Becoming a Real Photographer

I’m a photographer, that is not a secret to anyone. I have social media accounts for my photography business, I post pictures I have taken, I often talk about ideas I have for photography projects, I work at an equipment checkout facility where I deal with photography equipment almost every day, I go to school and take photography classes… my life is full of photography in all of its various aspects.

Well, sort of.

It’s funny to think, that if someone were to spend a full week with me, go to school and work with me, take part in my social events, see me while I’m at home, follow me wherever I go, and know nothing about me… they might not consider me to be a real photographer. They’d see me studying photography, working with the equipment at my job, sure. But actually taking pictures? It might happen the last day of the week for a project that’s coming due.

It’s a terrible thing to admit.

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I promise, I do actually take pictures!

My problem is, I’m a timid photographer. It’s not that I don’t like taking pictures, or that I’m lazy about it, or I have no time, etc. But I’m nowhere near being considered a paparazzi. I tend to avoid taking my camera anywhere because I’m afraid it will freak people out. If I do take my camera to events I try to blend in and stay hidden instead of coming right out and letting people know I’m taking pictures. I try to stay out of the way and out of sight, which is hard to do when you’re trying to get a specific angle or lighting.

I’ve been at plenty of events or even just out and about on the town where I see photographers casually taking pictures of anything and everything. They usually don’t try to hide, they don’t seem to be worried about what people think about them taking pictures… and they get their shots, specific angle or lighting and all.

One of my goals as a photographer is to become more active in photography. Even if I’m not taking pictures at events, I want to take my camera out more, become the person who “looks” like a photographer. Perhaps I’ll gain more business that way, I’ll definitely build a better portfolio. When I went to New York, I let myself become a tourist, taking pictures of everything I could, and I think maybe I should consider that to be a normal characteristic of mine.

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Some of the wonderful equipment I get to work with.

I think it’s my last step into belonging into the “world” of photography. When I first started in the photo program at my school, it was hard for me to feel like I truly belonged in the world of photography. I just wasn’t at the same level as so many of the students around me, but I learned. I definitely think that changing my “photographer personality” is the last thing I need to do to feel truly a part of it all.

Not that the learning will ever stop, of course.

Photographers, what’s some advice you would give someone diving into the world as a photographer? How do you keep your camera out and your images flowing?

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