So when did I start using manual mode on my camera and break into professional photography?
When I first started my photography business back in January 2010 by photographing models on a time for print basis to practice and build my portfolio. I actually didn’t own my own DSLR camera, I simply couldn’t afford one. I was photographing on my trusted and well loved Kodak easy share bridge camera which didn’t have inter changeable lenses but it did have different modes that I did play with at time to time. The quality of my photography wasn’t brilliant, but many of my friends and family commented on how they liked my photos.
This is one of my earlier photos shot whist at University in 2007 on Auto, I later edited it a few years ago. This is Julie, one of my model friends I met at University. That Year I also photographed Emma. The photos I used the on camera flash and draped a blanket over the floor!
In 2009 I borrowed my then boyfriends Cannon 550D camera to take photos with, which I loved, but I had no idea what the buttons were for at all.
Here is a self timed self portrait I took with his camera in 2009. The problem I have with this photo is that I used the wrong lens so my chin looks larger than it is. This was shot on Auto, although I do love it, it represents my life with depression back then with my greasy hair hiding in the bath tub.
In January 2010 I borrowed one of my closest friends aunties Pentax SLR for a photo shoot, I basically did what we call “wing it” pressing buttons and hoping for the best. My friend is a model and we often modeled together, her name is Dom Di but her modeling name is “Evie Louise” she was very helpful allowing me to practice with her.
We draped a white bed sheet on the floor and used the corner of my lounge which was pretty spacious and I had white walls.
Later that month I photographed Chloe, another fried and used my Kodak on Auto with its on camera flash using my white bed sheet home studio! I really loved this photo, although I didn’t know anything about clour casting (Her leg is Yellow from the indoor lighting)
In February 2010 I had a 1-2-1 tutoring lesson with one of the photographers who had a couple of photoshoots with when I was modeling between 2009 and 2010. His name is Paul Wisher and he is a brilliant guy that I get on well with, he lent me his Cannon 5D camera and I had a photoshoot with Evie again, I loved the quality of these photos and my desire to have a “real camera” grew stronger. There was of course no hope in me buying one I was broke as not having a job as such and in and out of education and fighting mental health issues.
During the year I continued to shoot with my Kodack easy share bridge camera on Auto, occasionally playing with a button and bringing my photos up in Photoshop. I discovered photoshop in 2007 while studding Art and design level 2 with Mike Scrimshaw, he was brilliant at it and it made me frustrated because I couldn’t do what he could do. There were so many buttons and it was so complicated! But Over my University days I played around with it and got a bit better. But of course there was many of errors.
September 2010 I started Collage studding a diploma in Creative media with Pete Calvert and Ralph Keaton as my tutors. During my photography lessons Ralph gave us an assignment to study our cameras and write what each button and function did, he later gave us an assignment on copyright which both have been extremely helpful.
So I started to play more with the functions of my camera and learning about ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed, ect.
I was 6 months pregnant when I had a photoshoot with Spike, he had a cannon 450D camera which he lent me on the photoshoot, so I used both my Kodak and his camera, I really liked using his camera.
This was the first photoshoot I used Manual on with the confidence from studding the camera modes in collage.
I had traveled to Derby to do an assignment task with Julie, when I had a photoshoot with a model I found from my Model mayhem page where I had found Genevieve and Natalie.
This was Claire, I used my friends Nikon camera for this photoshoot, I couldn’t get on well with the camera. Angela was a friend of mine from University and she was studding a Degree in commercial photography.
In January I took a break from collage being 35 weeks pregnant and in the March I gave birth to my daughter Sophia.
In May, I was photographing my friend having a “Mother and Baby photoshoot” when my Kodak camera died on me, luckily I had a back up camera but I was completely and utterly heartbroken.
So my partner Matthew took me to the Media exchange shop in Lincoln and bought me a second hand Cannon 450D camera for £300. I of course was like OVER THE MOON!!!
That July I had my first “Children’s portraits” session with Katie and Ryan, It was the hottest day of the year and little Ryan was a shy child. Although I researched, I didn’t have that many skills yet but they are still up on the walls of Becky’s home today!
That summer I rented out a photography studio in my town and teamed up with a couple of my photography friends and had a photoshoot with some of my model friends for a dress company, I knew nothing about lights so Vincent set them up for me and I relied on Jason to help me as I had been using natural light.
This is Emma Alicia, Chelsea and Angela.
The summer was spent playing around with my camera on manual mode and just exploring it and reading up on blogs on the internet and writing down notes in a note pad.
Late that summer I I had another 1-2-1 tutorial with Calvin, a very creative photographer who I had chosen to be my wedding photographer. He was very kind and drove over and taught me a few things with my model Nicole.
Calvin is a multi award wining, published photographer with a very successful business and has also photographed detestation weddings. I started going to his camera club on a weekly basis where I learnt quite a bit.
In October I had my First Newborn session, I researched for a good couple of weeks prior to the shoot, however the shoot didn’t go to plan even though I tried my hardest on manual mode: My photos looked nothing like they did on the internet!
I was going to collage for half a day a week from that September to finish my studies and now Charging £10 a shoot since I was shooting on manual and understanding more about photography and building my portfolio up.
In January I started going to collage for a day and a half as I was falling slightly behind with my studies, my daughter was now 10 months old.
I photographed my very first wedding for £150 and did four hours work. I asked a friend Darren to help me out as I wasn’t confident doing this by myself. He was a hobbyist photographer and an artist so I thought he would be a great fit to help me with my very first wedding. I only had a couple of weeks to prepare so I took to the internet again and online forums to try and learn as much as I could as possible. I felt I did an awful job on the wedding because it took me weeks to edit the photos and I felt very ill for weeks afterwards, it was very stressful for me and I didn’t receive much support on line. I really wanted to give the couple the best photographs I could as there is no rewind button for live weddings!!
That March I rented out the collage studio and photographed “miss Cobweb” with Mark another student who I relied heavily on to set up all the lighting for me, because I still had no clue how to use flash and was not confident in it at all.
I completed my collage course with a merit, merit that Summer of 2012 and set up “Sparkle and Dreams photography” which I concentrated on Wedding and family portraits and I kept my Nocternal Artist photography for my model portraits and personal work. This is where my business really took off.
So that’s my transition from Auto to manual mode and the change in my business as I build it up slowly pretty much from bare bones and scratch. I have come a long way in the last few years and I have yet so much more to achieve and do! ❤
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Love and light, Victoria ❤