I originally got into photography in my early 20’s, back then there was no such thing as a digital camera so everything was done with good old fashioned film. I used to shoot with slide film and Kodak Ektachrome 25 using a Miranda (very cheap 35mm) camera. I still have some of those slides knocking around somewhere and I may even scan some of them sometime for a giggle. Suffice to say I wasn’t very good, but I did learn a lot. Back then I thought that knowing all the technical stuff would make me a great photographer, so I learned about f-stops and how this affected the DoF, how much of what I saw through the viewfinder would be in focus, and learned about ISO speeds and how all these f-stops and ISOs went together with shutter speeds to create a perfect exposure for the subject being photographed. Then I sold all my equipment so my girlfriend could afford to go on holiday…
I didn’t pick up a camera again until I was about 35, by then everything was digital and as I was an ‘IT guy’ that all came naturally to me. Except I was still too anal about the technical side of things. I still thought that if I knew all the f-stops and ISO’s and how they related to the shutter speeds and to each other that I should be able to create fantastic pictures, wrong again I’m afraid. This was about the time I found DPC, everyone has a favorite web site where they feel at home on the forums because “everyone is so friendly there”, well DPC is mine. There is a wealth of helpful people who really know there stuff and are very open to sharing it with anyone who asks for advice or help. I’m not going to keep on about it as I’ll sound like a DPC groupie or somesuch, but it really has helped me to see that while knowlege of the technical is important, it isn’t for the reasons I had originally thought.
By this time I was creating photos which while often technically OK were lacking in the artistic department and were therefore pretty rubbish still. From my counselling I know that awareness and acceptance of an issue is the first step to change, and having began to become aware of and accept what I do wrong, and with the help and advice gained from the contributors at DPC I do think my photography is beginning to improve now. I have began to understand that ones artistic vision is as important, if not more so, than the technical bits.
Then a friend asked me to photograph her wedding because she couldn’t find a decent photographer to fit her budget, after some thought and soul-searching I agreed, though with the caveat that I would not charge anything, it also gave me an excuse to buy a new camera 🙂 I had shot a wedding back in my film days, I shot the whole day on Ektachrome 25, so lots of underexposed photos and very few gems (although there were a few), luckily it had been my sisters wedding and she hadn’t expected or been bothered too much about it. At time of writing this, I have shot three weddings, two officially and one unofficially the latter two with Jane as my second photographer and I (we) enjoy doing it very much, though I’m still not sure that I like the idea of being paid to do it.