This is pretty cool, who would have thought RAW has made it all the way over to the U.S Army National Guard? Cassandra has been reading RAW for sometime now so when she sent me an email telling me her story I couldn’t wait to see what she had to say. So for something completely different, here is Cassandra.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a 22-year-old, Indianapolis gal who’s also a photojournalist in the U.S. Army National Guard. I’m pretty simple and I’m kind of a homebody and introverted… but get me to open up and I won’t shut up! I love the fact that photographs can be stories and histories told, ones that will be shared with our future generations.
What made you get into photography?
Technically, I started my interest in photography when I was assigned to take photos of a family friend’s dragster races when I was in middle school. I had a little break from photography through high school, and it was when I joined the military as a Public Affairs Specialist when my interest was rekindled. As an Army Photojournalist, the goal is to get the servicemembers’ stories told. It was when I started getting emails from the servicemembers I interviewed, saying that their families enjoyed seeing [the servicemember’s] picture and story in their local newspaper, that made me realize how much of a single photograph could make such an impact on other people’s lives. That’s priceless to me.
How did you get started?
Joining the military really helped kick-start my interest and passion in photography and writing on the civilian side. During my deployment, I would spend my downtime taking photos and looking at photography sites. So when I came back to the states in October 2010, I purchased my first camera and it all started there. Because I had known military photography, I was excited to begin my journey in photographing the civilian world.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
As far as when I’m on the Army’s time, I take photos that help tell the story that I am writing. I also love taking portraits of Soldiers. On all other times, I really don’t have a certain type of photography… I just take what strikes my mood, no matter how random it is. Of course, I like photographing people and my dogs, but I love being creative too, so I just photograph what strikes my mood. I have flash equipment but prefer natural light whenever I can use it.
What gear are you using?
My personal kit includes a Nikon D7000, an 18-105mm 3.5-56G lens, a 50mm 1.8 lens, and a full framed fish eye lens. I also own an SB600 flash and other misc. equipment like tripods, light stands, etc.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
I love to travel with my 18-105, just because I can hit a lot of photos when I’m on the go. I just got my 50mm and I loveeee it! I love the hazy, blurry depth-of-field it produces, while letting in all of the natural light. And the fish eye is just fun. So I guess I love all of my lenses, but prefer them each separately depending on the situation.
How are you marketing yourself?
Well, for right now, I am still building my portfolio, and I picked up and moved from Iowa to Indianapolis (small country town v.s. big city), so I am working by word of mouth. I try to go out and shoot every day in the city and I try to meet as many people as I can to network and present my business. Facebook and Flickr are great networking sites that I use to spread the word too.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
This was really hard to choose my favorite photo. I chose two, one military, one civilian.
The first photo is of Spc. Jeremy Obermiller, and was taken during a night mission near Tikrit, Iraq. This was one of my favorite missions, just because it reminded me so much of home, despite of the complete opposite location that I was located at. We sat by the lake for about an hour, watching for any signs of enemy movement, all while crickets where chirping, the water was trickling, and dogs were barking in the background.
This second photo is of from Leann and Brian’s wedding, my first wedding I photographed. I love this one because it was after the wedding ceremony. It was a private moment shared between them, one that I happened to catch.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Although I am still learning, I would say to KEEP SHOOTING. Shoot everyday, if time allows. Take your camera everywhere. If it’s raining outside, shoot inside, or try to shoot the rain. I would also say to try new things. If you’re afraid to take a certain photograph or try a certain technique, then that is a sign that you SHOULD try it. You have to start somewhere, right? That’s the only way you’ll get better. Also, take day/road trips. Explore yourself with photography. And don’t get wrapped up in other people’s work. It’s okay to look and be inspired, but make it your own photo, your own idea.