Starting an actual photography business - I never saw this coming!
That all changed with that first little Olympus camera. It was small enough that I could carry it any where. I found that I liked being able to document the people, places and events that I encountered. Slowly but surely, I would accidentally take an above average picture, and people would say some nice things about them. Here are a couple of my earliest shots:
I had no idea why some of my photos worked better than others, but it did make me want to shoot more and more. I started becoming the unofficial photographer/documentarian for classes, companies and events I was involved with.
After my honeymoon cruise (my first cruise!), I knew I wanted a better camera before our next trip. So I upgraded to an Olympus 4MP digicam.
This photo of Ocho Rios is my best seller - 29 downloads so far - was shot on my second cruise.
Books and magazines are the way I chose to learn how to improve my photographs. I still have yet to attend a class or seminar. Instead, I subscribed to several major photography magazines - Shutterbug, Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer. I also started purchasing books. That was a little more difficult at first because so many of them spent a lot or most of their time focusing on the photoshop side of digital photography, which I wasn't that interested in. One VERY valuable book that was sent to me as a surprise by a friend who also likes photography was Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.
One interesting thing is that came from this self education was an article in one of those photo magazine that discussed the new and growing field of microstock photography. I tried to get onto a couple of the sites mentioned in that first article I read, but my work was rejected. The second article I read on microstock mentioned Dreamstime as a new, up and coming site, so I decided to try again. A little less than two years ago I bought my first DSLR (Canon Rebel XTi). Yet again, a new tool helped take my photos to another, more polished level. The rest, as they (who are THEY anyways?) say is history.
I seem to have three areas that have been most effective for me in terms of stock photo sales - landscapes, travel, and sport photography. In fact, my real success on DT has come from the addition of editorial use of images. This has allowed me to carve out a very specific niche here on DT - NASCAR photos.
The area I'm most lacking in is people/portrait photography. I decided to try and tackle that issue and bought a three light studio kit, various accessories, and some new books:) Over the course of the spring and summer I've been practicing by shooting friends and family, including a couple of weddings. One thing has led to another, and my wife and I have decided to actually file the paperwork and start our own photography business! We have used Smugmug for our photo posting for the last several years, and found it to be the best option for the money to get a new, professional site up and running.
My wife has been busy working on the html coding for the various functions on the site, while I've been focusing on gallery design and uploading content. All of this activity has lead to several inquiries for actual paying business! While it's still just rolling down the runway (we don't have any studio space, and we're still figuring out our pricing model), it's exciting as we continue to pick up speed and hopefully get off the ground soon!
Not having felt like I was a creative person in terms of I can't draw, paint, sing, dance (well , at least), or play an instrument, photography has allowed me to discover a creative side I didn't know I had. The opportunity to either express myself, or discover and capture the expressiveness of the people and places I encounter, never ceases to amaze me.
Photo credits: Lawrence Weslowski Jr.
Camera equipment: New and Old