The Five Takeaways from Photography



Whenever I gaze upon a strong photograph, I cannot help but feel a sense of connection to the beliefs, passion, and goals that that an artist had for his or her own work. Their work, while simple in its time, becomes a universal language understood by all who gaze upon it. Since I started photography, I have become completely infatuated by the overall presence that a camera and a photograph can have on a group of people. While as much as I can focus on the photo itself, photography encompasses an entire community that connect, teaches, and learns after every click.

Below, I have highlighted five of the big takeaways from my experience as an amateur photographer. One thing you need to keep in mind is that we are a community. We look to engage others not just by the story of our work, but also by the process of capturing our art.


1. Networking with Everyone

When it comes to photography, you are constantly networking each and every day. Beyond your overall travels, you will come across a variety of people. Be it photographers, mentors, models, subjects, art directors, or stylist, the possibility of connections are endless. While there are some of those who you will never see or speak to again, you never know when that right connection will be made. It may be a mentor that can help develop your skills as a photographer or a subject that can become a lifelong friend and partner for your work in the future. Regardless of the reason, take advantage of your connection and continue to build upon it.

2. Talk to an Expert

Similar to that above, photography can oftentimes be a frightening hobby to undertake, especially if you are new to the scene.  As you are networking, make sure you answer a variety of questions. This can be either in person with a professional or on an online format. Regardless of whom you are speaking with, try and pull as much information as possible, especially from the veteran photographers. Those ten minutes of conversation can be more valuable to your growth and development as a photographer than any book or video tutorial.

3. Out in the Open

The best part of photography is that anything can be your subject. This is your chance to experiment with different topics and scenes. Go beyond your comfort zone and test out a variety of photos. The only way you can grown and improve as a photographer is by practicing your technique each and every day. In addition, by going out, you will be able to develop your own style and technique for your own personal photos.

4. Inspiration

No matter who you are, there will always be an underlying motivation of why we decided to pick up our cameras. Many people do it for the love of the job. Others do it for the love of the subject. Whatever your reason is, make sure you continue to push that fire and passion each and every shot. A good solid way to do this is to pre-plan a theme or concept you want to capture. Start off by thinking of emotions. Are you looking to express anger or happiness in your piece? If you have an answer, why do you want to express that? By answering these questions, you will be able to decide on which subject you want to capture for that day.

5. State of Learning

Even with years of experience, I still find myself learning new trick, approaches, and techniques to further enhance my style. With photography, the hobby continues to evolve with the advancement of technology. Because of this, there is always something new to learn to better improve your shots each and every day. These type of moments are those that force photographers out of their comfort zone and inspire and motivate them to shoot each and every day.

Photography 101: Using Your DSLR Camera Part 1


A digital single-lens reflex camera, commonly referred to as a DSLR camera, is a digital camera that combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor. For many individuals, attaining this camera is the first step in igniting their passion and their hobby.

Below, you will find eight helpful tips you need to get the ball rolling. Understanding these concepts will not just aid you in taking quality photos, but also develop you as a photographer.

1. Read Your Camera’s Manual

While many overly enthusiastic amateur photographers may overlook this step, reading your manual can sometimes be the definer of sparking your interest or destroying it. Yes, the manuals are not always engaging to read, but they do provide you a wide variety of information of how you can use and optimize your camera to its fullest. By internalizing the functionalities of your camera, you will be able to learn and grow as a photographer every click that you take. In addition, most manuals are not available electronically. If you ever need to reference how to use a DSLR camera, try looking it up online.

(Watch a video tutorial on the basic use of your DSLR camera here.)

2. Always have Your Camera Near

When beginning your journey as a photographer, try and play around with it as much as possible. That being said, try and keep your camera by you. Remember, it is more than just a simple click. Here, you are capturing a memory.

3. Practice Every Day

Similar to any new thing that you do, photography is a skill that needs time to develop. The best way you can do this is by taking every day. While this does not always require the use of your DSLR camera, you want to start thinking like a photographer. Understand the angles, positioning, and subject matter you want to control for your photos. Afterwards, try practicing it on your DSLR camera. Test out different features and functions and, most importantly, go beyond your comfort zone.

