Monday, January 14, 2013

Photography Class & Overcoming Intimidation!

I have been passionate about photography since I was given a nice camera for my Sweet 16 and dove into learning how to use it.  It was pretty 'fancy' at the time and came with a nice little 'program' feature that my high school photography teacher LOATHED! He warned me, I will tell you that!  He taught Aperture and Shutter Speed, the importance of ISO (relating to what kind of FILM to buy... yes, I said FILM! I am old enough that that was our only option!)... we learned how to develop in a dark room and all about composition and light. It was a great course and I learned enough to pass the class and love my camera and fall into the bad habit of using the programmed settings soon after.  

This means that for the majority of my photo taking life, even when I played around a bit and especially when I moved on from film to digital and now DSLR... I spend the majority of my time parked in Guess mode... (Auto or Portrait or if I was feeling bold, Aperture Priority!) 

Over the past few years, my passion has returned and God it seems has opened up doors for me to consider Photography on a more professional level. I love this... I love interacting with clients.  I love creating beauty and finding new angles or locations or coming up with a new idea for a session.  However, as my excitement grew... I began to feel a little like a fraud.  I was hesitant to step into the title of Professional Photographer because... well - 1) because I am not, and 2) because those who are, would 'find me out'!

Then, I was invited to join a local Photography group online.  I was honored, and humbled, and loved just sort of stalking the pros and watching what they posted and gleaning insight from what they would share.  Every ONCE in awhile, I would be bold and post something.  They are nice bunch... very friendly and not at all smug or competitive.  Still - I felt a bit intimidated, so I lurked on.  

Just as I had decided that if I was going to continue with this line of work... if I was in fact going to go from Hobby to Job, I would definitely need to get over my shortcomings and that would have to start with admitting what I did not know!  At the same time, on this photographers group, someone posted an upcoming class for Basic Photography.  They said it was for beginner photographers and would go over the basics (all mentioned above!)  I had already decided that with each 'paying gig' - I would take half of the profit and sow it back into this passion... so when I got paid and saw that this would cover the price of the class - I quickly signed up! It was put on by Memory Montage Photography and it was a fun and super informative class - well worth the investment!

Their biggest challenge - that started IMMEDIATELY - was to never EVER move the setting on your camera off of Manual.  Never.  Ever.  Their encouragement? "Be ready to take some really horrible pictures.  It will take some time, but eventually you will get the hang of it and your photography will greatly improve!"  (Gee... thanks!)

We {re}learned about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. and they made us play around with it and change settings and find what was right - or at least close(r) to right... then they took us outside and we got to play with a model and put what we (sort of) learned into use right away!  So - here is me, being all transparent and vulnerable... showing some random shots from class time as well as some of my shots from our hands on training!

Our gorgeous model and fellow Photographer (Yes... a 'real' one!) was such a great sport!
It was FREEZING cold outside... but she was a trooper!


The thing that surprised me most of all:  How quickly and easily I got intimidated! It floored me... and I found myself withdrawing... being quiet and simply observing instead of fully participating!  It seemed that I was surrounded  by pros... with REALLY nice cameras and it felt like I was the only one who didn't already shoot on Manual all the time!  I was disappointed in myself ...I was surprised! (Ha - my OneWord for this year!)  I KNOW that that was not true... others were struggling too... but even if they weren't - I let myself get intimidated and I missed out on some hands on training... after all, I paid to be there, and if I was actually surrounded by Pro's - I should have taken advantage of that!

I am determined to not only be comfortable in who I am here - online - but also anywhere, in real life!   I am now looking for the next time I am tempted to shrink back... and praying that I remember that it is not a bad thing to admit that I don't know it all.  Because, in fact, I do not!!! No matter what the topic... I can learn from you and you can learn from me and it would do me good to remember that!

What scenarios do you find yourself intimidated by? Please tell me I am not alone!


~Jeanne said...

Love this Karri♥
BTW, I was quite intimidated too! ....and being shy does not help ;) You being there definitely helped!!

Karrilee Aggett said...

Oh - you can not KNOW how much having you there helped me as well! I am so thankful I took the class and I really did learn so much! I must say the instructors did NOT make me feel that way - it was my own issue and just not expecting so many 'Pros' to be taking a Basic Photography class. ;)