Nice to meet you!
First, let me introduce myself; my name is Elena Sullivan. I am a photographer and creative adventurer. I believe that great photos can motivate, inspire and make you happier by helping you to appreciate the simple beauty of life.
My journey in photography started with a simple, compact digital camera Nikon. It was super easy to use, and because of its size, I carried it everywhere. Back then, mobile phones looked completely different and didn’t have cameras. So, I was using my small Nikon camera to take photos.
I didn’t have money to buy a professional camera, and until I proved to myself that I was really interested in photography and this interest was genuine I didn’t want to use my credit to do that.
I couldn’t afford to buy a book about photography or how to start in photography, so I borrowed one from one of my friend’s friends. It took me several months to read it from beginning to end. I took many notes on my days off, and I was walking around the city, applying information from my notes in action, learning to see my surrounding with creative eyes, and taking photos. Eventually a year after, I used my credit card and bought my first professional camera. That was how my journey in photography took off.
2013 was my year of a big adventure. With one way ticket, one red suitcase, one camera, and laptop, and only 3000 dollars in my bank account, I flew halfway around the world to a country I’d never been to before, didn’t know the local language, and stayed there for nine years, built my photography business and learned a third language. That country is Mexico, and the city I lived in is Cancun. There, my photography career grew tremendously; I was published it’s The New York Times, took photos of one of the European Royal Family, and 4-x time Emmy Award producer Christina Cindrich when swimming with whale sharks. Photography helped me to expand my life’s horizons, elevate my confidence, meet interesting people, and become happier. And all that started with a simple, compact camera.
How to start in photography?
You can start your journey in photography at any point in your life and with what you have at your disposal now. Even with a mobile phone. Because the essence of photography starts with feeling life, seeing, and understanding the light. You can start practicing with a simple, compact camera or iPhone. You don’t have to buy books; you can find many great books in a library. You can practice anytime you want just by stepping outside your house into the beautiful world that is full of inspiration.
The first camera was invented in 1816 by Frenchman Joseph Nicephore Niepce, and it looked like this. Since then, the camera has undergone a dynamic evolution process; nowadays, even our phones have cameras.
Thanks to this evolution of photo equipment, you can start in photography and in the art of seeing the world with a simple phone camera. The camera on your phone is a magic ticket that allows you to start that journey. Photography is an art; like any other type of art, it’s a journey for those who love to create, experiment and explore life. One way an interest in photography starts is when one feels an internal calling to express oneself with some visual tools. And the camera is one such tool. As an experienced photographer, I can tell sometimes a phone camera is enough to capture a moment that got your attention for some reason or another. And do it in a very artistic manner. Let me show an example of some photos I took with my iPhone.
Those photos I took on a regular day when I was in busy mode, getting ready to work or done working, but they were part of a lifestyle moment. By this, I mean they were part of my day flow. They were neither planned nor anticipated. The way it happened is that, I noticed something interesting around me and took a photo with my iPhone.
You don't need a fancy surroundings to become a photographer.
You don’t need fancy surrounding to start in photography, start practicing seeing, noticing, and taking photos. It’s certainly good if you live in a visually diverse area and neighborhood, but often times moments and light worth capturing are right in front of us at home.
A photographer’s journey begins by learning to see the light,
which is the essence of photography.
There is a clear distinction between professional photography and iPhone photography. And one of professional photography’s characteristics are technical knowledge and understanding of the rules of composition and using a professional equipment. But the essence of photography starts with seeing the world with eyes wide open and noticing tiny details, something that others might miss, like in macro photography.
The art of photography begins with a desire to communicate and express your vision of the world. It’s an intentional and conscious process. When you hold a camera, you activate the intrinsic locator that guides you toward a scene or objects you need to capture. That search itself is more intuitive, but the moment of framing and capturing is more technical. Let me give you an example; imagine you are at the beach; on one side, there is a beautiful turquoise sea,
and on the other, a line of palm trees with bars and hotels in the background.
Then you have a couple who is waiting for your instructions on how to pose and where to go. You turn around a couple of times, inhaling salty air, viewing the surroundings, and admiring the beautiful evening light. And then something got your attention, something that looks pleasing to your eye. You take several steps forward and pull out the camera. You were guided towards that spot; you didn’t doubt your movements; it happened naturally. There was something special about how the waves ran forward and covered the shoreline, super soft sunset light glimpsing throughout the fluffy clouds. You ask the couple to step in the water.
And now, to capture what you see, you have to frame it, which means you have to choose the right focal length, find the right inclination of the lens, adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and wait for the right moment. And you capture this beautiful moment of pure, peaceful happiness. Again, your intuition guided you in the right direction, and the technical knowledge helped you to frame something that mesmerized you at that moment.
Talking about these particular beach photos, it wasn’t a random shot; I trusted my inner feeling and intentionally captured that particular scene. It was a feeling that guided my vision; I felt something special about that scene and decided to capture it. So, first, you see and feel emotion looking at some particular scene, and only then you mentally frame it and take a photo. That’s one way to take meaningful photos, conveying emotion, mood, light, and spirit of the moment. You see it, feel it, and frame it.
You see it, feel it, and frame it.
A random image is a result of fast snap-shooting. It usually takes seconds to take a random image. It’s just taking a photo without consideration of composition rules, light, and other technical and creative aspects of photography. In a split second, you have a digital image.
A meaningful photo takes time to frame when you analyze the nearest surrounding, the light, the background, and other mood elements. As a result, that photo can win a right to be called the photo that tells a story, a great photo.
If you want to become a photographer and later start a photography business, you have to work on developing a vision in other words, learn to see and feel the world around you. Noticing little detail of a present moment helps refine attunement with life, which is essential to a good photographer, feeling life and seeing the world with eyes wide open.
One of the main goals of my photography blog is to help you in developing a vision for a good photo, trusting your feelings in search of the right moment, and framing it using technical knowledge of photography.
It’s about your emotional response to a scene; it’s about how you see, feel, and perceive a certain moment in time, which adds uniqueness to a photo. There is no one like you; you are unique; your body, your hair, your eyes, all that is unique. Your story is unique. Your experiences are unique. And all that will be reflected in the photos you take and ultimately will become part of your photography style.