5 Important Lessons Photography Has Taught Me

5 Important Lessons Photography Has Taught Me

It has made me a better version of myself.

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1. Patience.

Taking pictures requires time and effort, especially if you're a hired photographer. You have to understand that sometimes getting the perfect shot takes a while, and editing afterwards can take hours. Patience.

2. Time management.

For me, I've had to learn how to balance schoolwork, my social life, my job, and everything else with my photography. I learn to prioritize. If I just take pictures for fun knowing they won't go anywhere, sometimes I'll push those photos to the backburner and focus on my class photography assignments and my paid photoshoots instead.

3. Knowing what a good picture looks like. 

When I first got into photography at age 12, I would take pictures of anything and everything. I didn't know the difference between a good and a bad picture. I thought everything was photo-worthy. Turns out, it's not. The more I photograph, the more I can distinguish amazing photos from just run-of-the-mill ones. This helps me weed out my less appealing pictures when I'm editing.

4. Perseverance. 

Sometimes there are days when I go into situations thinking I'll get amazing pictures, but in reality, my results are far less than my expectations. That's alright. I know I can't get great photos every single time I take my camera out. However, what I do know is how great the satisfaction is when I finally do get a really good picture. So I persevere.

5. How to develop an artistic eye. 

I've always had a creative side to me, but photography has really taught me how to refine my artistic nature. Sometimes I'll have my camera on me and a voice inside will just say, "Hey, you should take a picture of that." And because I've been practicing photography for years now, my eyes can discern how I should compose my scenes for the best lighting, dramatic effect, etc. Photography truly has aided me in becoming a better version of myself, and I'm incredibly grateful to be studying it in college.

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10 VSCO Presets That Make You Look Tan As All Heck

Because come on, we can't all be sun kissed while also working 40 hours a week.

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I don't know about you, but I cannot seem to get to the golden shade that I so desperately want. Think I'm silly all you want, but being tan makes me more confident. Now, working 40 hours a week, during prime sun hours doesn't exactly help this dilemma, so I have taken the matter into my own hands. These are a few of the VSCO Filter pre-sets that make me feel just as sun-kissed and stunning as I aspire to be, from the comfort of my cubicle.

1. E8 +8, Contrast +1, Temperature -1, Saturation -1, H. Tint Magenta +3

2. HB2 +7, Contrast -1, Exposure -1, Temperature +0.5, Saturation +1, Fade +1.5, Grain +4

3. C8 +12, Exposure -2, Saturation -2/+2, Grain +3 (Optional)

4. C1 +12, Fade +4, Contrast +2, Exposure +2, Saturation -2, Tint +3

5. A4 +7, Exposure -2, Contrast +1.7, Temperature +1.7, Tint +1.0, Saturation -2.0, Skin tone -1.0

6. M3 +12, Temperature -1, Contrast +2, Saturation -1/+1

7. E3 +12, Temperature -1, Saturation -2, Skin -2

8. HB1 +8, Exposure -1, Temperature -1

9. C1 +12, Exposure -1, Contrast +2, Temperature +2, Saturation -2, Skin Tone -3

10. G1 +8, Exposure -2, Contrast +2, Saturation +2, Temperature -1, Fade +2

Cover Image Credit:

Erika Glover

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What Photography Means To Me

Every photo has a story. A story that leads to a specific place. At least that is the way I look at it.

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These days, social media has given everyone an equal chance to show off their pictures and their perspective of life through a simple click of a button. Then there are the mobile editing apps that many users to edit those photos to enhance the image or create a consistent theme or aesthetic for their Instagram feed. It seems to be about being like everyone else or making it look like your life is bright, fun, and a ray of sunshine that others wish they had. It has become a way to mask reality and fix the errors in life so no one can see the real you.

Now, I'm not saying everyone is like this, but I have definitely seen this while scrolling through the many pictures on my feed, feeling as though I am seeing the same thing over and over again. Noticing while people are trying to be like everyone else, they are losing sight of who they are outside of social media. There is no app for covering up reality. We must learn how to enjoy our raw and unique lifestyles when we take pictures. Knowing you are special, unique, and accepting where you are at instead of trying to fake like life is a daisy, makes you stand out from everyone else. Anyone can pretend to be okay, but what about being able to recognize life is tough but even in a blank stare, there is beauty.

I have been taking pictures of myself for almost a year now and I have truly come a long way. For such a long time I hated being in front of the camera and it was very hard for me to smile or even act like I wanted to be in the picture. It had nothing to do with anyone else, but for me it was about the fact that I believed I looked ugly. I just didn't want to see my face in a picture. I was so embarrassed by my skin and teeth that in every picture I just looked really uncomfortable or just angry.

This lasted up until last year around this time. I realized that I was more than my skin and my teeth. I believed that I was beautiful. So I just decided to start forcing myself to be in front of the camera. Being in front of the camera gives you the opportunity to be confident in yourself and that doesn't mean show more skin, or have a gigantic smile in every single one. Confidence in a picture can be captured no matter what you look like or what is happening in the photo. You, being the subject, allowing your inner beauty to be captured will shine through any blank stare or what you may think is boring. Being behind the camera has wonders of its own.

Learning the ins and outs of a camera to then gain the ability to understand how to take a picture with a story in mind changed my who perspective on what it means to be a photographer. When going through my Instagram feed (@mya.wea), starting from the bottom leading to the top, you will notice the difference in the images. You'll see where I was taking pictures to recreate someone else's picture or what I consider a story to make it my own and gain as many likes and followers like them. It leads to comparing myself and wishing I had their life until I approached the camera as a challenge to capture my life in one picture.

No one can have my life because my life is mine and unique to me. So, taking pictures with my life as inspiration, changed everything about my images. When I take pictures of myself or others, my ultimate goal is to expose the genuine beauty of reality. Whether it is a sad or happy picture, they each have their own raw reality that can be seen as beautiful.

My life may not be the most exciting or adventurous but it isn't about measuring up to what I think society would like. Photography for me is a way for me to allow people to see my life and my story one frame at a time.

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