How to become a photographer on accident. The Lauren Beesley story.
Sometimes people ask me how I got into photography, so I thought it would be fun to share my story here!
Family members on my mom and dad's sides both had cameras. My grandmother in particular had a nice film camera and seemed to always keep up with the latest digital point and shoot cameras. My dad also liked cameras, and I remember we had a revolutionary but short lived Sony Mavica, that chunky devil:
So naturally, in middle school, my big birthday present request was my own digital camera. I still remember we got it from Staples. It was an HP brand. And the memory card held 256 MB, which was one of the bigger options at the time. I still have that card, can't seem to bring myself to throw it away. I think I also used a Fujifilm camera of some sort around this time. I dug up some of those photos I took back then...obviously no subject was off limits, and I was terrible.
Then in high school I worked at Best Buy, and we used to have online product trainings we could complete to be entered in prize drawings. One of those products was a very top of the line Canon Powershot point and shoot camera and ohhhhhh man that camera got my attention. It had 10x optical zoom (back then was a big deal for a small camera), and it had manual mode capability and a bunch of cool built in features and filters. It wasn't cheap, so I was honored to receive it as a graduation present from my dad. My photography improved slightly at that point. But it's still pretty embarrassing. Like, I shouldn't be showing you this.
Maybe a year or two later, the greatest thing happened. My dad left his Canon Rebel on the back of his truck and didn't realize it when he drove off. The damage to the camera was irreparable.
If that does not sound like the greatest thing, I'll explain. I went with my dad to take the camera back to Best Buy under Black Tie Protection warranty, and they gave us a brand new Canon Rebel. My dad said he was ready for a 50D at that time, and gave the Rebel to me. #score
That camera pretty much changed my life, but I had no idea at the time. To start, it let me do some cool things I couldn't before, like low light, fast moving subjects, and I starting learning basic editing somewhere in there but didn't always use it. Here are some obligatory first photos for your entertainment. DISCLAIMER: this was still like 8 years ago and I was just testing it....yeah. We'll go with that.
So I took some terrible photos of random objects, brought it with me to social gatherings, and then. THEN. I had a crazy idea that I wanted to get the hang of manual mode, so I told all my church friends that I would do their family pictures for free in exchange for the practice, and zero promises were made about the quality of said photographs. I'll save that evidence for another day.
Long story short, I basically did this for three years and I got pretty decent. I learned a lot of things about manual mode (#goals), but I also learned about a bunch of other things I didn't know I was bad at. Like lighting, white balance, types of lenses and depth of field, FOCUSING (dear goodness you think that'd be the easy part, and I guess it sort of is if you aren't using a broken lens or weird settings #mistakesweremade), editing in various software programs besides PicMonkey, posing, why full frame cameras are a gift from Heaven, why colors show up funny on different screens and from different printers....etc.
Another long story short, I obviously fell in love with portrait photography, and especially senior photos. And I also learned that photography is hard work. Becoming a good photographer isn't as simple as having a nice camera. Not all types of photography are for all photographers (no offense newborns, you just don't take direction very well). But most of all, quality photography is something you're only going to get from someone who has put in years of dedicated hard work at their own expense to be able to give you great photos. Someone who values the industry enough to establish a legal business. Someone who is willing to keep working and learning to make sure you're getting the best they can give you. I hope you'll see that this is what I live and breathe, and that is what I'm offering as the proud and passionate owner of Lauren Beesley Photography. So much love to all of you who told me these terrible photos were lovely, because I'm not sure I would have made it to this point if you told the truth back then before I grew some thick skin. ;) Here's to continuing growing together!