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The process of photography

Aug 27, 2021 12:40 PM

Photo Essays

I didn’t grow up with a camera in my hand, or being much of an artist at all. Honestly, photography came to me by luck. I got bored during rowing practice one day and decided to take some pictures with my phone. Now, they weren’t the best ± even far from good — but I fell in love with the art. I finally found a way I could show people how I saw the world and express myself. I began to teach myself all the basics of photography and was lucky enough to get an actual camera. Did I know how to use it? No, not at all, but I learned.

Many people think that photography is very easy. I mean, it is just looking at something and taking a picture. This is not the truth, though. There is a lot that goes into getting the final photo you want. This photo is one of the earliest photos of mine that I could find. It’s from 2018 in New York City. I barely knew how to use a camera and used free editing apps on my phone (which I clearly didn’t know how to use). This photo isn’t even lined up straight or centered, and the quality is terrible from over-editing. I have come a long way from this 2018 photo.

Almost four years later, I have learned so much about photography. Some on my own, but mostly from my photography mentor Mary. I met Mary through my job at Artists for Humanity, and she has taught me everything I know. I now have a common routine when it comes to taking photos. I start by planing the photo. This might sound weird, but when I look at a location or something I want to take a photo of, I can visualize it in my head. I write it all out and sometimes try to draw it out so I know exactly how to take the photo. This has honestly helped me save so much time.

Almost four years later, I have learned so much about photography. Some on my own, but mostly from my photography mentor Mary. I met Mary through my job at Artists for Humanity, and she has taught me everything I know. I now have a common routine when it comes to taking photos. I start by planing the photo. This might sound weird, but when I look at a location or something I want to take a photo of, I can visualize it in my head. I write it all out and sometimes try to draw it out so I know exactly how to take the photo. This has honestly helped me save so much time.

Once all the photos are taken, next comes the worst part, in my opinion — editing. In just one shoot, I can take up to 500-600 photos. This includes different angles, different settings, etc., which is something that I learned how to do as I progressed in my photography. There are two parts to editing; the first is sorting, when you upload all your photos to the computer and into Adobe Lightroom (a photo editing application). You can compare each photo in Lightroom to the other to find the best one. You can reject the photos you don’t want, and, obviously, you can do advanced editing to your photos.

After about half an hour of looking through almost 500 photos, checking to see which ones are in focus and have good lighting, and much more, I usually end up with around 70-150 good photos. Next comes actually editing. Not every edit is the same, and that is why it takes such a long time. Each photo has to be edited in a specific way for it to look good. In some photos, it could be something very simple like just bringing up the exposure to make the photo brighter. In others, you need to do color-correcting, skin tone correcting, or even sometimes some warping of the photo.

Organization is something very important for photography. It makes everything much easier to find, and you don’t just have one big folder of photos. I had to learn this the hard way when I once accidentally permanently deleted the wrong photos because they weren’t organized properly. After I am done editing, I export my photos and then rename them. I do this by putting all the photos into the Name Changer app. The way I name my files is with the date they were taken and then my first initial and last name (ex: 102021_NGONZALES). Once all the photos are renamed, I put them into a folder with the same date as the photos.

After a total of up to four hours of sorting, editing, name changing, and organizing, my photos are finally done. Depending on what the shoot was, I either send my photos to the clients, publish them on my website, or maybe just make a simple Instagram post.

Like I said, my photography has come a long way from those first few photos I took on my phone. But I still don’t know everything, so I have the chance to grow even more. Now I understand why it takes so long to get a photo done because I’m the one who has to go through the whole process. Even though I hate editing with a passion, I would never give up on doing photography. You can see the world through a completely different lens when you take a photo, and that’s just beautiful.