We have a special feature for you today! How do you start out as a photographer? This should be of great interest to someone with a photographic interest and who wants to take it further. So we have asked our photographers the following questions:
1) Why did you become a photographer? What did you like about it, what drew you?
2) Is there any one person that had a big influence on you in this respect?
3) What is your favourite photographic subject (cars, racing, sport, landscapes, nature)?
4) Do you have a word of advice or a tip for somebody on how to start out as a photographer?
And they have come back with some very thought-provoking replies. In fact, they were very eager to talk about their great love of photography. So here is what they had to say:
Annie Proffit, our photographer from the USA
Annie was the first one to reply and thought the questions were easy peasy! So here are her tips on how to start out as a photographer:
1) I began shooting photographs shortly after the love of my life, Ron Hussey passed away in 2000. During his time working with Marlboro Racing News and, subsequently, KOOL’s media news service, Ron needed a sherpa to carry his lenses, extra batteries for the then-new and very heavy DCS400 digital camera from Nikon. I was it – and learned a great deal about composition and light from Ron, who had a degree in photolithography.
2) Obviously Ron Hussey was a great mentor, as were Randy Leffingwell, Dale von Trebra, Pete Biro, Stan Sholik and many others. From them I learned light and composition – the technicalities are my biggest hurdles but I’m learning as I go…
3) I love shooting drag racing because of the challenge. The cars do a burnout, and then go – if you don’t get it the first time, there are no second chances. Capturing a Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock or Pro Stock Motorcycle hurtle to 1,000 feet or to the quarter-mile and getting it right, well, that’s a great challenge. I also love photographing my local area with the iPhone6s… I live in a city next to the Pacific Ocean and there’s always something beautiful to photograph.
4) My advice is to learn by doing rather than always taking classes. Either you’ve got the eye or you don’t and, since pixels are “free”, it’s not a disaster when you make an error anymore…
And by the way, Annie is also a writer. A lady with many talents and a great passion!
Pim van der Veer is our writer from the Netherlands
1) As a kid I drew a lot, using gouache and water paint. In secondary school I scored 9 out of 10 during the whole 5 years. For my final exam I got a Zeiss-Ikon Nettar 6×6 folding camera. In military service there was a photographic Club with a couple of dark rooms. There I acquired the skill of taking pictures according the artistic standards of my former painting. By selling a lot of artillery field outings pictures I earned my first advance for the purchase of my first car: an M.G. TD Midget 1950. This was the beginning of my career in MG Car Club life. Photography has been prominent in further life, such as proper pictures accompanying press releases in my 50+ years of PR consultancy.
2) My uncle Jaap owned a well-known photoshop in the fashionable P.C. Hooftstraat in Amsterdam. He imported Leicas and Minox cameras directly from the manufacturers in Germany. He helped me with all kinds of equipment like classic cameras and a Meopta Magnifax enlarger for 6×9 negatives.
3) Car, racing, sport, club events, pictures mostly as necessary illustration with articles. I love photographing landscapes too. I have some 40 albums with pictures taken during 3-weeks holidays in Scotland and Southern Europe.
4) Get educated by reading books, looking at art photography in museums, and practise – a lot. So that’s Pim’s top tip on ‘How do you start out as a photographer’.
Zoltan Papp, our photographer from Hungary
1) Because my drawing skills are terrific but I always want to share something with others. The photography is the art of the moment, I mean the captured moment – I like movies but can’t imagine myself as a filmmaker. I have very strong interest for the natural history and for the history of art and I think (I hope) all my knowledge is accumulating in my images.
2) There are many, but the most important is Ansel Adams. I’m sure there’s no need to praise his work. Jim Brandenburg also a genius, for me, he is the greatest nature photographer. Last but not least, Péter Korniss – the Hungarian master has such a big and wonderful heart as he can put a small amount to his every single image. His project and book, called „The guest worker”, is probably the best reportage I have ever seen. When I worked as an editor of the ZOOM Magazine, I got a chance to meet Péter, take some portraits of him and finally, make a portfolio article about his work. Since then he always recalls that article as his favorite, so I’m very proud!
3) Cars and nature. In my childhood we were living near to the hillclimb track of Pécs. There were some years when the race counted as part of the European Championship. So I met some great drivers like Mauro Nesti, Walter Pedrazza, Andres Vilarino and others. I started photography in my teens with a cheap Russian compact camera, followed by a still cheap but refined Russian SLR camera. Later I used some Chinon, a dozen type of Pentax, two Contax and now Canon and Olympus system. The nature and wildlife photography is my passion – luckily, my wife is a talented photographer also, so we can share this hobby. We love mountains and birds, our favourites are the nearby Mecsek, the Retezat in Transylvania and the Triglav in Slovenia. Anna’s favourite bird is the White-tailed eagle and the Goldcrest, mine is the Raven and the Kingfisher.
4) Learn a lot about art history! Buy a cheap, simple to use camera and take photos. Then show them to an expert. I got my most important critics from a guy called Zsolt Dékány when I started photography in ernest – he said: „there are few good amongst the mass”. He is my best friend now.
Thank you, Annie, Pim and Zoltan. You have taught us a lot and I am sure that everyone reading this blog will take something away to try out. So be encouraged to give it a go! Now that you know how to start out as a photographer – why not start today?
Compiled by: Elke Smale, and written by: Annie, Pim and Zoltan