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An Embarrassing Peek at Some of My Very Early Images

This is terribly embarrassing! Sharing hideous images I took with my then iPhone 4S with our iLHP readers. I typically spend each week selecting my BEST images to include in my article. Photos I believe will represent my current skill level and that I am proud to share. I thought it would be interesting (maybe even laughable) to take a glimpse at some photos I actually thought were worthy enough to share not that long ago.

I have mentioned several times in previous iLHP articles that my love for photography began to vastly develop about two years ago. I had just switched from a BlackBerry to an iPhone and instantly became captivated with the camera features and quality. It was routine for me to be walking along the cobblestone Parisian streets and stop to capture something with my iPhone. It was also around that time I started posting and sharing my images on Instagram.

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A few times, I have looked back through my Instagram archives (which as of today consists of 4409 little square images) and considered deleting many! When I begin to scroll and see how they progressively get worse the further back I scroll, I opt against it and leave them as a reminder of just how far I have come as a photographer in a relatively short period of time.

montmarte manNot only can I see my improvement through the few years but I am also able to see how my interests have changed and advanced.

hitchcockThere are so many things tragically wrong with all of these images I don’t even know where to begin. The ONLY recurring thing I like in the majority of these photos, if any, are the people’s expressions and the composition. Even so, I still see things I would change if I were shooting today. Other than that, there is nothing that would remain the same by any measure today.

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If my memory serves me correctly, when I first discovered how superior the iPhone camera was to the BlackBerry’s (sorry BlackBerry) I made an effort to wander the streets further in hopes of finding something compelling.

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It is evident from these photos, that I loved capturing candid street photography.  In Paris, people are overloaded in the shuffle of the big city and often times not paying much attention to the people around them. Therefore, allowing me the perfect opportunity to snap photos of people behaving naturally without them feeling insecure a camera is pointed directly at their faces.

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I loved the process of wandering through the busy streets and snapping as many interesting people as possible and returning to my flat to edit them. I enjoyed both capturing the images and editing the photo after equally.

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However, once I began editing I became overly obsessed and would use every editing tool and app I possibly could find on the iPhone.

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I cannot recall the whole process but it went something along the lines of this: crop the photo square, adjust the color of the image, blur everything but the subject, sometimes apply vignetting, always add a filter, select a border and add my Caprice Bianca watermark. I am not so sure how necessary the watermark was looking back now because it is highly feasible that no one out there with any real aesthetic sense would want to reposts any of those images ANYWHERE!

instagram-6The funny thing is that these images were not even my worst! There were others SO horrific I couldn’t even share. I spent six weeks in India taking countless photos of everything I could capture (also on my iPhone) and butchered them all throughout the editing process. Not only did each image go through the steps I listed previously, I would use another app to completely change the colour tone of each image. They were so highly saturated and distorted that the image effectively lost all its appeal. In addition, I would add a filter that had a bokeh effect, sometimes in little floating hearts that added another unnecessary element to the photo.

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At the time I was taking and posting these images I was not really following any great photographers. I was more interested in following people I knew, places I lived in and a lot of fashion accounts.

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I do not recall being terribly concerned about improving my craft and technique. It was more about taking as many photos as possible and going through the editing process.

bird feeding louvreI never spent anytime researching how to edit in a tactful way or how to improve my work. I was satisfied with my level of competence at that time.

instagram-5There are images I do come across from back then that I still really like had they not been edited. However, I only like the image if it were left untouched and still in it’s original format. Unfortunately, I deleted them all so this is all I am left with as a reminder for many of my great experiences living in Paris and my trip to India.

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Most, if not all of my photographs from this period of time could easily be used in our new Do’s and Don’ts weekly post. But sadly only to be included under the “don’ts” category.

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I think that my thought process and aesthetics finally changed when one day I was at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and wished I had a zoom lens attachment for my camera phone.

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I had an old Canon DSLR back in Toronto and thought it would be even better to capture people at more of a distance (as creepy as that sounds) rather than with an iPhone .

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The next time I returned to Toronto, I grabbed my Canon (don’t know which model number) and brought it back to Paris with me. I remember returning to Paris, excited to take pictures with a camera that had a far greater zoom capacity. I would walk to Arc de Triomphe before sunset and stand in one spot watching and shooting people for hours. It was always amazing to see the excitement and joy on people’s faces and being able to capture it through my lens.

lost in the cityIt wasn’t until I moved back to Toronto, that I was determined to educate myself and learn more about my hobby and love for photography. I figured if I was going to take my photography seriously, it was time to upgrade to a brand new camera.
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It was then I decided to retire my at least 18 year old Canon and purchase the Canon 70D. The next challenge was learning how to use it to it’s full capacity. I had already been following great photographers on Instagram and even opened a Flickr account. I had plenty of inspiration and ideas that I hoped to one day achieve.

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I bought several books on photography techniques and read as much as I could. I watched online tutorials. I signed up for a few basic photography classes and began using Adobe Lightroom.

park benchI started shooting with other people and learned a lot throughout the whole process. I have come a long way in a short period of time and I am proud of what I have achieved thus far. Today, I am no where close to where I want to be as a photographer and hope to keep learning and growing to better myself. 
weddingI anticipate that these images will provide some amusement for our iLHP readers all at my expense. I still find it fascinating to look back and see just how far I have come as a photographer. I probably would not be where I am today, writing for a blog that I am proud to be a part of, if I had not gone through this progression and growth. I am thankful to be on this journey and fortunate to have crossed paths and developed great friendships along the way.

Who knows, maybe in a few years I will look back and glimpse at my work now and feel just as embarrassed. I guess only time will tell.

Until next time,

Alyssa

Don’t forget to check out my Instagram, Facebook and Flickr and gallery!