My Journey as a Photographer (part 2) – The Early Years

This is a continuation of last week’s post My Journey as a Photographer (part 1). Last week’s post explained how I initially found my love of photography and this week it explains the next step in my journey to becoming a professional portrait photographer.

My sophomore year of high school is when my love of art and photography really started to grow. I started taking more art classes. I read any photography magazines I could find locally and bought a handful of books about photography from big names in the industry.

In late February of 2010 I photographed the above image for my church. It was originally for a slideshow for their Easter program featuring images that represented life, joy, and revival. This image also ended up being my first magazine cover when it was picked a year later to be the cover of Shutterbug Magazine’s February 2011 cover.

At this point nature and wildlife photography still continued to be the main focus of my work mostly do to my location. I grew up ten miles outside of the small town of Clare, Mi. I didn’t have a vehicle or drivers license at the time so most of my time was spend reading about photography or taking photographs of nature. The birds and wildlife that would meander into my front yard would usually end up my being the subjects early on in my career.

This image of a nuthatch at my mom’s bird feeder was another defining image for me. I shot this in early August 2010. This image would eventually get published in Audubon Magazine January/February 2011 issue, Nature’s Best Photography Magazine Spring/Summer 2011 issue, the World of Photography – Volume One – Bookazine, and Photographer’s Forum Best of Photography 2012. This image wasn’t flipped; this bird feeds upside-down.

Four months later during my junior year of high school, church got canceled due to the intense winter storm the night before. I decided to take advantage of the winter storm and photograph the beautiful snow covered trees across the road from my house. This image would later be published in Digital Photo Magazine’s March/April 2011 issue.

Between my junior and senior years of high school my nature photography had already been published in a handful of magazines like Shutterbug, Digital Photo, Audubon, Nature’s Best Photography, and World of Photography Bookazine. My parents and I made a trip to the Canadian Rockies that was awe-inspiring. This was the peak of my interest in nature photography. This image photographed in Field, British Columbia would later be published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine’s March 2012 issue and is my favorite image from prior to my formal training a year later.

About a month later I’d be hired to photograph my friend Jerry’s senior portraits. An image from this session would later be published in PDNedu Magazine Spring 2012 issue a few months later.

At this point I was still open minded to what my future in photography would be. I had already been accepted to the Hallmark Institute of Photography and had yet to decide what style of photography I would pursue. Check back next week for Part 3 for Why I Became a Portrait Photographer.

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