When I was in my mid 20’s I joined a local photography group in hopes of really honing my camera skills. And what better way to hone your skills than to join a photography group that had hobbyists who’ve been shooting for 10+ years. Every month our group would meet. We would shoot subjects on-location or sit in class and learn the in’s and out’s of photoshop. Every month I walked away a better photographer because I learned something.
After only four months in, our next group meet-up was to shoot a female senior portrait session. I was super excited because portrait photography is what I truly enjoyed and wanted as many opportunities as I could to better my skills.
I arrived on location the day of the shoot. Photographer’s brought in their fancy lighting systems, big cameras and lenses while I walked in with my tiny Nikon D40 and a 50mm lens. They placed the model along a red wall. I remember only taking a few shots of her along because I just didn’t like the color is was placing on her skin. And red just wasn’t flattering to be honest. So I patiently waited and watched while everyone took their turn photographing our model. When everyone seemed to have had their turn, I took the opportunity to ask our model if would mind stepping outside while I took a few shots with her. I posed her a few different ways and really focused on using the beautiful natural light.
When the shoot ended I was so excited to go home and view the images I took on my computer. Instructions were given to all the group members that we were to submit 10 of our very best images from the session and then the senior was to choose her favorite 10 images and it was to be announced which images she chose at our next group meeting. I submitted my images to the group just days after the session and I was super proud of the photos I had taken.
I was so humbled and over the top happy because the model chose one of my images. I have never been given credit for anything photography related in the past. So, I was ECSTATIC!
Fast forward a couple weeks later, I received an email from the group’s president. His email implied that he was disappointed in me because I wasn’t a team player. You see, that senior session our group photographed — well, they were shooting her inside a winery along a red wall. I took three shots with my camera and that’s it. I did not like that red wall — AT ALL! When everyone was done, I asked the model if she would mind stepping outside so I could take some photos of her in the beautiful natural light. I was accused of not being a team player because I took my artistic vision to create something different from what everyone else was doing. His accusation crushed me.
I later learned that our model picked all ten of my images but the president of the club said she couldn’t do that and she needed to recognize the other photographer’s portraits. After that, I felt all alone in the world of photography. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have any fans that were photographers themselves to cheer me on.
Today I’m reminding myself to never be afraid to try something new. Don’t worry about the naysayers. And HIGH-FIVE your friends for their success. Be happy for others.
Do what you love and what you’ve been created to do!