Working as a photographer is not all doom or gloom; in fact, there are some really great moments along the way. What has been your favorite memory along the way?
In this article, Fstoppers writers share some of their favorite memories working as creatives.
I have always loved baseball. I played it obsessively growing up and wanted to become a professional player, but an unfortunate ball to the face abruptly ended that dream. That did not stop my love of the game, though. I still followed it closely as a fan, especially once I started studying math and became interested in the stats side of things. Once I got into photography, my dream was to shoot a professional game. Luckily for me, my friend, Rob Wagner, works with the Toledo Mud Hens, the Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, and he invited me to photograph games in 2017.
I drove across the state, walked in, was led down to the photographer’s bay and told: “keep your head down and always know where the ball is. It hurts when you get hit.” And sure enough, a few foul balls went whizzing past my head and legs. I didn’t mind, though; that is part of the game.
It was just as fun as I had imagined. The feeling of being on field level in the midst of the action was amazing, and combining my love of photography with my love of the game was awesome. It is also a real challenge to photograph. The lighting is often harsh and full of areas of garish light and deep shadow, the action is often extremely fast as the ball travels across the diamond at speeds sometimes exceeding 110 mph (meaning your focus needs to be spot on, especially since you are usually working at maximum aperture), you need to have good knowledge of the game to be able to anticipate plays and shots, at night, you have to deal with flickering stadium lights, and after all that, you also have to make creative shots and add a dose of your artistry. And I am not complaining; that is the fun of the experience.
And all those challenges make it all the more exciting when you get a good shot. The first time I got an interesting shot or managed to capture a fast and impressive play, the excitement was addicting, and it kept me driving across the state whenever I could all that summer to photograph more games.
Shooting my first (and only so far) birth.
No doubt, exploring a new genre is always exciting, but I imagine one’s first birth session is a particularly special and memorable experience.
Nothing will top shooting my first ever national campaign thanks to the agency finding me on Instagram! Last year, I got an email I thought was a scam, but after going through my normal scam checks, I responded. Turns out it was someone for Absolut. I wrote a whole article about the shoot itself, but when I asked them how they found me, since my SEO isn’t fantastic, it turned out that they had been searching #TorontoPhotographer, and after sifting through a lot of wedding and family portraits, they found me!
Stepping up to your first huge campaign is undoubtedly a huge accomplishment. You should definitely read the article David wrote about it, as it contains a lot of great insight into the process and what it was like.
The first time I took parkour photos in London in 2003, back when no one had a clue what parkour was, along with the 30 guys who turned up in central London to train together in this weird French thing that barely even existed on the internet. It was a strange mixture of teenagers and anarchists who wanted to get on rooftops. We tore up London, got chased by the police, and I was shooting stuff on an entry level Canon using really cheap, s***ty film.
Andy’s story in particular made me smile, as I started to get serious about photography around 2003, also while using an entry-level Canon film camera with generic film. That is one of my favorite memories, as it was a time where there was no concern about gear, clients, or anything else — just the simple joy of discovering how a camera works and the creativity that goes along with that.
Fred van Leeuwen
We don’t get a lot of big rock acts here in South Africa, but we had a surge of them in 2013-2015. I got a chance to meet, interview, and shoot Chino and Abe from Deftones in 2013. Shortly after that, Kings of Chaos performed here, and I had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan, and Nuno Bettencourt after the show. I was shooting mainly local bands back then, so to suddenly be in the room with these guys, whose music you listened to growing up, was quite something.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few of my favorite musicians before too, and without a doubt, the experience was one of my favorite memories.
Documenting my own family!
The thing I love about Jason’s memory is that he took an unprecedented event that had a deep impact on all of us and turned it into an opportunity to create something wonderful and deeply personal. I think it is a great reminder that even though we are all often quite busy, we have a special skill set, and that can be used to create meaningful memories for ourselves, our friends, and our families. You can read more about his experience in this article.
How about you? What has been your most memorable photography experience? That first big job? A shot you worked hard to get? Tell us about it in the comments.