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Q&A: How Did You Get into Photography?

I was thinking about how my passion for photography began and I started wondering what made others decide to become a photographer. My story starts in college. I was making a fake magazine for a graphic design class and I wanted some photos to go in my magazine. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I wanted it to look as real as possible. I asked a friend if he would snap some photos for my project and he gave me a point and shoot camera and told me to go scout some locations. I took someone with me and we headed downtown to take some test shots. I found myself paying attention to my surroundings, the colors, wardrobe, many things I had never thought of previously. Before that, it was just "smile!" and snap a photo. The only goal was making sure no ones head was cut off. I took the camera back to my friend and he loaded the photos on the computer and said "do you want to edit them?". I knew how to use Photoshop but I didn't know anything about photo editing. I signed up for a photography class and photo editing class and after that I was hooked! I eventually mixed my love of graphic design and photography and launched Hazy Skies Designs Photoshop Templates. Then a couple of years later, HSD Backdrops launched. 

I asked our Facebook group members "Tell us about your first introduction to photography. What drew you in?". Below are some of their answers. I enjoyed reading everyone's stories. 

Cristi D.: I’ve always been passionate about preserving memories! My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and when she was diagnosed, it suddenly felt like pictures were the most important thing to the women in my family; someone always had a camera in their hands! That carried over for me after she passed. I actually got started in professional photography by taking action shots for the local football team (still doing that, by the way 😉). A lot of the players’ parents asked me to do senior portraits that year, and I loved it so much that I purchased a complete course in professional photography and began my career! Sometime in 2013, I began transitioning to newborn and child portraiture and I can’t imagine doing anything else now!

Sara Pope PhotographyMy story is a little different than most I think? I actually used to own a little side business refinishing vintage furniture finds. I was doing pretty well and wanted something better than my point and shoot to take pictures of my pieces. I also have kids so the thought of being able to take better pictures of them too sealed the deal! My husband bought me my first DSLR and I was hooked - only, I was leaning more towards photos of my kids than my furniture. We ended up moving about an hour and a half away and where we moved there was no place for me to sand and paint (it's a lot hotter here so the garage wasn't an option!). It's also a lot less city, with beautiful hills, farms and horses. So I started picking up my camera again and haven't put it down since! Now I do this full time and run a little studio in my town. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

Deanna R.I picked up a camera for the first time when I was about 5 years old. It wasn’t anything special or even near professional. It was in the times that disposable cameras with the crank on the back were all you had for fun in the early 90’s. My older cousin had them on every single table at her reception, and I walked around and collected them while no one was looking, and started filling them with all kinds of fun things. I’m sure they had a lot of questionable moments from accidental misfires, but I vividly remember walking around to every table and asking groups of people to pose for me. I’d like to think they cherish those photographs now, as a lot of the people in them are gone now. And prior to me taking the charge, no one was using those little things that would have probably been lost in the shuffle! I think I was drawn in by the mere fact that I had the influence while holding that camera to make someone smile. It may have been an inconvenience, they may have not felt like smiling, but in those moments, they chose to. So from there I have gone through life always trying to give people a reason to smile. I journeyed through with an eventual Pentax K1000, and documented everything. I had teachers in high school try to tell me that photography was a dreamers job, and I would never have a chance to be successful in it as a career, which fueled me to prove them wrong. Graduated with a photography degree 14 years ago, and I have a full time commercial photo job, and a side business for my portraits to this day! I will never stop trying to give people a reason to smile, if even for a moment! 💕

Brittany C.My photography journey is a little all over the place. In 1993, my grandmother gave me her Polaroid One-Step at a family gathering to keep me occupied. Later, she created an album of all the photos I took, which included mostly knees and some shots of people bending down to try to get their face in the frame. I never put that camera down! In 1999, she bought me an iZone camera. And in 2001, my grandmother got my first digital camera - it didn't have a screen on the back like digital cameras do now, so every photo was a surprise and terribly low resolution. In 2004, she upgraded my digital camera to a Nikon D70. Years went by with me using the Nikon. When I first went off to college, I majored in Computer Science. After my second year there, I realized that I was going to be miserable if I spent the rest of my life behind a computer (little did I know...). Well, I hoped in my car and drove the 7 hours home to sit in my grandmother's office and cry. That day, my grandmother asked, "what do you love?". I cried, "I don't know anymore!" She just grinned and said, "have you ever put that camera down?" After a bit of back and forth, I went back to school, met with my advisor and switched my major to photography. My grandmother upgraded my camera to a Nikon D7000 and she and my grandfather paid for my college education. The year before I graduated, I opened my studio and named it "Antonelli's Photography" for my grandparents, Thomas & Mary Grace Antonelli. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for my grandparent's (and parent's) support.

T.S. Gallant Photography: My dad loved photography and was always pulling over to photograph birds, animals and scenery (I grew up in Montana). I wanted to be just like my dad so was always with him. He bought me a 35mm when I was 10 so we could go out "hunting" together (meaning to "shoot pictures"). It was our bonding thing, and the only thing I had with him that was just mine (this wasn't shared with my siblings or mother or anyone else).

Fast forward to 2004, a former in-law showed me his wonderful printed portfolio, created after his graduation from some photography school. At the end, I said I wanted to show him something of my own and he, with abject disdain, said "Oh, I assure you that you have nothing I want to see" and wouldn't even look. It was at that moment that I dedicated my life to photography as a career path and no longer just a hobby.
Lisa H.When I was a kid, I used my parents Kodak Instamatic to take pictures of my newborn nephew. I was hooked! Waiting for the film prints to come back was half the thrill. Looking through magazines for inspiration, Gerber babies was the look. Because this was the 70s that was the only source...Fast forward, my HS graduating (1980) gift from my parents was a 35mm Nikon which really launched of my love for photography.
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