I wanna share with you my story on how I got started in photography. I hope you find it both inspiring and entertaining.
The (Happy) Accident
Before this happy accident happened, I viewed photography only as a mean to record memories of family vacation and silly things that my siblings, nieces and nephews do. I never think of photography in an “artsy fartsy” term.
It all began on the fall of 2004 when I was studying in Berkeley, California. I was there to get my engineering degree and like most hungry students, I needed to generate some extra cash.
The only quick way to earn extra money that I know of (besides selling drugs or my kidney) is selling my personal, unused items on eBay.
I did some eBay research on the best selling items and started to notice something: the bestselling items always have great pictures!
I’m talking about that sharp image, even lighting and clean white background. Being an Engineering student, I came up with this equation:
Better Photos = More Money = Happy Student
I know it sounded so strange and bizarre, but that’s how my photography journey began.
So, I began my quest searching for the best way to take better photos for my eBay auction. I managed to Google some good photography tips but interestingly enough, I found the ultimate solution on eBay itself. Here is the ultimate solution:
I found an eBay seller by the name of bestlightstudio, who was selling a photo box that is guaranteed to make my eBay pictures much better. I immediately bought it and he shipped it next day.
The light box came with a set of instruction manuals on the camera settings. It shows you, step by step on how to set your camera’s custom White Balance, Focus Point, Exposure and item positioning. It also explained how and why you should use a tripod for product photography.
I followed that instruction to the T and that was the beginning of my Photography 101 crash course.
It was kind of frustrating at first to go inside your camera menu and customizing things if you’ve always set your camera on Auto mode like I do. I spent a whole day playing with the light box and my camera to get the picture that I wanted.
During the process, I got fascinated with the whole photo taking process. I loved to see the intricacies and the complexity of the camera that I’ve never noticed before!
I spent nearly 4 hours on my photography experiment and here’s the photo for my “L@@K! BRAND NEW Motorola Bluetooth Headset!” eBay listing:
Not bad for a photography beginner, eh? Even now, I’m still loving this soft and silky lighting look!
I was very satisfied with the picture result that I got from that lightbox. Needless to say, I used my newfound photography skill and my lightbox over and over again and sales dramatically increased.
By using better photos, I was able to charge more for the same item. If you don’t trust me, you can try this for yourself. Don’t use stock photo. Use a photo that you personally took of the item and people will respond more.
In the end, the that I made money was pretty good but that’s not the primary reason why I stick with photography up till now.
As I took more and more picture for my eBay auctions, I started to get curious and wanted learn more on the creative aspect of photography.
“If I can make a product looks good on photo, I should be able to take good photos of everything else…” that’s my thought at that moment.
I began purchasing A LOT of photography books and started to take photography seriously. The first book that I bought was Bryan Peterson’s book, Understanding Exposure. I was so into learning photography that I managed to read 10 photography books in a one month. I’ve always been a self learner and that’s how I educate myself in photography.
Where I Am Now With Photography
To my surprise and beyond my wildest dream, I’ve been awarded several international awards, notably by Nikon and Sony. Passion, training and experience do really pays off in the end. However, to be honest, I’m still not a full time photographer and I don’t plan to be one.
I have both an offline (a.k.a REAL) job and an online job (this site) that can fully support my photography hobby. In fact, this is how I make many photographers jealous of my cool toys.
That flexibility and fund gives me room to try different fields of photography. It allowed me to grow from product to travel photographer.
Why travel photography? Well, I just love to shoot what moves me. I don’t like to specialize in one particular subject nor do I enjoy being told what to shoot. And since I don’t make a full time living out of photography, I have this privilege.
Passion in Travel Photography
Nowadays, I find myself doing travel photography more often because it combines every aspect of photography and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a jack of all trade kind of guy. With travel you can’t really choose to shoot a group of people or a person, a flower or a wide vista of landscape – you just have to move, shoot what moves you and shoot them well.
Sunset at Dreamland Beach, Bali Island. Click Here to Order a Limited Edition Print of This Photo.
In addition, I love traveling, making new friends and learning about new culture. I see them as my personal calling and my personal journey. Those things have allowed me to learn more about photography and myself.
My camera and photography knowledge is like my magic carpet. It took me to places that I’ve never been to so that I can learn and experience more. I use it to unleash my creative thinking and that really helps me to escape from the drudgery of work and ordinary life.
Life in Sasak Village, Lombok Island. Click Here to Order a Limited Edition Print of This Photo.
The feeling when you get when you prepare your camera and gears for your next adventure is always a thrill to enjoy.
I always find it amazing to look back and see what kind of knowledge in other areas that photography has given me.
I learned about people, relationship, culture, travel, art and technology just from this small black box.
To me, the journey of photography and vision are very rewarding. Photography is my lifelong hobby and will always be an important aspect of my life.
On The Creation of PhotoSeis
I believe sharing and showing your work is an important aspect of photography. The photography community is built on sharing.
As a photographer we can inspire others with our photographs and get inspiration from others’s photos as well. That’s how we can keep the burning passion going.
I’ve been inspired by many people in my photography journey and I wanted to do the same to you. I want to share my photographs and passion with you.
Here you can learn from my discovery, successes and failures. Consider this site as a free pass to my photography lab. You’ll see my photos, my techniques, my gear recommendations and many more. Most of the information on this site will be free, but feel free to check out some of the paid courses that I offer if you’d like to speed up your learning process in photography.
You can also support this site with other means if you wish. Your help is greatly appreciated.
At last, I want to thank you for your patience and for reading this long winded story on how I got started in photography.
Keep learning, keep shooting and keep sharing. And don’t forget to HAVE FUN and love what you do.