Since it's "Throwback Thursday" and I love to look back at where I've come from, I thought I'd go back and show you. I'm a pretty contemplative person. I love to reflect and recognize how things have shaped me. I've been on this journey of photography for a while. Actually, for most of my life. I got my first camera for my twelfth birthday, so that's where this journey began.
I've known since then that I loved this photography thing. I wasn't always concerned with composition or shutter speed, but I knew that I loved being able to freeze time. I loved being able to come back to an exact moment later and re-live it through a photograph.
So let's take a journey through my photos together - specifically through portraits since it would take us too long to go through the rest. :)
This one is from somewhere around 2000. I got a purple see-through film point and shoot and my sister and I loved to have "Photo Shoots." We would hang a sheet on our basement wall and she would pose for me, and I would save up my allowance to get my film developed.
2005. I entertained the kids I babysat by taking photos on my fancy new digital camera and showing them to the kids on the back of the screen. This photo is still hanging in a frame at Lily's family's house!
2006. I took two Photography classes in High School; this was taken for the first assignment. We used cardboard oatmeal containers to make pinhole camera. Can you believe this was taken with an oatmeal container?? During this class, I learned how to shoot a camera in Manual Mode and how to develop my own film in the darkroom and I started thinking about composition.
2010. In college, my friends used to ask me to take "roommate pictures" for them sometimes. As I look back at them now, I cringe at the awkward posing, terrible light, and weird editing - but at the same time, I wish I had more photos with my own roommates and friends! Studying Art/Graphic Design in college also meant that I spent lots of time thinking about Art Theory, color, and composition - all of which have been translated into my photography.
2012 (March). I finally bought my own DSLR and took my sister out to model for me. More awkward angles and terrible light. But this phase of experimenting and learning what doesn't work was so important in my journey. I'm such a hand-on learner!
But sometimes I got lucky - like in the photo below. Same evening as above, when I obviously didn't know what I was doing, but I still like this photo and my sister and her husband (then boyfriend) have a big canvas of this hanging on their wall!
2012 (September). I joined an online photography forum and read a million tutorials. I bought a "Nifty Fifty" Prime Lens because they told me that was how you get more blurry backgrounds, and that's what makes a good photo (insert sarcasm).
February 2013. Even though I'm trying to keep this focused on portraiture, I have to at least mention that this is when I really got into Fine Art and "Macro" Photography. I bought a 100mm Macro lens and did a whole lot of thinking about composition and what makes a photo "art."
March 2013. I asked a few friends if I could borrow their kids to try out some new techniques. I had started shooting in RAW, using an ExpoDisc for white balance, and mastered Manual exposure. I really made progress with less awkward posing, but I struggled a ton with editing and trying to find my style. I also had a really hard time with overcast light.
May 2013. This photo of my friend and her mom at her bridal shower was the one that made me fall in love with capturing real emotions and crave more authentic images.
July 2013. My family and I took a big vacation to Washington state. I documented the whole thing and I came home with a whole lot of authentic images that I was really proud of. I was getting more proficient at finding good light on a moment's notice to be able to catch these real moments.
December 2013. After a break from posed images, I jumped back in for my sister's engagement photos - and I loved it! I enjoyed finding the authentic emotion in natural poses, while still being able to use good light and pretty backgrounds. I still had a very hard time with the editing.
May 2014. Because she couldn't find another photographer, I photographed my sister's wedding while also playing the role of sister AND bridesmaid. I'm not going to lie; it was HARD. But at the end of the day, I was happy with the images I was able to give her, she loves them, and I gained a lot of confidence - because if I can produce successful images under that much stress, I can do pretty much anything!
June 2014. Lily asked me to re-create that infamous photo from 2005, so we did. And we had a whole photo shoot on a sunny Sunday at 1pm - any photographers out there no that would be just about the worst possible lighting situation, but I was able to get creative with my use of light and we came away with images I'm happy with and proud of! It was also around this time that I developed my own Lightroom presets and stopped using pre-made ones - and finally found a consistent processing style that I am happy with.
June 2014. I finally worked up the courage to ask friends if I could photograph their families for some Portfolio Building family sessions, and I loved every moment of them all. It felt like such a privilege to get to witness the love and joy that comes so naturally from families. I photographed 6 families over the span of a few months and learned so much.
August 2014. After moving back to Hugo, I finally opened up shop and started taking clients, specializing in families, seniors, and couples. Seeking to capture true emotions in all of them.
My journey isn't over, and there is always much to learn. But I have come so very far, and I think that's worth recognizing.
A few things worth noting:
- Because of my High School and College Photography classes I have been able to shoot on Manual Mode since the day I bought by DSLR (I still hadn't mastered the skill and had a LOT of over and underexposed images for the first year or so)
- I still shoot with my first DSLR, the Canon t2i. It may not be one of the higher-end cameras, but that little thing has a lot of power in it and I love it! It's not about the camera, it's about the skill of the artist behind it.
- I shoot with just two lenses: a 30mm/1.4 and a 100mm/2.8
- Besides those few Photography classes in high school & college, I am self-taught using online resources, YouTube videos, library books, and a few online forums - and lots of practice!
Megan Schreurs is a Hugo Photographer. She specializes in authentic documentary and lifestyle family, senior, and couple photography. Also serving Antlers, Soper, Fort Towson, Sawyer, and Paris, Texas. Follow Megan Schreurs Photography on Facebook!