Growth - Then & Now (Bex Maini Part 1)
I'm so pleased to introduce our new blog feature about growth - inspired by a conversation I had with other photographers recently on Instagram about how we often don't feel good enough when we compare our work to others. "I don't feel good enough", "My work is never going to be as good as XXX" and "How can I get my photography to stand out?" You've probably felt this at some point too right? I know I have - and still do in fact. But we also know that comparison with others really can be the thief of joy, especially if you're just starting out in photography. Looking at the work of photographers you admire is often a great way to feel inspired and to learn, as long as it doesn't lead to an internal attack on your own talent.
We all start somewhere - but rarely do we want to share where we started. Let's try to change that. Let's address the misconception that we'll never be good enough and show each other just how much we have grown (or can grow)!
My hope is, that this series will encourage each of us to only draw comparison to OURSELVES. That's the important thing - to see improvement in our OWN work. So please join in - we'd love to celebrate your growth with you.
In the meantime, I'll be first off the blocks to share my journey - it's quite a long one (split into two blog posts) so bear with me. This first part features where I started - with landscape and nature photography and how that has changed over the years. Part 2 will feature my family photography from when my twins were born in 2014 and how I found myself back at the beginning again in my learning!
I've had cameras since I can remember, obviously film back in the day (I grew up in the 80s and 90s), I have vivid memories of an old 110 film camera on our first holiday abroad in Greece when I was 8, I really must dig out those pictures!
My real love of photography as a hobby began in 2004 as a student during my dental summer elective when I travelled around the world solo with my brand new Casio Exilim 3.2mp camera - my first digital camera. The photos below were my favourites I came back with, mostly from the Australian outback and Tonga where I worked with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a charity clinic between my travels.
You can see I have always been drawn to vibrant colours, even from the beginning! After I graduated in July 2005, I was given my first DSLR - a Nikon D70 and started taking photos of anything and everything! I used my 18-70mm kit lens for everything.
It was only after I bought a tripod and went on a photography weekend at Loch Lomond in November 2005 that I noticed a distinct difference in my photos. This was also when I realised I enjoyed macro photography that lead me to invest in my 105mm Nikkor Micro lens that I still love to this day (thanks to Ian H for lending me his 60mm Micro lens and Paul for lending me his 105mm Micro to try)! I learned SO much on that weekend thanks to kind and helpful advice from the other photographers there, not least being how to use my brand new tripod and experiment with long exposures.
Fast forward a year (or ten) following an upgrade to a D300s, I started shooting in RAW mode, learned more about editing and my landscape and nature photography looked more like this...
I obviously used a very different edit for these, I love a big dose of contrast and punchy colours which probably isn't to everyone's taste but it makes me happy :)
I even dabbled in underwater photography combining my hobbies of scuba diving and photography.
I was never interested in taking photos of people, until I grew my own people of course! That changed everything, not least because with two tiny babies I couldn't get up at 5am to drive to a beauty spot for dawn then crawl around in mud with toadstools for the rest of the day.
The 5am starts still existed though! Just parenting instead! More on this phase in Part 2.
To wrap up Part 1, I'm going to leave you with a few side by side comparisons of my nature work. For example see Photo 1 (how it started) vs Photo 2 (how it's going)...
So, who's with me? Fancy showing us a little comparison of how your photography has grown to help inspire anyone just starting out? Send your blog submissions to email@example.com with a few examples of before & after and a little bit of your story you'd like to share.
Are you fairly new to photography? Does this post resonate with you? Would you like to see more photographers showing us how they started? Let us know in the comments!
You can find Bex here: