Dear Serena

Your Dad finally handed over his prized DSLR, for you to dive into an exciting new hobby. You have finally convinced your friend to come over so you could get started on pursuing your passion. More than that, you have finally decided to let go off Auto shooting, your dad is teaching you about the Dragon…manual mode. Yes it is indeed confusing but you will get there. Manual mode seems like a daunting and confusing new language that you just cannot seem to grasp. Take your time though…you will get there. And when you do…you would have conquered a beautiful dragon that will take you to the moon and back.

The Technical bits will come…

You will be amazed at how you eventually will be able to change your shutter speed, ISO and aperture without even a second thought. Those fingers will do it all for you…blissful isn’t it? And despite your first few “photoshoots” you really do not need to have your ISO at 6400 in a full lit room. Do yourself a favour and set your aperture first, not your ISO.

Let’s talk about that yellowish appearance in your images when shooting inside. That look that drives you crazy because you know it’s not the standard you are after but more because you do not for the life of you, know how to fix it. That my dear is called white balance. You are welcome.

Why you do what you do…

There are going to be days of hell and seeming torture with your subjects, trying to get them to oblige. I assure you though, they are trying their best to listen. Calm down…draw a picture…find an image on Google…give them inspiration. Each and every shot does not have to be perfect contrary to the popular belief. Let it go. Let it go when the kids refuse to look into the camera. Instead, tilt their a little, have them look at their sibling, give them a toy…distract them. Become the entertainment. If they cannot adore you, how can they adore the lens? Stop for a moment and think about why  you are in this…

Those blurry backgrounds you love so? You can get those with a 50mm 1.8 by shooting wide open. Do not go wide open though because you WILL miss the focus more times than you would care to admit.

The difference between a career and a hobby…

You have a tendency of finding a hobby and obsessing about it for 6 months before moving onto another. Not photography, though…do not give up just yet. Push a little harder, learn more. Not because of the money. But because photographs are your everything. You grew up in front of the camera, and now in a world tilting towards instant captures…you yearn to lock down every moment. Photography is the hobby you have been searching for. It isn’t your livelihood…it is food for your soul.

Read as much as you can about Photography. Find blogs, forums and books. Soak it ALL up and then get out into the majestic world and practice it all.

Edit daily…don’t let your work pile up. Sitting for hours in front of your pc will drive you crazy and you will soon hate it. Take the workshops, participate in them fully. Make friends. Shadow a few really senior top guns.

It will all be OKAY…

The hardest times in your photography journey are normally right after these workshops. You will have learned so many new things but struggle to put them into practice.

Don’t get discouraged.

This typically happens right before you have a growth in your photography.

You will have ups and downs. You will have months where you feel like your photos aren’t good enough. Stop looking at other photographers’ work.

Don’t compare yourself. Your journey is your journey. There will be photographers who start after you and pass you in skill. That is okay. Don’t let it get you down. The only photographer you should compare yourself to is yourself.

And let me tell you, you will come a LONG way from the photos you took in your front yard of the kids.

Keep clicking.

Yourself in 7years