The photography bug bit me in 1981 while still in High School: I asked for a camera that Christmas. Wow! That was 32 years ago.
I originally wanted a Canon AE1 Program which was made by Canon from 1976 to 1984, but it was more expensive than the Pentax ME Super which was made by Pentax from 1979 to 1985. However, looking back, I have no regrets getting the ME Super. It was a great camera and served me well.
Back then, I had no clue how a camera worked. The first several rolls of film that I sent via mail to Clark Color Lab for about $2 a roll (who remembers?) were blurry from trying to shoot high school basketball games handheld with slow shutter speeds. I thought auto mode was the cure all back then. I also thought auto would auto wind the film and didn't realize that I needed a separate auto winder. Those were the days of flying by the seat of my pants.
In addition to shooting High School Sports (or trying to), I loved photographing people (portrait photography). I always had a camera with me and photographed people in High School all the time. There was and still is something about portrait and candid style portrait photography that I truly love.
Somehow, by a miracle, I knew enough about my camera that I got paid to photograph my first wedding in June of 1982. It was for a family friend, but I was the main photographer plus I got paid. I think that I got paid $50. In 1982, $50 would pay for another piece of basic equipment. I believe my camera body was around $125 to put it all in perspective.
Fast forward a few months, I ended up being the lead yearbook photographer at Wake Forest Rolesville High School, processed numerous rolls of black and white film at school as well as printed what I processed and ended up loading my own black and white film rolls for future shooting rather than using store bought rolls. I also got paid to photograph Wake Forest Rolesville High School sports for The Wake Weekly. I loved (and still do) photographing people. I began to get more interested in portrait photography which likely came from all the sports and candid photography that I did.
In closing, if you have been bit by the photography bug, you should pursue your passion if that is truly what drives you. However, know what makes you different (Hint: not price), use that to propel your career. Also, be sure to learn as much as you can about how business works, it helps to understand business no matter how boring you might think business is.
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