Progress: From 2008 – Today

We’re all human; none of us are going to just pick up a camera and instantly become a photography expert.  I’ve been at it for about four years and I wouldn’t call myself even 10% as knowledgeable as a working published professional. Even so, you can definitely see progress in what I thought of as a great picture years ago, and what I consider some of my best work today.  Let’s take a look at some of my “good” pictures of people through the years!

2008 – Point and Shoot: Canon PowerShot SD870 IS


This photo was taken at Youmacon 2008, my first convention in which I had a camera.  Due to my lack of experience I got very few pictures that were not blurry because I didn’t realize the need for higher shutter speeds and I didn’t want to shoot with flash because of the overexposure it produced.  I quickly realized that I was going to need more camera power in order to get the pictures I wanted.


2009 – The year of the Nikon D40.

This was from Anime Central 2009.  It was my first convention with a DSLR and I was excited because I was generally able to use flash on the D40 without getting as much overexposure, though I still tried to avoid it.

Jump ahead 5 months to Youmacon 2009.  I had made a flash modifier to diffuse the built in flash so that it was not as harsh.  This gave me some great indoor flash photo exposure.

Also I got my first actual photo shoot with a cosplayer.  This Sakura was my first outdoor shoot where I was free to use the 55-200 zoom and create a shallower depth of field effect due to the focal length (though I was not educated enough at this time to know about that haha).


2010 – Prime Exploration

I got smarter and did some research.  The best way to avoid using flash indoors and get good pictures was to get a fast prime.  So I did; I got myself a 50mm f/1.4G using my tax return that year.  Now I could get good portraits and both not have to use flash (though the above one does) and achieve a shallower depth of field.

I also found one of my favorite spots at Anime Central and got to do another quick shoot with the Sakura from Youmacon 2009, this time as Aerith.  My composition is starting to get a bit more consistent.  I’m still shooting JPG mostly at this point.

I didn’t practice much between ACen and Youmacon 2010 and so in general, I had a really bad con for photos.  This is one of the few shots I actually liked from that event.  Basically I learned at that point that I needed to take the off season a bit more seriously if I wanted to consistently nail good photos.

2011 – 2/3 Year Challenge

This is one of my more popular photos.  I started a every day photo challenge about 2 months before ACen and I can already see my composition improving, though I still struggle with lighting a bit and I haven’t really begun to enhance my photos at all, though I have moved to RAW shooting for quicker corrections at this point.

By November there is a breakthrough.  Due to the constant practice from ACen during the off season, I came to Youmacon ready and had one of my best cons from a photography perspective.  By this time I’ve acquired both a Nikon D7000 and SB-700 Speedlight.  I’m also doing some mild retouching to most of my photos…

Except occasionally you take a photo that looks great straight from the camera such as this one.    In just 8 months of constant photos, I’ve started using off camera flash to achieve results like this without editing.

2012 – Artwork

Which brings us to this year.  I’ve gotten to a level where I’m fairly happy with my composition, so I’ve been trying to improve my off camera flash and editing skills in order to create the scene I have in mind.

And I leave you with this photo, one of my latest!

It’s certainly been a journey thus far, but the improvement is obvious and there’s no way to go but up from here!

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