How I discovered I had a talent for photography
Here’s my story on my journey to becoming a professional photographer and making it my career.
Growing up in San Antonio as a youngster I always had a camera in my hand. It was one of the little Kodak Instamatic things. Yes, I’m that old! Anyway, everywhere I went I would take my camera with me. My parents would visit with friends and out came my camera taking photos of just about anything going on. My father would get annoyed because he knew he would have to take my rolls of film for developing and yes, spend money he didn’t have. I was a good kid and learning photography was keeping me out of trouble.
The years passed and I was still taking a lot of photos. I was using a new Polaroid camera which was really expensive at the time. dad still bought film for me since it was keeping me happy being his little photographer. I didn’t have any other hobbies at the time. My friends thought I was a little nuts but that was me and I was really passionate about it. Eventually I started to take pictures of other things besides people. I would look for birds, flowers and other landscape around my house. There was plenty to capture and since I was with a wild imagination I never ran out of things to photograph.
“It takes an open-minded imagination to capture the unexpected”
Losing Focus on My Photography Hobby
As time went on I was in middle school. The pressures of life at school, bullies being bullies, parents on my case, I started to lose focus on my camera hobby and got lost in the every day shuffle. My hobby was put on the back burner. My main focus was now on everyday life. My camera was now a thing a of the past. There were many obstacles in my way and had to focus on getting through the day without getting into trouble at home or school. I started to think I would never be a photographer and my cool photography hobby was fading into the sunset. I no longer had my supply of film, my camera was gather dust and I was starting to withdraw from inside. I was starting to shy away from people, friends and social events.
It’s now 20 years later. After a series of bad life choices I have met the love of my life. In one of our many conversations I told her I was interested in taking pictures and photography in general. We were married 5 months later. Instead of hiring a wedding photographer my Uncle and my wife’s Brother took photos with their cameras. Oh my God what a mistake that was. Horrible photos but that what we have for our wedding day memories.
Our Photography Videos on Youtube.
As time went on my wife bought me a new Canon 35mm film camera with auto-focus. I thought that was the most incredible camera ever. My wife had also taken photography classes in college and owned an old Pentax 35mm camera. She many black and white prints that she developed in a darkroom. They were truly amazing photographs. Her black and whites were almost as good as Ansel Adams. Well, I’m being biased.
She did have a good eye for finding interesting subject matter to photograph. I slowly got back into using my new camera. Since so many years had passed I was kind of shy when it came to photographing people. I was able to take some images of family members which were ok as I was just beginning with an unfamiliar camera.
My Professional Photography Career Begins
There I was with my new camera. I had gone through 20 something jobs in my working career. I never lasted at a job for more than 6 months to a year. I was never satisfied. I wasn’t doing something I was passionate about. Then it happened. I developed courage to photograph people. My first attempt at shooting a photography gig was for my Niece. I did her bridal portrait in her apartment with the help of light from a lamp. Ugh! That yellow tungsten light didn’t do her justice but I was new at this. What did I know about lighting? Not a whole lot but didn’t give up trying to learn.
My next gig was a wedding for a friend. I bought 10 rolls of film and headed to her big wedding downtown at San Fernando Cathedral. I decided I was going to photograph the whole event without flash because there was plenty of overhead lighting. We then went to the reception. I put a flash on the camera and took a guess at the camera settings and went on to photograph every person and guest I could find in my lens. I turned the rolls of film over the the bride’s mother. Several days later disastrous news struck. All of the images from the church were yellowish and under-exposed.
The images from the reception were all half-framed with that nice black line covering half of the image. I went wrong by using a shutter speed that was too fast for the flash to see. It was a technical thing I had no clue about. Needless to say the bride was furious with me and never talked to me again. Was my career in the photography business over? I thought so at the time. So, I regrouped and got a few tips from a local photographer. He explained how the camera and flash only sync together when used at a maximum of 160th of a second. That’s technical lingo for “This is how it works correctly, dummy!”.
Time went on and a couple of years went by. I got a few low-budget weddings under my belt. The prices I was charging got me some experience but my wedding fees were making me break even. I wasn’t making very much just yet.