A love of art started for me at an early age. As a child, I remember telling people I wanted to be an "artist" when I grew up. I loved creating. The highlight of every elementary school field trip was the excitement of taking my camera and a roll of film with me. There was magic in pushing a button 24 times to capture bits of what I was seeing. When we had the film developed, most were blurry unidentifiable animals at the zoo, but I never remember feeling disappointed. There was only joy reliving the day through the photos.
Most people have horrid memories of middle school, but I remember learning how to draw in perspective, learning what a color wheel was, and etching glass in art class. I remember my parents letting me draw an M.C. Escher painting on my wall. I had idols, but they were Salvador Dali, Ansel Adams, and Monet. I may have missed out on the New Kids on the Block and all of the Star Wars movies, but I could and still can give a pretty good lesson in art history.
High School opened a new variety of art classes and I don't believe a single one slipped by me. Learning "style" and having creative freedom on projects deepened my appreciation of art as we'll as helped me develop my technical skills. I took my first photography class and learned the makeup of a camera, I learned to develop film and make enlargements in a darkroom, and I learned to create art through photos.
Unfortunately, around this time, I also felt society pushing "art" as a profession out of my vision. I have a love of teaching, that runs almost as deep as my love of art, and so I felt choosing the profession of education was a safer bet. I applied for, and was accepted in the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program which provided a scholarship for me to attend the University of North Carolina at Asheville to become an educator. UNCA has a unique system were I could major in anything and earn a teaching license as well, so I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and added a K-5 Teaching License for Elementary Education. I considered becoming a licensed K-12 art teacher, but the budget for art in education was declining and art teachers were having a hard time finding a job. Many art teachers were teaching at 2, 3 or even 4 schools throughout one school year. I decided that the risk wasn't as great if I did a general K-5 licensure. Having essentially a double major, my course load per semester was heavy. Still needing a creative outlet, most semesters I met with my college advisor for him to approve and sign off that it was ok for me to take more than 20 hours during the semester so I could add in art electives to my already full schedule.
I graduated and worked in the Alamance Burlington School System for 5 years. After a couple of years in education, I earned a new job title; Mom. Once my son was about a year old, I decided it was time to upgrade my point and shoot camera and get something nicer to capture how quickly he was growing. I invested in several books to learn my specific camera as well as some digital photography and Lightroom and Photoshop books. A lot had changed in the photography world since my days in the darkroom and I needed some time to catch up. Like any new skill, it took a lot of practice and a lot of learning. I made friends who were photographers who helped a long the way and nothing could beat the lessons I learned through photography workshops and conferences. I was investing in my future and with the birth of my second child, I decided to go full time into photography.
I could spend a lot of time talking about the eight years I have spent as a professional photographer but let's fast forwarding to 2015. I decide to marry my two passions and began teaching a beginner's photography class once we had opened our first studio. This class brings me so much joy because not only do I get to educate others like I once did in the classroom, I get to see individuals much like myself when I first picked up my camera. The joy of photography and creating is there even though you might not have all of the technical skills yet. We start from the very basics of using composition and the elements and principals of design while in the automatic modes, and progress all of the way to shooting in full manual. I hope you can join us for our next class!
Photography Essentials: A Beginner DSLR Instructional Course
Camera Modes - Portrait, Macro, Landscape, Sports, Night
Settings for Automatic Modes - Drive Modes, JPEG vs. RAW, Auto vs. Manual Focus
Composition - Vertical vs. Horizontal, Perspective, Cropping, Rule of Thirds
Elements of Design
Principles of Design
Choosing Camera Settings - ISO, White Balance, Metering, Exposure, Style