A common question all photographers are asked is, "How did you get started in photography?" Well, in my case, I took my first photography class in the seventh grade and I was instantly hooked. I must have known it was something special because I kept my notebook from that semester way back in 1990. I've even kept all of my prints, negatives, and test strips! Occasionally I like to pull out my notebook because it takes me back to the beginning - back to when all of that information was so new to me. I like to remember the passion that was stirred up inside and the excitement I had for totally "getting" something and being "good" at it. (PS - check out the pic below. Haha! My maiden name!)When people ask me how to get started in photography or even how to improve their skills, I always recommend taking a photography course. Sure, there are a ton of amazing, self-taught photographers out there. However, not everyone has the discipline to learn the f-stops, shutter speed settings and ISO values and how they interconnect. We were required to memorize all of these numbers and know what to do when one or two of those numbers changed - it became second nature and we were regularly tested on that. Plus, we learned about composition, expression and many fun photographic techniques.Of course, we also learned how to process film and develop our own prints. While those things might not seem relative to today's business of "developing" your images in Photoshop, it actually is! Many of the tools in Photoshop come directly from the darkroom including dodging, burning, masking, filters, sponging, etc. If you know the history, you understand why the Photoshop tools do what they do and look the way they look.Anyway, thanks for tagging along on this trip down memory lane. If I only knew then what I know now... :)

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