The first photo I took was on a disposable Kodak film camera in 2002. Man, does that thing bring back nostalgia. The process was simple — wind the dial with your thumb and use the viewfinder to make sure your subject is in frame and click.

Kodak Fun Saver 35mm Single Use Camera

 

The subjects in this photo are my brother Tim (center) and my cousins Jack (left) and Mac (right). We were experiencing a lovely summer at beautiful Torch Lake in Bellaire, Michigan.

I really started to take pictures pictures with my first camera phone, the Samsung S5230, to show my friends what I was doing on Facebook.

Samsung S5230

I did my best with what I had, and the feeling of capturing moments really fascinated me. Though the quality of the final image was important to me, I didn’t think about anything aside from making sure everyone was in the frame.

During my sophomore year of college, I took an Introduction to Photography class. The course syllabus required students to have an interchangeable lens camera. I couldn’t afford one, so I negotiated with my professor and purchased a Nikon Coolpix S6300 from Target. I wish I was aware of KEH at the time!

The class met once a week for 2 ½ hours. It covered all the fundamentals - shutter speed, ISO, aperture, depth of field, focal length, lighting etc).

Our weekly assignments consisted of us taking pictures to demonstrate our knowledge of each photography concept. I started to feel like I knew what I was doing. Looking back, it’s clear I hadn't developed a critical eye.

For example, the image below was my submission for fast shutter speed. As you can see I had no idea how to use light. But, I was damn proud of how I demonstrated how I understood fast shutter speed. I mean just look at the stillness of that shot -- a  bubble. Quivering, my sister, Mary Kate, fills it with her breath.

Nikon Coolpix S6300

Before I completed college, I had the opportunity to work for Fox Sports Detroit as its social media intern. This is the experience where I started to fall in love with photography. 

I got to sit in the press row for Pistons games, watch Tigers batting practice from the on-deck circle, and would roam around Joe Louis Arena capturing all the  Red Wings action my heart desired

Fujifilm Finepix S8200

I captured the images above with a Fujifilm Finepix S8200. I was extremely proud of these pics back then, but I couldn’t understand why they were coming out so grainy. Also, I couldn’t understand why it was so hard to capture a basketball player dunking with a fast shutter speed.

The next stop on my photography journey included getting paid by companies to create content for social media. This is when I was exposed to DSLR and interchangeable lenses!

My clients at the time included a chocolate company, a brake hardware manufacturer and a car wax brand. For these clients, I used a Canon Rebel T3i and a Canon 6D. It was cool to apply  some of the concepts I learned in my college classes. The content creation process - pre production, production and post production improves the final product -- proved its value for these photo shoots

Canon T3i with EF-S 55-200mm f/5.6 IS II

Canon 6D with a EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM

Full transparency - I didn’t actually click the button on the camera for these pictures. My role was crucial in capturing the images -- I directed the shots and told him what angles we needed for best engagement, but there was technical barrier. I didn’t know how to operate a DSLR. I couldn’t use the camera with manual settings to frame the perspective I wanted. I could communicate it, but I couldn’t capture it.

My goal this year is to be able to take pictures with the level of quality of the images above.

So, my photo journey picked up where I left off when I was taking pictures at Fox Sports Detroit. I have a long way to go, but I know what I need to work on to accomplish my goals.

Since I started working at KEH in November 2018, I’ve gone all in on learning the technical side of photography. Big props to Creative Live and John Greengo on providing the Fundamentals of Photography online class.