Photographers provide us with our 'eyes' on the world. They allow us to see and experience things that we would never usually have the opportunity to. Suddenly we have access to the wonders of the natural world and an insight into other people's lives.
It doesn't even need to be a professional photographer who provides this for us. The photos taken at a family gathering you couldn't make, or your nephew's prom night or the birthday of a friend who now lives thousands of miles away. Being able to at least see what happened brings us a little closer to each other. As lifelong mementos, we want to ensure that the image is as good as we can possibly achieve.
Did you know that over 300 million photos are uploaded onto Facebook every day, and Instagram sees at least 26 photo uploads every second? With the mobile phone, suddenly, a large proportion of the public always has access to a camera and are ever ready to share their experiences with the rest of the world. And when you're sharing your image with millions of others on social media, you want it to be a good one.
Then there's the world of eCommerce, where we have to rely on the quality of the retailer's images to allow us to make a decision on whether we make a purchase. A poorly presented product is likely to cause us to doubt the quality of the item and the business.
So, as you can see, few amongst us don’t want to create the very best images and videos that we can. I was in much the same situation. With the birth of my daughter, I needed to up my game. I knew that there would only be one chance to get a photo or video of the 'firsts' that we pass through in life. I wanted to make sure that I had an amazing collection of images to remember her growing up by.
That's when I began to research which photographic equipment that I needed to invest in. Sure, I could take a picture and hope for the best, but I wanted better results than that. I should say that at this point, I was just taking photos with my iPhone; a new baby and investing in expensive camera gear just wasn't an option.
So, the first item I got was an LED Ring Light. I read about how they were the piece of kit which was essential for great selfies, and I also knew there would be a fair few of those with me and my baby girl! I was shocked by how much better my photos were, the soft, even light made it all ridiculously easy.
Then friends and family on Facebook were constantly commenting how beautiful the images were, they even asked if I had bought a new expensive camera. Once I had shown them how simple the selfie ring light was to use, they become converted. I had considered just talking about my accomplished photographic skills, but I decided that I had better come clean!
Now my interest in photography was really starting to grow, and when my wife began her cake decorating company, it was the perfect opportunity to consider what kit I could look into getting next! This really was a situation where image was everything, I needed to be able to capture the detail of the cakes so that potential clients could see the quality of the workmanship.
My first attempts were pretty dismal. So many shadows and often the white royal icing came out with a grey tinge, not at all appealing and it would definitely put off anyone looking to place an order. That's when I discovered the light box. This white box with its translucent sides diffuses the light, which comes in from multiple directions. So, this meant that I could get even, nearly shadow-less lighting all against a simple, solid background, which was perfect for letting the cakes take center stage.
It seemed like I had my very own portable photo studio. I was delighted with the results, my wife was happy, and customers loved the images, which then converted to great sales.
By now, photography had become a huge passion, I was so rewarded by the great images that I could now achieve, that I decided to take the next step by getting a backdrop and studio lighting kit. Money was still tight, so I wanted to get something that would give me lots of different equipment to try out and let me get a whole range of different effects. In the back of my mind, I was also considering opening a website to offer the products that I'd had so much success with, to other people.
The kit that I tried out was amazing. Now I got to experiment with soft boxes and reflective umbrellas. I didn't always get it right, but having the equipment there in my home, meant that I could keep trying as I perfected my craft. Living in a relatively small house, the fact that it all packed up into a holdall bag really helped!
The backdrops opened up a whole new way of taking portraits, now there were no more cluttered and distracting backgrounds taking attention away from the subject. And as for the green screen kit, that was so much fun. With the addition of some software, I was able to remove everything in the image that was green and then add my own background. Suddenly my daughter was in photos along with her favorite cartoon characters while my mates were surfing the highest imaginable waves, all from the safety of our spare bedroom!
I had been really bitten by the photography bug, I loved the results that I was getting, and others loved them too. From friends and family to clients, compliments were always made on the clarity and quality of the photographs I took.