Amit Aggarwal: It actually starts with passion, which is an emotional commitment to your hobby and not "let me try because it is cool and everyone else is trying." I got my first tips on photography way back in 1999 on a film camera from my cousin, who also gifted me a book on photography by OP Sharma. I was amazed with the black and white photos in the book and he further enlightened me with some lighting tips. I tried a few things but they was no where close to the results I wanted to see and for couple of years the passion died. I didnt have a camera, didn't have time, and i felt it is all about expensive cameras and equipment and didn't try anything for a long time.
Photo Journey: How did you get your passion back?
Amit: In 2005, I got my first point-n-shoot camera and started clicking again. This time I liked the results, as any smart point-n-shoot will do a good job, which will look good to the eyes. Nevertheless, it boosted my confidence and I kept going. But soon I realized, they are just photos taken and not photos made. I also got feedback from a few of my friends in this field. They told me that I have a good eye but lot to learn. A lot to learn.
Amit: At that point, I asked myself several questions. I was confused from where I should learn and exactly what should I learn. I was not sure what was missing in my photographs? My photos to me looked as good as any other photographs by professional photographers. Except...they photoshopped their photographs. And that was the justification I kept on giving to myself for almost a couple of years.
Amit: I joined Adobe in 2006 and came in touch with super talented creative professionals. I got my first tips on Photoshop from VJ Sharma, who also runs Photo Journey. He told me about curves, levels, highlights, shadows, vibrance, saturation, and what does what. He, however, didn't tell me when to use what. And that made a big difference to me. He wanted me to explore and do whatever i think is right for my photographs.
I finally bought my first DSLR and was very excited. On a business trip to Singapore, I took my camera and met one of my old buddies there who loves photography and we roamed around and he gave me tips on different aspects of DSLR, different shooting modes etc. I loved the results and was able to apply some of my learning (thats very important, you cannot learn till you apply and validate the results yourself). It is all about visualization, you need to get the final photograph as you imagined before even clicking the button. You prepare for it (thought this is not possible in all cases), then set the camera, compose, hit the shutter, post-process and finally share.
Photo Journey: Did things go smoothly after that?
Amit: More or less yes. But Most of the times, I couldn't get what I wanted, or what I saw others achieving. I often wondered how other people are achieving the results. Is it the camera, timing, post-processing, or experience? Once you have all these questions and everyone has them, it is time to go and get the answers, one by one. Get the answer, try it, validate, improve, do better and keep going. It is actually an art produced by the application of Science (science of light).
Photo Journey: So beautifully put Amit. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am sure these will help our readers.