This may be a surprise to some (especially those who just got to know me) but it really isn’t. In fact I have had a keen interest in all things photography for a very long time. It predates all the way back in middle school(primary school in Singapore’s context). Now let me tell you why it is only now (or rather 4 years ago) that i started to go amateur. I’m not sure how do they categorize they level of professionalism but as far as i know it is up to you to judge my pictures. A word of disclaimer though, I take pictures to express my creativity.
I am one who loves to create. Not physically create something that is tangible but something that is enough to invoke feelings and memories for people. To specify it further, i love to digitally create, alter or modify photographs and videos. I had my humble beginnings at editing pictures which i totally sucked but when i looked back, I can only give myself a pat in the back for taking that first step. And this i want to emphasize, the first step is always the hardest. Always.
Now, i’m not that different from the first day i held the camera. Granted, i have understood the concept of manual controls and the creative aspects of how to take a proper photograph but there is still so much that i have to learn.
I remembered my first camera. It was a present from my dad and i was responsible for taking “official” family portraits. I didn’t have a single clue on how to operate it. You gotta give me credit though. I was only 10 or 11 years old at that point of time. I took up the challenge and when it was time for it to be printed, most of the photos were in a wide landscape format. Boy, did it cost a whole lot! My dad gave me a whooping when he had to fork out a lot for the pictures. That dampened my mood and slowed down my drive to continue taking pictures.
Fast forward to secondary school, you know the drill. Everyone has to get the latest phones at that age. The era of handphone cameras was the in-thing and was there to stay for a long time till today. Now handphone cameras sport f2 apertures and monstrous megapixels packed into a small sensor. How far technology has come. That was when i started to pick up photography again but as a hobby. I did some small time video edits but that’s about it. I was more into editing photos in photoshop. I went as far as digitally attaching Gundam propellers to my shoulders. That was one of the proudest and corniest moment of my life. Wish i still have the photo with me though.
Then came a long hiatus. Polytechnic and on to NS. I was more focused on attaining good grades in Poly as well as ORD-ing as soon as possible. I had lots of free time right after NS and i needed to pick up a hobby because (explained in para 2). I merely thought of getting myself my own DSLR and shoot pictures out of pure hobby. Luckily for me, Instagram was there at that time for me to upload my shots. I just wanted a platform to express and showcase my work so people can comment and critique my pictures. My endgame was to keep on improving. It is a never ending cycle.
Now comes the interesting part. As i’ve mentioned, my intentions were to express my creativity and have a collection of photos that i can call mine. My work needs no any salary or payoffs that can motivate me from doing what i love doing. Hence, that is why it is a hobby. Things took a turn when some of my followers on Instagram enquired me whether i can take photos for them. I had my own doubts whether i can perform up to task because now there were expectations set for me.
Like I said, the first step is always the hardest. This was a bold new step for me to take. I knew that if i took on this challenge, i would have to have to up my game. So in preparation for the first official shoot, i looked up online on how to do up my own contract between client and vendor. There were many but my wife helped me to narrow down the simplest and easiest to understand. Once that was settled, I watched tutorials online on how to take proper wedding photos. Generally, good lighting is needed to take quality photos. The creative aspect is the hardest. So i drew inspiration from local and international photographers on how they take photos. Each of them had their own style and preference. In general, its called photo composition. Across the board, they all had good lighting. So I just prayed hard that the sun will be out on that day.
Luckily, the sun was out for both days. So i took as many photos and angles as i could. At the end of the event, i was satisfied. Another aspect of photography is that i takes editing to bring a photo to life.
With Lightroom, I was able to envision what i want in each individual photo. Maintaining colour balance was of utmost importance to me. It depicts the best representation of what really happened on the day. Once I’m happy with that, I have to bolster the mood and atmosphere of each photo.
In essence, all of these aspects help make a good photo. I wouldn’t say i mastered it. I have a long journey ahead of me to be good at what i’m in. There are always people who are way better than me. I respect the craft and the artist behind every photo. Taking a photo isn’t just point and shoot, there has to be careful consideration on how your master photo should look like. Don’t be afraid to take many shots of a single scene. In the end you have cull and edit the best of the lot. It takes guts, patience and skill to make it all work.
To all aspiring photographers, start it out as a hobby and not as something you want to gain something from it. Trust me, you’ll love it even more that way.