I bought my first camera on a whim, without any background in arts or photography.
Fortunately, after a few weeks of playing with it, it turned into an unexpected passion that would turn my life upside down within a year.
But even though I make it sound easy and effortless, it actually took a lot of hard work and experimenting, because I learned everything on my own. Most of my friends knew nothing about photography and couldn’t help me through my journey.
I was desperate to find photography help—a community or a mentor to hang out with and point me in the right direction, but I couldn’t, and I wasn’t confident enough to share my photos online.
That was my biggest mistake…
I spent hundreds of dollars on books and magazines about photography and selling images, and I experimented at home to learn how settings worked and how editing was done.
When I thought I had reached greatness, I shared this image in an online community, expecting praise and fame.
It didn’t happen.
Instead, I received dozens of critiques pointing out everything that was wrong in the image, from the composition and lack of subject to the contrast and poor processing.
It was disheartening at first, BUT the community’s constant feedback helped me improve, and exponentially accelerated my learning curve.
As a result, I can now go for a stroll on the beach and capture photos such as this one, with better composition and processing, as well as a few tricks I learned along the way (like the starburst!).
Having someone explain everything to you step by step, in a clear and simple way, whether it’s in person or online, is invaluable.
If I were just starting out today, with all the resources and friendly, supportive community available through Great Escape Publishing, I’d invest far less money in books and manuals (that ended up collecting dust) and progress at a much faster pace.