My Journey as a Photographer (part 1) – How I Got Started in Photography

A question that comes up during almost every portrait session is, “How did I get started in photography?”. This blog post explains just that.

My love of photography started when I was fairly young between the ages of thirteen and fourteen. I was a bit of a computer nerd at the time, and a friend of mine had recommended I check out a website called which featured Photoshop, photography, and other art competitions. I saved up money from mowing lawns, bought Photoshop CS2, and started making some pretty horrendous composites that I entered into contests on After a few months of entering Photoshopped images into contests, I still wasn’t very good, so I decided to try entering one of the website’s photography competitions instead. I grabbed my mom’s Kodak Easyshare and took a photo of my parent’s blue pole barn. This photo ended up scoring far better than any of my composites so I decided I try out photography instead of just Photoshop.


By the end of my freshman year of high school in 2009 I had saved up enough money to buy my own Nikon D40. I brought this with me everywhere and shot with it religiously. My parents and fellow church members saw my growing interest and encouraged me to pursue it further.



The exact moment I decided I wanted to be a photographer was in-between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. My parents and I were on a small vacation to Grand Rapids, Mi. We were at the Fred Meijer Gardens; I had my Nikon D40, metal Velbon tripod that my dad had bought back in the early 80s, and a refurbished 70-300mm lens. I was walking around trying to get some decent images of flowers when another visitor to the gardens noticed my camera and pointed towards some brush on the side of the trail. I walked over in just enough time for a baby raccoon to pop his head up. I snapped an image of him just before he hid back in the bushes and scurried away. This was the first photo I had gotten that I was really happy with. After seeing this photo was when I decided I wanted to become a photographer.


At this point in the conversation I usually get asked, “Why do I shoot portraits?”. It wasn’t till much later I decided I wanted to be a portrait photographer and the explanation takes a bit longer to. Check back next week for part 2 of My Journey as a Photographer.

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