Lessons Learned From Photography

Lessons Learned From Photography

All the annoyingly true things you learn from taking pictures, whether you want to or not.

I was handed my first camera when I was in third grade. I don't think I knew it then, but I fell in love instantly. I grew up never believing I had a passion, that there was not a single thing that I felt deeply emotional towards. I think it was my freshman year of high school when it finally hit me that photography was something I enjoyed immensely. I haven't stopped taking pictures since then, and along the way, I've learned some things about photography.

1. Quality will always come before quantity.

You don't have to spend $3,000 on a camera body to produce incredible pictures (although my photography teacher senior year would try to say otherwise)

2. You inevitably will only find 20 good pictures out of the 476 that you take.

Just accept it now.

3. You can create an image out of anything.

Literally.. anything. Even paperclips. Or an old toothbrush.

4. You will find your own style.

You don't have to be good at every type of photography, or even like every type. Maybe you only want to shoot pictures of people, instead of landscapes and people. That's okay.

5. Photoshop isn't always necessary.

Learn how to properly work the manual setting on a camera, and you won't have to spend time on post processing later.

6. Learn how to use the manual setting. Please. Just do it.

I know that it can be frustrating, and exhausting and a long process. But stick with it. If you're stuck, google it. There are plenty of blogs and videos that can help.

7. But occasionally Photoshop IS necessary.

Because lets face it, sometimes even the heaviest amount of hairspray still won't prevent fly away hairs.

8. Don't feel bad about charging people.

One of the biggest things I have learned is that even if it's a friend, I can't feel bad about speaking up and asking them to pay for a photo shoot. If you are constantly being asked to spend hours of your day to drive to a location, shoot, and then post process, you should be getting something in return. Your photography is your art. Don't sell yourself short.

9. Which also means you need to come up with a price list.

"It's up to you" or "you can pick your own price" won't cut it in the photography business. Come up with a pricing list with guidelines and stick to it.

10. Test a lens before you buy it.

Lenses can be expensive, so it's a good thing there are websites that allow you to rent the lens first and try it out, before making a decision to purchase it.

11. There are always new things to learn.

You may think you know your camera inside and out but I promise there is always going to be something new for you to experience or discover.

12. You're going to make mistakes.

And it's OK. You will learn and grow over time.

13. Broaden your horizons.

Meet new people. Strike up a conversation on social media with someone who you admire. Take advantage of the resources around you.

14. There will always be people who tell you that you can't, or that you aren't good enough.

Believe in yourself. Know that you can and you will, and then do it.

15. It's not hard to create your own photography business.

There are so many websites that will help you set up your own photography website. With different types of social media, you can get your name out into the world and create something out of your work

16. The feeling in the end will be worth it.

At the end of the day, there is nothing better than seeing the final image that is a creation of your hard work.

At the end of the day, regardless of what you did or didn't learn, the most important thing is to have fun with it. Photography is a form of free expression, and in any case, it should be something that allows your mind to roam into creative dimensions, all while putting a smile on your face.

Cover Image Credit: www.creativelive.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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