How I found out more about myself as a Photographer and how you can too.
When I started photography, I must have been around 7–8. I would run around the house, taking terrible photos of the most random things and thinking I was the best photographer. My dad was a food photographer which is how I got started. He was the one who gave me my first camera. A Canon Rebel. Obviously wasn’t the fanciest of cameras, but I loved it and used it for at least over five years. He taught me the basics, showed me what I was doing right and wrong and today, he is still and will always be my biggest critic.
Today, I consider myself a portrait photographer who is looking into getting more involved in Fashion and Wedding photography. In all honesty, I haven’t tried everything (as badly as I want to). Now, I could make excuses and tell you why and what I need to do, but it’ll be a better use of my time and yours to tell you how I got into portrait photography to show you how you can find out your photography niche.
First, I brought my camera everywhere. Park, school, the mall even. I took pictures of everything and would see what I enjoyed taking photos of the most. Midway through high school, I found out more about what I like shooting and what I didn’t like. For me, I found that I really enjoyed taking photos of my friends and people, going into the forest and taking detailed photos of nature and any kinds of animals or incests that I could find. What I found boring was taking photos of inanimate objects such as books, pencils, pretty much anything that didn’t move. I also found that, while I love taking photos of nature, I am not the biggest fan of landscape photography. This was where I started.
When it came to developing my skills, I didn’t go to any school for photography, I used some of the best recourses online, YouTube and Instagram. On YouTube, I would watch many videos from Peter McKinnon, Sawyer Hartman and Brandon Woelfel who’s photography style I absolutely fell in love with. When it comes to Instagram, that was my biggest source of inspiration to create and how to use different background and angles effectively. By using what I had, I was able to define a workflow for myself, learn how to edit and take photos with better composition. Most importantly, I went back to shooting things that I did not like and tried them again. A different person perspective and technique can change the way you take photos completely. For instance, as mentioned before, I did not like taking photos of inanimate objects at all. I found it difficult to compose, make it stand out. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t make it work. After some time on Instagram and watching a few videos, I went back to it. As seen in the image above, my mistake in the past was not getting close enough, not adding anything else to make it creative. So from finding object/product photography absolutely boring, I now find it still very challenging, but I am more excited about it and have more ideas on how to shoot. It's something that I would like to get better in.
With more and more shooting and practice, I found that I have the most fun when I am taking photos of people. Everyone is different so you are always challenged and have a different result. To add, the experience of shooting with another person, getting to know them and not shooting alone, as an extrovert, that's a big plus for me and overall makes my photoshoots a lot more fun time. I will always say and believe that Candid Photos are the best Photos. Something about taking a photo of someone at the right time, when they are not trying to pose and act, but showing their genuine emotion is the absolute best.
Now, I couldn’t take photos of the same people continuously for the rest of my life, I had to explore and find other people who shared the same interest. Again, thank you social media, many of my photoshoots are from meeting people on Facebook. There are many many groups on Facebook for photographers, models, make-up artists in a certain area which you can join and connect with people. To add, connecting with people on Facebook has led me to connect to other people on Instagram. The great part is that this does not only apply for portrait photography, but there are groups for food photography, nature walks, almost anything. And this is where I am now. I am actively looking and practising portrait photography, finding myself getting more interested in fashion photography as well and always looking at expanding my portfolio.
At the end of the day, its consistent practising and learning. You will find that there are things that you will enjoy shooting more than others, but that’s how you learn where you want to prioritize your time and in what subjects you want to become a better photographer in. Try everything, develop skills by learning from others, try everything again, and connect with people and learn more. There is always going to be someone better than you and know something that you don’t which is how you learn more and more and become a photographer.