4. Play with your Settings

This all goes back to know your manual. Before you take any photo, get into the habit of checking your settings. Depending on the photo, a certain setting may need some adjustments. Take for example a portrait and a landscape photo. Clearly, both provide two completely different subject matters. But what you need to understand is the overall concept of the photo. With an incorrect setting, the photo could essentially lose its meaning, or worse, its depth!

5. Test out Different Angles and Perspectives

The world as we see it is from an eye level. But with advancements within technology and social media (such as the selfie), you should not be surprise by this. When you are out taking photos, start taking risk. Take various shots from your knees, on the ground, from various heights, or from close up. Set up different angles that manipulate the status quo to add that dramatic feature to your photos. And most importantly, know your photography rules such as the rule of thirds or lines of symmetry. Those rules and perspectives can be a game changer in how you take photos.

6. Know Your Meter

Make sure you know your camera’s metering modes and use them to your advantage. When you frame an image, see the light and then meter how you want your scene to be exposed. Knowing the meter will allow you to provide strong light photos or dark intense shots. At the end of the day, the ruling is subjective. Use the best setting that fits your message and your story.

7. Do Your Research

While the camera itself is smart, there is still much to learn about photography from your end. Remember, you are entering into a new field, a new hobby. Take a look at various tutorials online or purchase a book online or at a bookstore. If possible, I highly recommend David Busch’s Mastering Digital SLR Photography or Brian Black’s DSLR Photography for Beginners. Both provide various tips and hints of how you can utilize your camera to its fullest.

Instagram, the Mother for Millennial Photographers


We have all seen the photos and the ‘heart-shaped’ like button given by the widely popular online mobile photo and video sharing application Instagram. For some, they despise this application. They believe it sets a disconnected jealousy of an intangible world in order for the millennial generation to receive some social acceptance. While I will not disprove this this opinion, as highlighted by the Australian teen Essena O’Neil, there is a huge benefit that ultimately goes down to Instagram’s motto, “Capture and Share the World’s Moments.”

As an amateur photographer, capturing the raw human emotion and natural beauty is the underlying definition of art. When we snap a shot, it is not meant simply to take what I see with my eyes. Rather it is to seize a moment and retell it through time. I can never forget the first time I pressed the shutter of my camera. While the photo itself was not my best, it was a match that ignited a flame that continues to burn today. This flame allows me to express my emotions and the emotions of those around me into an artistic format that would last a lifetime.

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Currently the process itself took some time to perfect (which is still ongoing today), I think about the angles and the story I want to tell every click I take. During the years, however, things have changed. Since the early 2000s, social media engraved its signature onto the public and gave life to unknown photographers. Though the overall process is different from the approach of a real photographer, the motto and vision is still the same. We all want to share those moments.

When I first tried Instagram, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Yes, it is still not like my original approach, but the overall concept was simplistic and astonishing. For every photographer, we go through a process of editing and printing our photos with black rooms and photo techniques. But with Instagram, the concept is different. You are not just able to take photos or videos, but also able to instantaneously share them through a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr. The antiquated sense of mailing photos was gone. This was the future.

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Now beyond the innovative approach of instant sharing, Instagram has modified its application to allow millennial photographers to engage in various photo-editing techniques. This first starts off with strategic planning and the question of what photo should I take? Afterwards, users are able to manipulate the photo by changing the frame, lighting, shadowing, symmetry, cropping, filter colors, white balance and more. Through a combination of these features, a person is able to create a photo of lackluster quality and manipulate it into a form of art.

While I am still very much fond of my DSLR camera and believe this is one of the best ways to truly ignite your passion, Instagram has show to be a very viable tool within the field. Having over 300 million users, one has to question who, of the 700 million, will be the next great photographer?

Faces & Places

You don’t need to know what I do or why I am here. All you need to do is look into my eyes and listen my story.

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (115)

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (105)

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (126)