I used to be terrified of cameras.
Not necessarily camera shy but terrified of using cameras, especially DSLRs. I was intimidated by them; mostly because I didn't know how to use them. There were so many controls and settings and the cameras were big and fragile. Throughout middle school and high school, I was in Yearbook class but I never took a single photo for any of the 6 yearbooks I worked on. I have this thing where I fear trying new techniques because I know it won't turn out perfectly the first time around. Photography was one of them. I thought I wouldn't be good enough or be assigned to a photo shoot and come back with blurry, grainy, dark or overall just bad photos. It also didn't help that I was more introverted back then than I am today. The thought of shooting sports in the gross yellow lighting of a gym plus movement was the worst of the worst. I wanted to avoid being in the center of all the action. So I stuck with page layout and design, a place where I was comfortable sitting at a computer designing layouts that broke all the rules of design. I'm mostly talking about the ones in my middle school yearbooks. Thankfully, my designs have improved greatly in high school and most significantly in college.
When I received my first point and shoot camera, my opinion of photography slowly began to change. I started taking photos of my own, documenting two different summer trips in 2011. One to the UK and France and one to Maine. Don't ask what they look like because they a) are hidden deep in my computer and b) are more amateur pieces of my early work (very snapshot-y). When I started college, I joined my school's Photography Club and saved up to buy my first DSLR. It was my first 'big' purchase as an adult.
I didn't really get into photography until I took this photography class. It helps to receive genuine verbal praise and affirmation that you are doing something right. I soon realized, "I believe I'm good at this. I think I can do this. It's going to take some work and practice but I know there's always something to work on."
And food photography? That became an obsession when I started reading food blogs and began to cook and bake on my own. I was enamored by the amazing array of food photography that existed on the interwebs. And I still am today. I'm constantly looking for inspiration and the photos that make my jaw drop. For the most part, food is a patient subject to photograph. It's non-judgemental and allows for better and consistent practice.
And now I can't go on any trip without my camera. No matter how heavy it is, I always know I'll regret not bringing it when it counts. I'm not saying I'm a genius photographer. In fact, I know I'm far from it. But since gaining confidence and wading through piles of very, very bad photographs in search for those hidden gems, I'd like to think I'm fairly decent now. I'd like to think that I've grown a lot from that timid 7th grader. I'd like to think that I've improved drastically in four years since that first point and shoot.
If I get anxious that it takes me too long to write a blog post, I've got to keep reminding myself that quality counts. I've learned the hard way with rushing projects. Haste makes waste, always.
I try not to allow praise get to my head because I know I can do better. I want to keep improving and make my photos the best they can be. There are so many new techniques and skills that I have yet to try and accomplish. Also current ones that need to be refined. So if I don't know how to respond to praise it's not because I'm being rude but because I don't want it to get to my head. I am humble about my photography (and design) because it keeps me from getting too cocky.
Please excuse me while I go back to editing more photos. Photos from my first trip to Colorado will be up soon.