As a kid in the '90s I always loved taking pictures. My father would always complain about the amount of pictures I took and reminded me of the development costs of film. Nevertheless, I was still excited to get that envelope of pictures back and see what I captured.
Fast forward to 2008 when I was working at Circuit City. Our store manager wanted to get rid of open box items with no manuals or accessories. I was able to purchase a Canon Rebel XT body and the 18-55mm kit lens for $150. At the time, this was a steal and a lot better than the $1,200 40D I yearned for. I shot with this camera in Auto mode just messing around. Taking pictures of flowers, trying to do whatever macro photography I could attempt...finding that creative juice. I picked that camera up again in late 2012 and started shooting manually as I wanted to dive deeper into photography. I realized the shortcomings of the camera's sensor and knew I needed a new camera if I wanted to make any kind of quality work.
In December 2012 I purchased a Canon EOS 60D and a 17-40mm f/4 lens. While visiting my best friend in Florida I shot his then-girlfriend on the beach and at the marina in Clearwater Beach, FL. I had no flashes, no reflectors, no special equipment. Just some basic knowledge, a camera body, and a lens. She was an aspiring model and I an aspiring photographer, both just starting in our respective crafts. Overall, the shoot went well. I learned a lot about shooting manually and how to control ambient light. She got some more experience in front of the camera. I fell in love with shooting and had to learn more.
Over the next few months I spent countless (probably in the mid-hundreds) of hours on YouTube learning the fundamentals and intermediate to advanced techniques primarily from Mark Wallace. I soaked all this knowledge up like a sponge, found inexperienced models on ModelMayhem, and went out to practice. Through the following months every shoot I did I got a little better.
In 2014 I was at Wild West in Houston for a friend's birthday and as I walked past the cute shot girl at the DJ booth doing shot specials, I dropped a business card on her tray trying to be sly. I'm guessing she threw it off onto the DJ booth because five days later I received a text at 8:30 on a Wednesday night asking if I could photograph a bikini contest. I thought surely this was a prank text from someone I knew. I started asking business-related questions and surmised that this was a legitimate opportunity. Apparently, the photographer, who shall remain anonymous, called out and they were looking to replace her anyways. So, I said what the heck, packed up some gear, and set out to go photograph a bikini contest at a dance hall. They asked if I could come back the following week and two weeks later I realized I needed a better camera for low-light photography in that venue and purchased a Canon EOS 6D. At the time of this writing I have shot 62 nights at Wild West, made some incredible friends from the staff to the patrons, and had some really, really tired Thursday mornings.
Today, nothing has changed. I am always seeking more knowledge or new methods to try during shoots. I look back at my progression of work and smile at how much I have learned and grown as a photographer. I never thought I would get to where I am as fast as I have. So, I continue to push the limits of creativity and my capabilities to challenge myself as a photographer and continue to grow.
Photography is a serious passion of mine. It is my goal to travel the world and photograph different scenes, people, and cultures. It is also my goal to capture all the moments in people's lives I can. Let us see where things stand two years from now.