Your life will change forever.
Imagine one day you can take pictures like a professional photographer. Take photos you can be proud of, whether you want to be a commercial photographer or a hobbyist. But many hesitate to start because they think photography is expensive and complicated.
Everyone must experience different conflicts when they want to learn something new. I was like everyone else when I spent my money and time learning photography from scratch seven years ago.
And you know what? It was worth it.
Hi, my name is Adjie, and this is my first story. I want to share how I overcame my fear of learning something new into something I love.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
The thing is, when you’re a freelancer, you have to do everything by yourself. As a freelancer, I need help selling my service. I couldn’t provide the public and potential clients with good photos of my finished work.
I had some savings to spend to upgrade my PC at the time. Still, I am considering buying a camera to take pictures of my projects for my future clients.
But photography is a whole new world for me, and the thought of learning something new burdens me. And I can’t help but imagine that the gear and accessories will keep adding as I dive deeper into this new world.
And then, it struck me!
One day, I saw an article on my Facebook Feed on Iwan Baan. He’s a famous Dutch documentary architecture photographer. A few years back, my sister showed me some of his work. His works amazed me, and I wondered if I could take pictures like him someday.
I reread the article, googled his name, and found iwan.com.
Surfing on his web made my mind itch, and my eyes felt like they had a grand feast because the quality of his photos was outstanding. His work made me realize that photography could improve my skills as a freelancer.
A couple of months later.
Buying a new camera and lens was a big decision to make. Aside from buying my PC, I never spent a lot of money on my hobby or work. I remember this happened in December 2017 when I decided to buy my first camera.
I didn’t want to spend more than ten million rupiahs on the camera and lens. After some research, the Fujifilm X-T10 with the XC16-50mm f3.5-5.6 lens kit best fits my budget. I used all my budget to buy them, but later, I realized it was a mistake.
After I got it, I went straight to the manual, but I found the technical words too difficult to understand.
And when the going gets tough, YouTube is your friend. I searched for an online video tutorial and picked a detailed tutorial called “X-T10 Overview Training” by Tony Northrup. I chose it because it seems to cover much compared to other videos.
Watching a one-hour video where a random guy explained complex things about a camera was tough for me. I didn’t grasp most of the features. But after spending all that money, I wasn’t ready to give up.
I put the camera beside me. I paused the video and practised it on my camera whenever Tony explained something. Tony’s overview is very detailed and thorough, as I predicted.
He put an ad for his book at the end of his video, and I bought it on Google Books.
The book contains links to a YouTube tutorial video in every chapter in his book for a more detailed explanation. It helped me understand the basics of photography, such as The Exposure Triangle, and which lens I should choose for my specific needs.
Things keep getting better.
After buying the book, there was an option to email the receipt so I could get an invitation to join his private group on Facebook.
The group itself has members from beginners to experts. They are only allowed to post image(s) and aren’t allowed to ask about photography gear.
When you post a photo(s), you must include information about what camera and lens you are using, the aperture, the shutter speed, the ISO setting, and whether you’re using post-processing software.
You must also include your CC level (Constructive Criticism) from level one to level four—small talk to a hit-me-with-all-you-got constructive criticism so the other member can reply in a way that won’t hurt you.
I’ve been acting like a silent reader for the first three months. I didn’t have the guts to show my photo and ask them some questions, though I found most of the members helpful.
When I cracked my shell and posted my first photo, I realized that’s where the fun began. I got much feedback on how I should improve my process of learning.
As my technique improves, the need to learn every detail of my camera also grows. I still need help understanding the manual. I downloaded the manual’s PDF version on Fujifilm’s website to overcome this. If I’m having problems with some features on the camera, I type ‘ctrl+f’ to bring up the search tab and type the word I am looking for to read the related topics.
So, here’s what I learned.
Two things to consider when you want to enter the world of photography are knowing your budget and are you being passionate about it?
Because photography can be an expensive hobby or a job, especially if you don’t correctly calculate your budget.
As I said, I don’t want to spend more than my budget. However, I miscalculated that I also needed to spend more on the accessories. Little things, such as straps, handgrips, lens filters, tripods, and camera bags, can be something that can drain your wallet.
So spare at least 30% of your budget before buying your body and lens for the camera’s accessories.
You must also have “that sparks” that ignite your passion to learn photography.
Yes, your first picture is going to suck.
Even Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” You will have many failures, but that’s part of the learning process because the more you shoot, the more your skill improves.
Taking a good photo is addictive; taking a great photo is a miracle.
One day, if you manage to get one good shot, believe me, you will be striving for more, and it will become addictive. But as you learn more, you understand that taking a great photo is one in a million.
Now, my mission is to share them with you.
Aside from pursuing photography as a hobby or making money from it, it also can be a form of meditation. It relaxes your mind and gives you goosebumps if the results are excellent.
I have also found photography an incredible skill since I have a son. I didn’t have decent photos of myself when I was a kid, and I didn’t want him to feel the same. I want to perpetuate every moment he reaches something in his life.
More importantly, a good photo can always bring a smile to the world.
Until now, I found myself still learning to improve my photography skills. And I discovered that writing is the fastest way to know what I know.
Let me know what you think in the comment section, and feel free to ask if you need to ask something about photography.