Today I had an urge to do some self-portraits after a session with one of my best friends and her family. This desire brought me back to my humble beginnings in photography. Many times during sessions I'm asked how I got into photography or when I started so here's the official story!
It's hard to believe that I've been avidly taking photos for just over ten years now (for fun for years before that)! In 2006, my sophomore year of college, I purchased my first DSLR. A cute little Nikon D50. Yes, I still have it. It's tiny with a tiny screen but it was my trusty stead until I purchased a Canon 7D in 2012. But you can bet than that little Nikon was my right arm. I took it everywhere. I took photos of everything. It got me through some really tough college years.
I would drive around for hours looking for abandoned buildings or architecture or scenery to photograph. I spent hours on iPhoto and Photoshop Elements (that I stole from my parents) practicing editing and you better believe that I got preeetty good at selective coloring. Oh, yes I did. I really did think I was the bees knees with that skill. I even went through a phase of infrared photography, pinhole photography, and even had one of the original Lens Babies (gosh, I miss that thing!). However, the one thing that I did the most of, was self-portraits.
I can't claim that they are any good. They're actually pretty awful if I'm honest but they were the beginning. They are what kept me going, refined my eye, made me understand how the camera works without needing to look behind it, and gave me something that was joyfully mine. Now, had I gone to school and taken classes, maybe a lot of this trial and error would have been unnecessary and even gotten me to where I am faster but it's this "unnecessary" practice that has made me the photographer that I am. Over the past almost eleven years I have put in, gosh, I can't even tell you how many hours of practice. Let's just do a simple calculation...
Let's say I took photos for two hours a day over the past ten years...
365 x 10 = 3,650 days
So that would mean that at a minimum I've done 7,300 hours of practice. What?! And let's be honest, a lot of those days I did HOURS of practice/work, not just two! Mental.
Clearly this is no small hobby. I love my job. LOVE my job. It is the absolute best field anyone could be a part of. And it all comes down to those little self-portraits I did so long ago. So when I went out today to take some portraits of myself, I was reminded of how far I've come these past eleven years, and I'm darn proud of that.