I’ve never regretted my decision to become a photographer. I love the places it has taken me and the people I’ve gotten to meet. As a beginner there were many questions I had that almost convinced me to go down another career path. Thankfully there were people around me who guided me as I began and helped me get over my fears.
Most notably, my big questions were:
1) I can’t afford expensive gear. Does that mean I can’t produce good images?
I began my professional career at the age of 17 years old. I had little to no money at best and could only afford to buy the cheapest gear available. I always told myself, “When I get better gear, my images will get better.” But now, years later, I’ve learnt that it’s not the gear that makes the photographer, but how they use the gear they have. I used my first camera for over 8 years and only recently switched to a more professional camera.
Yes the new camera allows me to do more, but the old one never stopped me from producing quality images.
Images shot with my old camera (left) and my new one (right).
2) How do I make my images super sharp?
It took me a while to figure this one out. I’d always dreamt of using the biggest lenses available until, due to the reality of monetary constraints, I discovered the 50mm f1.8 lens. With this lens I was suddenly able to get super sharp images. Sharper than what I was getting with the bigger (dare I say cooler) zoom lenses. Discovering the 50mm completely changed my shooting and now I use prime lenses about 80% of the time.
My dream lens then vs. my dream lens now. Clearly things have changed a lot.
3) How do I pose people?
I remember when I began shooting I’d save different poses on my phone to look at during my shoots because I had no idea what to do with my models. If it was a couple I was even more panicked about getting poses that didn’t look so awkward.
From some of the messages I’ve gotten, I know I’m not the only one who struggled with this:
Over time I’ve learnt that engaging with your subject is one of the easiest ways to pose them. The act of talking to them and making them comfortable allows them to instantly look more natural and therefore better in your pictures. Whether I’m shooting a CEO, model or couple I always take a few minutes to introduce myself and establish a rapport before we begin shooting.
4) How do I shoot in dark situations?
The first time I was hired to shoot a nighttime event I produced two kinds of images:
a) images that were bright enough but everything was blurred.
b) images that were in sharp focus but dark.
After that experience I was too afraid to take on any other night jobs.
Over time and much consulting I learnt that a good flash, an aperture of f2.8 or less and increasing my ISO would produce well exposed, sharp images that I’d be proud to share with my clients.
Do you have more questions that you’ve always wanted to ask? As you begin your own photography journey Mutua Matheka and I will be at Nyayo Stadium with Blaze this Friday to give you practical demonstrations on lighting as well as answer the questions you have to help you grow as a photographer. But we’re also there to have loads of fun creating beautiful images with you 🙂
Get your ticket today.