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  • willjamesguitarstu

How to get started as a portrait photographer

About five years ago, my life had completely changed. For many years, I had been playing music and been in and out of bands throughout my youth and young adult years. I had a real passion for what I thought was going to eventually turn into a music career at one point.

Needless to say, my musical endeavors never took off quite like I hoped. It was in that moment, I decided I would pick up a camera and start a YouTube channel to give song lessons and guitar tutorials. Once again, I was not seeing the type of success I was hoping to see.

One day, I decided to get in contact with a photogenic friend of mine and decided to go to my downtown area here in Pensacola, FL. I was having a lot of fun taking random pictures and when I got home and posted them online for friends to see, I got an unexpected response. Many people were telling me that I had "the eye" for photography and were amazed that I had just gotten started with using a camera.

After devoting many hours to researching camera equipment, watching tutorials and practicing my lighting, editing, and camera angles; I was ready to begin taking this hobby to a more serious level and make money at it.

I would find friends, family members, anyone who wanted to be in front of my camera so I could hone and polish my skills. Constantly pushing myself and becoming better with every practice shoot.

I say all of this to encourage you all and tell you that if you have a passion for something and feel that you have a knack for it, it's worth giving it a try.

The camera I started out this journey on was an entry level Canon camera called the Canon Rebel T6i. I was amazed by it even for being an entry level camera. A buddy of mine recommended I start with a 50mm 1.8 lens for portraits and that it was a great all around lens for the money(approximately $125). For an investment under a $1000 dollars I was off to create some art work that I could be proud of.

When you are learning, don't feel like you need the greatest equipment. I let my passion for photography lead me to buy many books on the subject and learn about how composition, lighting, and editing works. How to pose a model the best way to make them look the most attractive and flattering. There is a magic to photography in that you can make someone realize the individual aesthetic they provide for the world. The subject is able to see themselves in a favorable light and be more powerful and confident than they could have ever realized.

I also wanted to bring up some great educational resources such as Skillshare and many other subscription programs you can enroll in to learn the basics. YouTube was also a God send and I was able to follow many photography channels that helped me to accelerate my abilities more rapidly than I would have ever been able to do by myself.

My best advice is to find a camera you like, find some artists who inspire you and get out and shoot whether it be a person or a beautiful sunset its all about what you want to create. If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to me via . I would love to answer any questions you might have and send you off in the best direction to start your journey into the world of photography.


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