
But THAT story, is for next time.