Finding Your Feet: Getting Started in Photography: by Jacob LucasBy
Many people ask me how I got started in photography as well as why I got started. The answer to both is that I’m a very visual person. It’s just my nature. The scale doesn’t matter either – it could be as simple as a bumblebee on a flower during a warm spring day, or a vibrant sunset panning across the ocean for hundreds of miles.
I picked up a camera because I was moved by these scenes and wanted to capture them as I saw them. During the time of my life when I moved from Australia to Seattle my surroundings changed so incredibly that something compelled me to photograph it all. Seattle is my muse and I love her for it – it’s changed my life for the better on many different levels. In short, the pacific north-west and Seattle is both how and why I became a photographer.
This is the first post in a series of fortnightly posts on how to get started in photography which I’m calling “Finding Your Feet”. I intend the series to be impartial and gear-agnostic; hopefully what I have learned since I picked up a camera and recall throughout the series will help you too. It’s not going to sell you on a particular model of SLR camera or anything at all like that; it’s to help you find your own muse so that you too will want to take photographs and learn all about photography. I really think that is the key here… and it’s something completely intangible which a lot of people find troubling because how does one learn to want something? It doesn’t need to be a drastic life changing event… it can be something small like the first snow of winter, or a family vacation. Be cognisant of something that makes you step back in awe and say to yourself, I want to photograph this; and run with it.
I think that for most photographers out there we shoot photographs because we just love to do so. We are all of us visual people who find joy photographing the colours in a rainbow or the gritty back alleys. We find happiness in delivering a message not via printed media but through a combination of pixels on screen or through film – we use an image to tell our story… not printed word.
How do you want to deliver your message?
How will you tell the world the many different ways in which you view it?
Mother Nature has granted us the privilege of a magnificent planet for us to inhabit and photographers will be there to capture the many changes over the lifetime of our collective home. From the changing of the seasons to erosions of rock formations; from the transition of dawn to dusk to night and back again; from the development of our own selves from childhood to adulthood to old age – photographers play a part at every step.
How will you be involved?
My own personal story involves moving to Seattle. I chose to pick up a camera because I loved my new home and wanted to show the world how I saw it. Years from now the city of Seattle will be very different. There are photographs possible for me to take right now, today, this week, this month, this year, in 5 years even that will not be possible ever again. I get asked often why I chose this day to get up and shoot sunrise right in the middle of winter, or why I chose this day to photograph my friends expecting their first child. The answer isn’t just “because I felt like it” or “this was the only day I had time”. It’s a carefully planned day & time to deliver my message with that very specific Seattle flavour to it. It’s the only time that would tell my story as I wanted to tell it and if something changed that conflicted with my story I would come back another day. So many things factor in to the telling of a story through photographs and the conditions such as weather, light, cloud cover, people’s mood, the photographer’s mood all must align in synergy or else the story isn’t there as you intend it.
How will plan to tell the world how you see her? Do you want to convey it through photography?
Find your muse. Find what moves you. Find your story. Find your photographs.
A photographer isn’t merely someone who knows how to use all the functions of her camera. He is someone who knows how to take a photograph convey a message, someone who knows when to take that photograph to allow the correct message to be conveyed, and is moved to convey the message for whatever reason in the first place. She isn’t done once her muse is found either… in photography the learning never stops. It’s continuous and your muse is there to fuel the fire and keep the motivation to learn & shoot in check. If you know and remember your message as well as all the technical aspects of your camera only then will you be able you to speak your mind as a photographer. It can’t be done by reading your camera manual. It just can’t. It’s a personal, subjective and technical art that requires an awareness that reading alone will not teach you. The good news is that you hold the answers that the textbooks don’t.
Welcome to photography!
The next post that drops in this series will cover that critical decision you make as a new photographer – choosing your first camera and lenses to accompany it.
Originally from Hobart, Australia, I’m a photographer currently living in Seattle, Washington. I enjoy photographing everything native to the pacific northwest and the surrounding areas.
My passion for photography has grown over many years. In early 2001 I was given my first digital camera by my parents. It was a modest device, but it did spark something within me that led me to where I am today. Something about capturing the world in front of me in a single frame gripped me. Then I moved to Seattle and it has led me down to photographic path I’m on (and loving!) today.
My images are an insight into the world as it’s seen through my eyes. In the end, what I’m mostly trying to capture is not just people or places… It’s the feeling. It’s what drives us. I have a keen interest in many post-processing techniques but HDR holds a special place in my photographer “tool bag” to help convey my story.
What do I enjoy photographing? Everything! I love it all, from portrait & landscapes to urban architecture and everywhere in between. The camera has come a long way since the days of yesteryear, but even if they were not comprised of the technology they are today, the reason they inspire me would endure: to show the people of this world just how truly amazing the planet we live in is. For me, it is all about capturing those incredible places & moments.
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