When butterfly’s wings are being formed, it’s getting restless in its tiny cocoon, eager to break out! The same thing happened to me. I broke out into the light, into the world of photography.
My First Time With a Camera
I was 10, when my dad showed me how to change a film in a camera, which wheels to turn and buttons to press. It was so long ago, that many people don’t even remember now how agile and sharp you had to be to work with a film camera. The hardest part was to develop a picture. You had to insert into a film in a special thing in absolute darkness. The film might stick, if you weren’t careful enough. I remember spending hours with my dad in our little kitchen under the red light making magic: a picture appearing on a piece of white wet paper.
My first camera was Smena 8M. It was my faithful friend throughout all school and college years. My friends really needed me as a must-have reporter at any event. Although it was really an amateur style of photography. Who knew that you could do photography for a living? To tell you the truth in those remote 80s I was quite sure of the far-fetched idea about wedding photographers. I considered them for losers. I thought, “that’s why these primitive people with no money making skills have to earn a little hourly wage at other people’s weddings”.
If you have a degree in economics and you have a profession as an accountant, it can only mean one thing: you can make a living any time, under any regime. You can not only live from hand to mouth. I was nagging at myself, and it kept me from being happy, kept me restless. And I always had this strange feeling every time I heard the word “photo”.
When we tried to survive in the 90s, raised our children, the era of digital cameras came in our life. Oh my! I remember how anxious I was, when I dared to hold one in my hands. It happened in a new-born electronics’ store. The store’s assistant told me about image sensors, pixel amount, memory cards and lenses. I was a bit ashamed that I did not know anything about it, though I kept smiling at him. It made him think that I got everything he said. In that very moment I realized I was dying for that digital marvel. It would cost me a pile of money, but I decided to tighten my belt and put the money aside. My soul was singing in anticipation of having this camera!
By the time I had got my first digital camera my son was already a student, but I felt like I was going to school to learn photography. I was walking around the city taking pictures of sparrows bathing in puddles, reflections in shop windows, kissing couples on benches, passing metro trains and much more.
Professional Photo Applications
I spent all my free time at my computer learning professional applications from the scratch. I was buying photography journals and books and was learning about the color, light and composition. The vast knowledge made me want to read more about famous photographers’ autobiographies. I browsed through gigabytes of pictures online and visited a lot of thematic websites and forums. It felt like I was absorbing information like a sponge, and I still felt it wasn’t enough. I needed that kind knowledge like as if it was the air to breathe in.
The company I worked for had many employees and I wanted to share my excitement with them. I was delicate about my passion in photography, but it was hard to hold it inside. Eventually, everybody got to know me as a photographer. In time I got more confident and I started bringing my camera to work. During lunch breaks I was doing photo exercises using my colleagues as models. Office space we used wasn’t good enough for all my creative ideas. So every now and then I was asking someone from the office to go outside for a photography session.
What a rush it was to make portraits for my colleagues. I felt like I was pressing shutter-release buttonendlessly! At home, I spent hours culling and editing, so I could present 5 to 10 pictures to my models. Girls from the office became fans of my hobby.
It was great to have weekly photoshoots. But I was disappointed by the lackofdiscussionwith professionals like me. I really wanted to have friends who were photographers. Talking with professionals about photography is much more productive, than to have a quick chat with my colleagues.
Freedom, I Won’t Let You Down
I decided to join photography forums and I attended as many master classes as I could. I have met many photographers during family photography master classes. It was a brand new world for me!
It was hard to work 5 days a week and to have photoshoots and editing on weekends. I needed more than 24 hours a day. Because, I felt like I was suffocating due to lack of time. I wanted to be as far away from the office life as I could. I wanted to have full control of my life.
It was terrifying to make a step into the unknown, but my cocoon was ready to burst! And just as I was thinking about quitting my job, economic crisis of 2008 hit our company and downsizing was inevitable. And here I was, free with three month pay in my pocket. It was enough for me to start as a photographer. It felt like I was flying. I was ready to create new photoshoots and I was keen on making new acquaintances.
Co-Workers Were My First Clients
My colleagues from accounting didn’t forget me. They encouraged their friends to have a photoshoot. I had opportunity to have a photoshoot about their families and later I shot their weddings, anniversaries. And there I was, using my magical camera to document big events my clients had. I could not believe I was a part of something historical in lives of different families.
Photographer’s profession is awesome in a way that you can keep learning it your whole life. World is changing, styles and fashion, and to keep up with it you have to continue to grow in photography, opening new dimensions and uncovering secrets of the trade.
I love my job. I love to talk to my clients, I learn something new every time. When I’m editing pictures on a big monitor and see my client smiles, I smile back. And when I present finished work to them I get immense happiness even from the most shy and modest people. Mission accomplished! And as a bonus – I get paid for my creative work.
I got popular, my work was getting awards in prestige photo contests. I am happy that a part of my souls will forever be a part of every family I worked with. Captured moments of happiness in family archives is an important page of history for future generations.
This picture is a part of series “Mother happiness”, which helped me to win awards in different contests. I took this one with my Nikon D750 camera, which is my faithful friend for 10 years now. I used Nikkor 35mm 2.0D lens. This picture is all about correct positioning and composition, I had to make it so to get this feeling of unity with nature and give a light and airy feeling to it. I used as low ISO as possible, 250. Although, I try to not use ISO 100 or lower because it would cost me details in shadows, which I got in post-production. I set my aperture at 4 and adjusted shutter speed accordingly, it was at 1/1600.
I used wonderful RockShutter – Infinity Collection for editing this picture. The reason for this is I love the Tone Brush | Wheat Contrast for the overall picture look, then changed green with the help of Tone | Minted tool. Then I boosted shadows and black point of the photo for a faded film look. And for the finishing touch I blurred greens for a very soft look, sharpened my models and made sure sky is detailed. Picture’s ready.