Photography is a story I fail to put into words
With every phone having a camera and the increase in social media, it’s safe to say everyone fancies themselves to have a streak of photographer in them these days. It’s too easy not to and I think it’s great how many people have discovered a love for something that was quite niche before the rise of social media. Blogging is an extension of that, and writing my blog definitely keeps my love for photography alive. Today I wanted to write about my photography journey – where it started and where I am now, with everything else in between.
I suppose I was first interested in photography around the age of 13/14. My Dad has an interest and I remember getting his hand-me-down digital camera at some point during my teenage years. This must have been around 2002, and I would always take my camera to our school parties to snap photos of my friends. I was always the one with a camera when no one else really had one, and slowly I began to gain interest in other areas of photography, like macro shots and wildlife. Of course, this was incredibly unstructured and my first real pathway into photography began when I chose my A Level options in 2004. Having studied Graphic Design at GCSE, I had that kind of streak and chose an A Level in Photography. Where I studied, we learnt everything manual and on film cameras so it was all developing and darkrooms which I think gave me a really good starting point. Digital cameras were starting to become big but learning the workings of a proper SLR without all the gadgets we have today, meant my understanding of how and why things worked was second to none. I came out with a B grade and loved the course – I struggled with the emotional aspect of writing about ‘my art’ but loved creating my projects and dabbled in everything from dance to architectural photography.
After my A Levels, I went to Uni and quite frankly, had no idea what I wanted to do. I toyed heavily with a full photography degree but upon hearing I’d need to study for four years to gain an Art Foundation upfront, I decided against it. In hindsight, I think I should’ve taken that option, but at 17, it seems like a long time. I eventually opted for a course called Media Arts, which offered a photography aspect as well as a filmmaking pathway, where you specialised in one in your third year. This sounded a good choice for me as I studied Media A Level also, yet not long after starting, I realised the course wasn’t 100% right for me. I felt I had learnt more in my A Levels than I was at Uni, and a lot of my coursemates had never stepped foot in a darkroom before, let alone developed and processed their own photos. It seemed a back step and so, although I stayed on the course as a minor, I took on a History major (my other subject of choice) and completed my final project shooting my sister for a fashion photography piece. I was happy with my time at uni but didn’t feel like I’d really achieved much more and struggled to keep my photography knowledge alive. I also didn’t click with studio based work and found the technical aspect of photography increasingly hard. I was taught little about post-production and had to teach myself Photoshop and the like, after my time at Uni.
Once I’d finished Uni, it never came to mind to go into photography or freelance. Some of my love for it had slipped and I focused on a career in marketing instead. During that time, I began my blog and got my first DSLR (I’d used to the Uni’s throughout my degree). From then on, my blog reignited my love for photography and I was shooting everything from myself for style posts, to beauty products, to days out and holidays. I was unhappy in my work, and my blog was a great outlet for some creativity. I often wonder if I’d still be into photography at all had it not been for starting my blog.
My first SLR (non-digital) was a Minolta – handed down from my Dad, this is the camera I learnt everything about how photography works on. When I got my first DSLR, my Dad got me a Sony. Sony bought out Minolta and therefore all his lenses fitted. I had a great time trying out everything from wide angle to different focal lengths and learning about zooms – but one thing was missing, and was vital to my beauty blogging. A macro lens! My boyfriend bought me one for my birthday and boy, was it well loved. The perfect lens for shooting make up products. Since then, I upgraded to another Sony which I actually just sold this week. An A58, which is a great starter DSLR.
Two Christmasses ago, I gave into the hype and asked for an Olympus Pen E-PL7. I was lucky enough to get one, and swiftly hunted down the 45mm 1.8 lens for fashion shots. I’ve used that camera non-stop for two years (you can read my full review here) and adore it, but in the last year, I’ve picked myself up my latest camera. I’d been toying with investing a full-frame camera for some time. And when the Sony A7 came into my local London Camera Exchange second hand, I knew I had to snap it up. The reason I chose the A7 is nothing to do with a background in Sony’s – it’s more a size thing. Compared to the Canon 6d (my other option), the A7 is half the size. A touch bigger than the Olympus Pen, I’d got used to a handbag friendly camera. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to a full size DSLR and after trying a few out, I went with my gut and made the splurge. I sold my Pen on recently, as I barely use it so I hope it’s new home is a happy one! The majority of my posts going forward are shot on the Sony – I’ve only got one lens so far, a 50mm 1.8, which takes the dreamiest style shots. I’m excited to see what else it can do! You can see examples of it in action here, here and here.
Next, I just want to keep working on my blog photography. Obviously shooting fashion means you need someone else to take the photos, and although my other half is reluctant, it’s clear to see he gets some great shots. I’ve had my A7 around 2 weeks now so I’m still getting to grips with it but I’m loving what it produces and I hope that can be reflected in my blog!
Oh, and maybe finding some film for this Yashica my Dad gave me. It’s usually decorative but after playing with it for this post, I want to see what it can do!
My top is from Joules for those interested!
If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.