• Alain M.

How I Got Started With Photography

Updated: Jul 10



This past December, my sister got married. It was such a beautiful wedding. Tears were shed, fun was had, great memories were made, and that is all I will say. Upon learning how much the wedding photographer charged, I was shocked. I had no idea photographers were charging that much and why. All I knew about photography was from an elective I took in high school. Nevertheless, I was convinced that I could have done somewhat of an okay job for basically free - as long as my sister was willing to get me a camera because I didn’t own one at the time.

A couple of weeks later, I moved to a new town and kept looking for something new to try in my downtime. That’s when I decided to pick up photography. After all these years, since that junior year elective in high school, I had finally decided to continue what I had started. I also wanted to know if, in fact, I could have taken my sister’s wedding photos.



Realizations

A few months have now gone by since I got myself a camera and started learning more about that new hobby of mine. Before I go into details, allow me to share what I have realized so far.


Photography isn’t as easy as one might think

Photography is more than just being able to steadily hold a camera and push a button. There’s a lot that goes into it. Understanding the rules of composition among many other concepts makes a huge difference in the end result. In addition, getting proper equipment can easily get expensive. I now know why my sister was charged that much for her wedding photos.


Photography is awesome!

That joy, curiosity, and obsession that went dormant after that photography class in high school got a nudge and are all now wide awake. They are hungry and are looking to be fed. By nature, I am a curious person and love learning new things. I am aware that for me photography constitutes simply a leisure activity, but with so many different layers, it definitely remains one to master.


I ought to document my journey

I am pretty excited to learn as much as I can about this subject. This is going to be a fun journey and I have decided to document it all on this blog. From humble beginning to mastery with all the fun and challenges in between, I’m going to share my experience so that other beginners can learn with me and more seasoned photographers can provide me with some tips on how to perfect my craft



Equipment

Prior to acquiring some equipment, I deemed it important to define specific criteria that I desired to meet in order to achieve what I had in mind, which was rather simple. I ultimately wanted to take photos and shoot some videos. The former more so than the latter. In addition, I was not looking to spend too much money since I was just testing the waters. Therefore, my criteria were affordability and the ability to take photos as well as shoot the occasional 4K video. After a couple of days of research, I ended up purchasing the following:

  • Main camera - Sony Alpha a6300

  • Prime lens - Sony FE 50mm F1.8 (SEL50F18F)

  • Zoom lens - Sony E55-210mm F4.5-6.3 (SEL55210)

  • Tripod - PlatinumPlus by Sunpak 5858DLX

  • Shotgun mic - RODE VideoMicro

  • Camera bag - Sony

  • Extra battery - Sony

  • Softbox Lighting Kit - Fovitec


Some of the whys

I definitely preferred mirrorless cameras to DSLR ones since they are less bulky and are the new technology being adopted. However, I chose to specifically go with Sony because I have been exposed to their products since a very young age (video game console, phones etc.). Apart from that, the a6300 is a fairly priced entry level camera which offers lots of great features and shoots in 4K.


The a6300 comes with a 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens which takes care of my wide angle needs. I also picked a 50mm prime lens almost exclusively for portraits and a 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 lens for situations where I need to shoot from afar. Because you can never be too careful, I bought a camera bag by Sony to protect my investment. The other reason is to ensure the camera stays in good condition in case I want to sell it in order to upgrade.


For the occasional video creations, I picked up a shotgun microphone by RODE. It comes with a furry windshield, which makes it great for outdoor shooting. Finally, I purchased an extra battery for when I’m on the go, acquired a tripod for situations where holding a camera does not make sense, and subscribed to Adobe Suite for editing purposes.



Lifestyle Changes

In order to maximize my learning, I have made some adjustments to my habits. Essentially, most of my downtime has been replaced with one of the activities below:


Explore and take photos

Just like any other skills, to get better one must practice. Therefore, I make it a point to drive to random places where I experiment with different techniques I learn from watching YouTube videos and reading blogs like this one.


Attend local photography meetups

I also joined a local photography group where I met a lot of great people willing to teach a newbie a thing or two. The group hosts workshops and even puts together events where photographers can shoot with models and experiment. Through this club, I was able to get into portrait photography as most of their events provided an avenue for practice.


Read blogs and watch videos about photography

Every time I encounter an issue, either with my camera or with the technique I am using, I try to read about it or watch a video on it. I’ll admit that I have become such an avid consumer of YouTube photography videos. Peter McKinnon’s YouTube channel is one of my favorites. I just love the guy’s work.



What’s Next

Photography includes so many different areas and there’s so much to learn. Some people emphasize the importance of finding a personal style and an area of focus. It appears that I haven’t yet found my style nor my area focus. I currently shoot more portraits, but I have a feeling that’s not going to last for long. I plan to keep on shooting and improving. Hopefully I can soon (by my next post) find an area of focus where I can gain some depth.


Also, check out my Instagram page and let me know what you think of my photos by posting below. I always welcome your feedback. If you recently started, I would to love to hear about your experience. If you are more seasoned, tips and tricks are much appreciated.


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