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Journey To Becoming A Professional Photographer

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By Gail Bunning of Gail Anne Photography

Becoming a professional photographer has been one of the most difficult, most challenging and most rewarding paths in my life. I always knew that I wanted to take photos. Even as a child I had this fascination with how film and that little box worked. How it saw images different then my eye but more like my heart.

I blossomed into a “photographer” as an adult really. I can say it was right around when my first child was born. The inexpensive camera given to my husband and I served a great purpose as I snapped a million and one photos of this tiny creature we’d created. I started with the average snap shot and slowly moved to draping fabric across my living room. All a mess at the time, I cherish these photos as if the most professional and well known photographer had taken them.

devlynnbaby1 Journey To Becoming A Professional Photographer Guest Bloggers Photography Tips

I saved money, clipped coupons, taking her to Olan Mills and JCPenney’s, hoping for that perfect and beautiful shot of her perfect and beautiful smile and when her brother came along, I started all over again only this time I realized that no one could know them and capture them like I could and that started it off, this journey of photography.

I bought my first DSLR camera with 500.00 that I made designing for a church a million miles away. I met the man with the canvas bag in a coffee shop a half an hour away. I held that camera in my hands and just knew this was my calling. 500.00 opened up this huge, new world for me.

027sm Journey To Becoming A Professional Photographer Guest Bloggers Photography Tips

I read and learned and snapped. I joined a photography board. I decided to go pro. Decided. Such a funny word. I was no way ready to charge anyone for anything but I just knew that I needed to get these photos out. I wanted to share and snap. I was so excited. I was a photographer.

I upgraded that camera a year or so later. To something more professional. I’d “shot” families and babies and births. Examining each photo, editing, learning, absorbing. A few years later, another camera, more glass, more classes, more actions and more about the business. But what I forgot is that becoming, being a photographer doesn’t mean you shoot for money. You don’t become a photographer to make a million dollars, you become a photographer to capture moments in time. The income is just a job perk.

067sm Journey To Becoming A Professional Photographer Guest Bloggers Photography Tips

While I was capturing everyone else. Each event, each smile, each newborn, I missed photos of my own memories. Constantly worrying about light and marketing, I’d forgotten why I started this journey. To capture my life. The ups and downs of it. I was spending so much time coming up with a brand, an entire year passed by and all I had was portraits, perfect photos and not down and dirty kids in the mud. My oldest is ten and I am not sure there are ten photos of she and I together. I was so busy worrying about the perfect photo that I’d forgotten to hand the camera over and capture the moments with me in them.

I got lost in the photography.

093sm Journey To Becoming A Professional Photographer Guest Bloggers Photography Tips

Now I try and remember to capture the bed heads, the smiles and the tears and while there are still experiments in backdrops and lighting, I take their photos in full sun and leave the perfect to my clients. Okay, that’s not all true, sometimes they get imperfect because I want them to remember their families like I remember mine, perfectly imperfect, emotionally focused… a family, plain and simple. There is a time and a place for that perfect pose but I encourage you to remember to take pictures and not just portraits. They’re just as important. It’s the pictures that tell the stories of our lives. When your children have grown and moved out and your spouse’s looks fade into age, you’ll want to look back and see what once was. Photos capture the memories our heads can’t hold onto but I hearts long for. Remember to take pictures, even if they’re not perfect now, someday they will be.

This post was written by Gail Bunning of Gail Anne Photography. Gail is the mom to three plus one naughty beagle. She’s tattooed and changes her hair a lot. She loves her job, a lot. She loves people, and she loves watching families grow. Gail has a minor craft addiction and may or may not be utterly addicted to Facebook. Photography makes her happy, it’s her fire.

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  1. alice on September 30, 2011 at 11:37 am

    jodi – i’m trying to get a handle on all this. can i use your action sets with lightroom? or does it come with its own?

    • Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions on September 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      Lightroom uses presets. Photoshop and Elements use actions.Adobe Camera Raw can use presets too (but these are for CS versions not Elements versions). Does that help explain it?

  2. Libby on September 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Gorgeous! These are going on my wish list!

  3. Carla on September 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I would love to see the rest of the costume on the second set of shots. It looks really cute!

  4. Lexi on October 1, 2011 at 3:20 am

    For the top image, I like Marco Polo. For the bottom, it’s hard to choose. Great image! I still like the warmth in Marco Polo, but the Waffle Bowl looks really nice in b/w. Really, they all look great. Does this count as a quick entry?

  5. Lexi on October 1, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Sorry, I meant to say I like the warmth of Tic Tac Toe the best.

  6. canadacole on October 1, 2011 at 8:56 am

    They’re all gorgeous! In the top photo I love both Marco Polo and Plain Ole Paper Cup, Lemon Gelato. So smooth and creamy! The second one is trickier, but I think it’s a toss up between Marco Polo again and fortunate–which is the way I’m feeling now that you’re doing Presets! 🙂

  7. Misty on October 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I’m very excited about this contest Jodi, I’m teaching myself Lightroom right now and I am in LOVE with it! I’ve been using PE9 with your Fusion sets, along with Eye/Dentist and Skin. Love them. So I’m super looking forward to your LR presets!!!

  8. Kas on October 3, 2011 at 12:21 am

    I’m just so tickled you’re jumping on the Lightroom bandwagon! I’ve been dying to see what someone who is such a pro in PS can do in LR.Love waffle bowl!

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