How Did You Get to Shooting What You Shoot?


TPF Noob!
Aug 13, 2009
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Rural America
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So lets hear it. What did you start shooting and why. How did it lead you to where you are now?

Here's me:
I've been serious (getting paid) about photography for less than 5 years. I kinda got drug into it when I started writing part time about motorsports. Turned out I had media access to all kinds of events, and I took advantage of everything from offroad trucks (CORR) to the Red Bull Air Races.

All my photography was done with a Sony DSC H5 point and shoot. Had a Zeiss lens so it took great pictures, just didn't lend itself to motorsports photography.

Well over a year ago I landed two gigs covering ATVs/offroading and motocross/freestyle motocross as a columnist, feature writer, blogger and photog.

With two great paying gigs I was able to buy a DSLR, a 7D. I've had it for just over a year now and just bought my first L last month. All paid for by the New York Times Co. and MX Affiliate Magazine. :thumbup:

In the last year I've found myself shooting things I never considered before and I am making a deliberate effort to expand in a professional capacity to different types of shooting. I'm getting some concert stuff published next month and may be doing some contract shooting for a few motocross riders.

Lately I've tried shooting birds and I gotta tell you, it's much harder than I thought. Motorsports is easy in that it's usually on a track and you kind of know where they're going. It's difficult in that the lighting is always different from indoors to outdoors, some events are shows with pyrotechnics and smoke, some events are at night.

Birds are way more unpredictable that motorsports and those small little bastards are real hard to track in flight. It's a whole new type of shooting but I'm enjoying it and have managed at least a few decent shots. Can't see it making me any money but it will damn sure help me be a better photog! :mrgreen:

I'm also moving towards some different types of Action Sports like surfing, extreme skateboarding and stuff.
Well.. we were just blessed with spontaneous triplet girls. Money starting to come in now. I need some extra money since my wife stopped working.
Come back in six months time, if your awake, and let me know how blessed you feel then. Congrats though, they're lovely new born its the next 25 years of worry that has had me beat to a pulp.

In answer to the post though, got conned into weddings as mates knew I was doing photography as a hobby but I've just about had enough of it now, too many worries, too much work, clients want too much. Thinking its time to change towns and reinvent my life it's quite hard when the whole place thinks you just shoot weddings. H
First my dad got me interested when he showed me his portfolio from college. I thought it was kind cool so I took some classes in high school with his Mamiya SLR.

Then after our first few assignments I thought about how beautiful everything was in the pictures I was taking even though they were of things that were ugly or not very noticeable. I was obsessed with how the camera changed the world. I became so in love with it that I started seeing the world with my own eyes how it would look in a photograph. So now I'm on an endless journey to capture everything I see and show people how beautiful the world is if we weren't just walking past it all the time.

Yeah... that was corny.
I just ask girls I know and even those I don't. Some say yes some say no. As for Nature which I do a lot of also well, I live in Idaho, so we have lots of stuff around here. Photography and walks can also calm me down when I'm really upset or just want to be left alone for some Me time. So off I go with camera in hand.
I got serious about it when I was informed there would be nothing I could do, photographically, that would be of any interest to anyone (this came from a "college educated "gonna-be"). I just sort of fell in love. I have jumped genres, many times. Started out shooting wildlife in Montana. Next was SCCA photography for the local newspaper and Sports Car magazine. Next was people for senior portraits and the like. After that was pets. Now, I photograph miniatures for websites.
Years and years ago, I would shoot b/w with my father and we'd develop and print in our basement. I almost got back into it when our older boy was born. Then did get back into it when our younger boy began competitive level soccer. Digital compacts frustrated the heck out of me and I got a dSLR to keep up with the games. Sports were pretty much all I was shooting for about four years then a couple years ago when I switched to a canon, I began exploring other areas. I've discovered my favorite subject is "light." :)
I pretty much just got raised into it. My dad was a photographer and I was the only kid in the house so for my 12th B-Day I got a $100 huffy bicycle and a $4000 bag filled with Nikon. Plus we had a 300 sq ft darkroom in the house so yeah .. I'll say it .. I was a spoiled brat. LOL
Well, the babies and kids stuff was a natural progression for me. I don't have any but a lot of my friends and neighbors have kids. I'm a godmother and an honorary auntie for several people. I end up babysitting a lot, and everyone knows I am working on being a pro someday so I get asked.The boudoir and glam stuff that came out of an interest in the portraits of old Hollywood, and the fact that over the years I've come to know quite a few people in the show business industry. The one thing my Fuji does pretty well is portrait shots and I have done quite a few basic portfolios for people I know who are entertainers. People I know are always asking me for updated head shots and I like doing that work a lot. I'm thinking I'll be doing quite a bit of it when I go pro, though just for the record I have been paid for baby shots, kids shots, some of the portfolio work I've done. No way I consider myself anywhere near pro status yet, but I do get some work doing those. The nature stuff I just happen to like photographing, particularly birds. Some of the other stuff I do came from other hobbies. It's a mix really.
My mother got me into the artistic, landscape shooting and my work got me into the journalistic, public relations, product, head shots, sports, etc.

