"BTW, how did you get into photography?" That's a question I've been hearing more and more lately. I confess that sometimes it's challenging to keep repeating the same story over and over again. But I always realize that maybe I can inspire others in some way through my journey. And I also remember my photographic beginnings when I was constantly looking around for similar inspiration.
It all started when I was a young boy. Ever since I was a kid, I would often run around with that Olympus compact camera trying to take some interesting pictures. Looking back, I have to say that I didn't break through in the world with any photo taken in my childhood, but I can definitely consider this period as a kind of birth of my photographic passion.
Humble garage beginnings
I also discovered the power of Photoshop quite early on. Back in 2007, when I was about eight years old, I installed Adobe Photoshop on my Windows XP family computer. It was perhaps some sort of version 7 (yet we'll leave out the information about how I got this program, as I'd like to keep my criminal record clean). And I fondly remember borrowing the book Photoshop Basics from the library and trying to swap people's heads in some photos. As I look back, I realize that my photography beginnings were about as funny and punk as when Bill Gates and Paul Allen started building Microsoft in their garage.
One of my biggest breakthroughs came in the summer of 2015. Back then, Martin, a fresh high school student, bought his first DSLR camera. At that time it was a Nikon D3200 and as a true beginner I mainly used a kit lens and didn't edit my photos. But over time I realized that buying a nifty-fifty 50 mm lens would be inevitable and that I would have to learn to use at least basic photo editing. The hours of watching YouTube tutorials and putting them into practice taught me many things, which also led to the fact that people around me started noticing that I was walking around with my camera more and more often.
From free wine bottles to freelance
After graduation, in 2018, I went to Austria to work in a hotel for two months. It was an extremely hard job. I spent the whole summer practically just washing dishes in the kitchen and doing some prep-work. At that time, however, I made a very good amount of money, and I could think of nothing better than to get a professional camera. I wanted nothing more but to step into the photography business. The Panasonic Lumix GH5 didn't turn me into a photographer right away, but it certainly moved me further towards my goal of making a living at photography. And even though I replaced the mentioned camera after a year with the Sony A7iii (which I still use till now), buying the Panasonic was a kind of a second turning point in my photography journey.
In the autumn of 2019 I bought the aforementioned Sony A7iii, and this is the point from which I am starting to consider myself a professional photographer. The paid assignments started to pile up (and stopped being rewarded with chocolates or bottles of wine) and soon I was shooting my first wedding. Over two years of covid pandemic, we're getting to 2022, when I'm just a little step away from getting into the photography business on full time basis.
What's coming next?
This is my photographic story in a nutshell. It may look simple, but it has been full of failures and fuckups, obstacles, challenges and uncertainties. Some of them haven't really disappeared to this day, and many similar challenges are definitely yet to come. However, I have learned from many mistakes and have emerged stronger.
Sometimes I feel like I'm still that little boy who used to run around with a camera and try new things. Testing out what would be best, what angle to choose, and what to do to make it not look bad. But I believe that this boy has a bit more experience now and can call himself a professional. And I also believe that this story will have no end and I will always have the opportunity to grow further and further.
And what's your story? I'd be happy if you'd share it with me!