There Is a First Time for Everything


First time is always scary! I started shooting analog not too long ago, but I remember the first day I went downtown to get some “street” photographs. Man was I nervous. Here’s a story of my first time trying to shoot something other than street.

An outdoor portraiture shoot of a guy who was a complete stranger at the time I shot him, and also the story of the time when I finally realized film is exactly what I wanted to keep shooting!

I found Joshua on Craigslist, or more like he found me! For a while now I have been wondering where I was going with my hobby—photography. I love to shoot, but my snaps are nothing but ordinary. So far, I have been limited to taking photographs of friends posing in front of the camera (sometimes willingly, sometimes not so willingly). The results have always been dull/plain/flat. I may be limited in my creativity, but I honestly believe that things can change if one tries hard enough. So, that’s why, few weeks ago I put up an ad on Craigslist, saying that I am a purely hobbyist photographer, trying to get some experience shooting people outdoors… to make photographs that looks like portraits but with a hint of “street”. Sounds fancy, I know. Nonetheless, Joshua and I met up one day, with me fully geared up with a Pentax MV1 loaded with Fuji Velvia 100, and by the end of the day when we went through the whole fiasco, the results were anything but full of mistakes.

There were some shots that I absolutely loved, but after looking at them I realized I could have done so much more with them! Having Joshua as my first ever model was a blessing I think. He was amazing. He was perfect as a model and knew exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want him posing like a pro-model. I wanted him to be himself out in the streets, as cozy and comfy as one can be, so that I could take some very simple photographs in his most natural surroundings.

After I got the photos, I really wished I was better. However, I did get something out of the shoot. Now I know the mistakes I made, and know to avoid them in the future. I know what to look for and what to leave out. I guess the most important thing is to realize that the beginning can be rocky, but what matters is that one doesn’t stop but keep moving until he/she reaches the final goal. Shooting film is not easy. I could not see the photos I was taking. I shot an entire roll of Fuji Velvia 100 (which by the way is amazing as you can see. The colors took my breath away when I first saw the photos), only to realize the photographs were not up to par. There was so much more potential, that I would have known if only I could see what I was shooting. But then again, I could never have achieved similar results with a digital camera. The colors, the contrast, this is not something you get out of even the best sort of digital camera, unless you are willing to spend hours in front of some software, which I don’t have time for. And of course, the surprise was definitely worth it.

One other very important thing I realized after the shoot was that I was paying much more attention to each and every frame than I usually do with a digital camera. The limited number of 36 exposures somewhat forced me to think what I was shooting. With digital, I just shoot away until something nice comes out (even if that means an accidental nice shot); however, this time around things were not as much accident as they were intentional. True, they were still not good enough, but they were still making of my own talent.

A rocky first time indeed, but one that was worth it! If anything, the result was more motivating than a setback! Now, I know what I want, really! I want to keep shooting film, and get better at taking photographs. They may not be as cool as I want them to in the beginning, but each failed attempt will teach me more and push me forward!

written by maliha on 2011-07-19 #lifestyle #fuji-velvia-100 #pentax-mv1


  1. susielomovitz
    susielomovitz ·

    wow! great story! well done! I do like the photos! good job.

  2. pomps
    pomps ·

    It is great that you you know what you want and that it is film shooting! your photos are really nice!

  3. maliha
    maliha ·

    Thanks =)

  4. lihooi
    lihooi ·

    thanks for sharing! :)

  5. odjur
    odjur ·

    I love love love the shot with the cat! Great story =)

  6. ibkc
    ibkc ·

    Really nice shots and a wonderful article!
    I got over my discomfort of street shooting by taking candids of people using my iPhone at places like Costco and Walmart, where nearly everyone is so busy shopping that they're not paying attention to anyone else. And now I haul my big ol' clunky TLRs and my new rangefinder out in public and snap away. I haven't had anyone say anything to me yet -- the worst that has happened was one elderly lady stared me down like cameras are illegal to have in public or something. (And I wasn't even aiming the camera at her!)

  7. jared
    jared ·

    Just wanted to say props, great to hear a frank account of your journey.

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