I've always had an interest in visual arts. When I was in college, I took some film / video classes and loved it. But as with most people, I went the corporate way to make a decent living.

My mom liked photography. She wasn't a photographer, but she was getting into it...she had an old rebel, 2 lenses, tripod. All kit stuff. She passed in a car accident in 2003. When we were moving my dad out of the house and into a condo, we were cleaning up her stuff and I found her camera bag.

Fast forward in 2008. My wife and I decided to go with some friends on a trip to Australia and I knew I wanted to have great pictures of the trip. I was working way too hard and decided to take on something totally different than my 9-5 managing computer systems, very logical job. Found my mom's old bag in my closet. Went to a camera store to see if I could fit the older lenses on a newer body. Bought an XSI in mid 2008. Off I went.

I've taken some basic classes, how to work with your camera, basics of studio work, photoshop. I just love shooting. Found some co-workers who we go out and shoot after work on some nights. Reconnected with a high school friend who is also into photography (ah, the magic of facebook) and we second shoot each other when we shows, events, weddings, sports...

Did my first wedding Aug 2009, did a few more this year. I've shot for a pro soccer team, did some charity events and now working on portraits. I have a bunch of urban landscapes and such, a few of which are hanging on people's walls.

And thats about it

So since I bought my XSI in 2008 with an old 20-55 kit lens and 50-200 kit lens, I've moved onto a Canon 7D (this past May), 10-22, 50 1.4, Tamron 28-75 2.8, 70-200 2.8 IS, couple of flashes, 3 bags, cokin filter system, tripod, monopod... bless my wife, she puts up with all this haha.

It has become more than a hobby, it is a passion. Do I want to do this full time? I'd love to, but I'm a bit hesitant that when your passion becomes your main income, you might lose a bit of that passion. I dunno. I'm enjoying the ride for now.
I have always owned point and shoot camera and have also taken pics of stuff as the better half calls it from pics of my children growing up and now grown to my 3 grandbabies one 5and 2 who are 1 year old twins.Nature and flowers have always been a passion of mine because I love its beauty.I just got a better camera and now I am haveing so much fun.Im enjoying the learning the wider range of what can be done with my camera and the way the pics come out is awsome I didnt know what I was missing,the ability to change my lenses the controll of my shutterspeed of the light it gives me so much more freedom to create
I had started photography in Boy Scouts about 12 years ago, with a really crappy point and shoot film camera. After I had gotten back from summer camp, a gentleman at my church, who was an insurance photographer, had seen my photos and asked if I wanted to learn how to shoot. At the time, my church had started a wheel chair ramp project around town. After we had gotten to the site, he handed my his Pentax 1000 and showed me how to work the camera.
I just started shooting after that, anything and everything that I could really and I would always bring him at least a roll of film a week. He gave me C&C and later on gave me a flash to play around with.
About a year later, my grandmother brought me a Mamiya 35mm camera kit. Came with 3 lens, flash and many other things. My photography started to get somewhat better from there the more I shot. And yes, I still have that camera; I love the hell out of it.
I have been shooting professionally for the Marine Corps for the past 7 years now as a Combat Cameraman. I can now shoot better photos, shoot and edit video and I have some graphics and web design experience. I mostly enjoy shooting combat operations for the most part, but that’s what I was trained to shoot. I’m still having a bit of trouble finding a niche for whenever it is that I do retire or what I want to shoot when I’m not at work.
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, lol. Thanks for reading.

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