School was a great stepping stone for me. I was extremely gun-ho about learning everything I could about photography which was a blessing and a curse because there is so much to photography. When I first started exploring photography as a whole, I did not understand why anyone would stick to one field of photography. I didn’t understand the business side of photography and I did not understand the technical side of photography; I didn’t even know what Photoshop was until I was enrolled in school. All I knew at the time was that I really liked taking pictures and I had formed an extremely overactive imagination once I started reading about photography.
Fourteen years out of school really takes a toll on your abilities. When I was in grade school through High school I excelled in mathematics and struggled in English/literature. If you gave me numbers, shapes, and algebraic equations or anything that had to be solved I could figure it out quickly, but poetry, writing, and spelling bored me to tears. So when I took my placement tests for college I was stunned at my grades, I completely failed math but I did fairly well with the English test. So, my first few classes of school were to get my abilities back up to par. Honestly, those two subjects were two out of three of the hardest classes I had to take in college; the absolute worst class was public speaking…everything was a video presentation. I apparently have just as big of a phobia when speaking to an empty room and a video camera as I do with being the center of attention…I know I’m a complicated woman ;). Once those preliminary classes were done it was pretty much educational gorging of photographic information.
School presented me with the opportunity to try different fields of photography without damaging something…such as someone’s wedding day by taking on a job that I wouldn’t be qualified for. We had classes on lighting, Portraiture, Editorial photography, Photojournalism, Advertising photography, and so on to help give us a taste of each field and show us the expectation of the clientele. There were other classes that where more technical classes such as color theory, printing, and electronic design that helped with the editing and printing of our work with less error than going about it alone with trial and error. Branding, marketing, communication and other business course were designed to help us define our vision of our businesses and get our work seen.
I’ve heard a lot of people shun the idea of going to college for a creative field, for me I think it helped me lay the foundation for a solid business and it helped me understand the technical side of photography. However, the creative side is still all mine to explore; because of school I now have better tools and a better understanding of the technical side of photography to do it with.
It is now 2014, I received my associate’s degree in Digital Photography in October of 2013 and I plan to go back to finish the last 6 classes for my Bachelor’s degree within the next two years. My children and I have survived the dramas of the car accident and I have about 70% of my feeling and physical abilities back in the lower half of my body. I still have daily pain that will never go away and unfortunately it fluctuates continuously. But with daily exercise and stretching I no longer need heavy-duty pain killers to make it through my day. Because of the fluctuation I have narrowed down my fields of photography to Nature and Landscape. This allows me to shoot when I feel I can physically handle it without having someone schedule in jeopardy like scheduling someone for a portraits shoot or a wedding. I still do them occasionally but it is extremely rare. And I know I will never be able to climb the tallest mountain in the world to capture a photograph from the top…but that doesn’t mean I cannot get my butt into a helicopter. My choice in Nature and Landscape photograph also allows me the opportunity to shoot for publication and art. Not to mention, I will never run out of subject matter to learn about and to photograph with nature and landscape photography.
To date, my business is getting a fair amount of exposure and I have been published 15 times so far. I am still an amateur photographer and I still have a lot to learn but I can honestly say that I am on my way to pro…eventually world renowned.