21 May Looking Back: A Photography Evolution
When I first quit my job in the health care industry (and subsequently the health industry in general) to be an editorial intern at Brit + Co, it was because I knew I was passionate about food. One of those “live to eat” kinda gals, you know? I loved cooking, baking, reading and writing about food. I loved photographing it too, but it wasn’t my passion. It was there that I first dipped my toe into photography, styling, and writing a whole recipe. It was tough– to go from not doing any of that, to doing it all as one person for all of the internet to see. It was definitely a learning process. After Brit + Co, I started to think more and more about how I was photographing and how all the elements of a perfect food photo work together, rather than just making sure the food looked good. It was at this time that I started to realize… Hmm.. maybe I should think about the time of day I’m shooting at. Or maybe change the aperture. How would changing the shutter speed make this photo look better?
My very first post for Brit + Co, circa 2012
Then, I started to shoot manually. Pinterest started to blow up and I was looking at #foodporn all day long. I thought to myself, “How do I create amazing food photos like these myself? How do I get those soft tones, or depth of field?” I think this is where a pastime became a full blown passion.
One of my favorite posts for Sugar & Cloth, circa 2013
As I investigated more and more into photography to try and emulate the looks I wanted to replicate, the more I realized I had so much to learn. And still do, as a matter of fact. Fortunately, my food photography improved. I was constantly practicing, and it helped that I was lucky enough to contribute to blogs, which in a way, forced me to keep practicing.
Donuts, one of my favorite photos from last year, circa 2014
After this, I also began to shoot homes, which challenged me in a new way. Wide angles, small spaces, it was a little daunting at first but helped me develop my skills.
I also forayed into product photography.
Stylized product photography (the headers), circa May 2014
Then… Instagram. As I got more into the world of Instagram, I began to develop a love for beautiful portraits and fine art wedding photography. It’s kind of mind blowing how much talent there is on Instagram, and just how easy it is to find amazing photography.
First foray into portraits, circa March 2009
And why fine art wedding photography? Well, reading the blogs I do, it was inevitable that I began to see a lot of editorial wedding and fashion photography. I stumbled upon the portfolio of Jose Villa, who shoots solely in film— whose photos are literally to die for. And so, I turned my efforts into portraiture. I forced my friends to be my models, and serendipitously got a gig shooting engagement photos for Jenny.
Mylinh, circa December 2013
And I’ve been practicing a lot ever since. I recently went to Tahoe where one of the main purposes was to shoot portraits. As I edited them today, it was at that point that I’ve realized how far I’ve come, and how much further I have to go. While oftentimes I always think my photography can always be better, better, better, I try to stop and think about the journey that I took here and what the future holds in store for me. And it’s always encouraging to see your progress laid out so clearly for you.
Engagement shoot, circa October 2014
So in a way, this post is for myself as much as it is for you. It’s to remind everyone that you have to start somewhere, and always keep practicing. And it’s to remind myself when I think about how this photo just isn’t quite what I’m looking for, or when I start to compare myself to others, to remember that I’m on my own photography path. That I will get where I want to be eventually. That this is how I can learn and make my way to where I want to be.
Tahoe photo session, circa May 2015.
And on that note… I am teaming up with Jenny from I Forgot It’s Wednesday to teach a Food Photography & Styling Workshop. It is for all levels, especially those who are looking up to step up their food photography game. Get your tickets here or read more about it here.
If you’d like to see my whole photography evolution, check out Flickr!