This interview is a little special. It’s the first one i’ve scheduled and posted using my new Wacom tablet instead of a mouse. I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Down to Shabnam, she’s a 19 year old student studying a Fine Art major. Currently she’s realised she would rather work the technical stuff out her self. Is this a good move, what do you think?
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a 19 year old college student, born, raised and now going to college in Los Angeles. I was a Fine Art major (photo emphasis) for the past year and a half until I realized I’d rather learn the technical stuff on my own (and I never enjoyed the ‘fine art’ aspect to begin with). so now I’m Undecided, just going to wait and see what happens next.
What made you get into photography?
Originally, I think it started when I was in 7th grade. we went on a trip to Yosemite with my family, and my dad had just bought his new dslr. so I played around with it, shooting up at the trees and flowers and whatnot. Then for my birthday a few weeks later, my parents took one of the photos I had taken and enlarged it (to about 20 x 30). I instantly was like “I’m gunna become a photographer when I grow up”. This dream stayed intact for about a year or so (emphasis on ‘dream’, because I don’t even remember shooting at the point.. it was juts the idea that sounded awesome lol) until I hit high school, and any notion of my future plans turned into doubt and confusion, until the idea just slowly disappeared.
How did you get started?
My sophomore year in high school was my first year on the basketball team. I really don’t remember details except that a little into the season I began shooting at practices, then at games, then slowly sending my photos to the school paper and yearbook committee. Sports was really all I was shooting, with the basic nikon d80 and kit lens setup. I had no intentions of furthering my skills or my knowledge of photography, it was just something that I did for fun.
Flash forward to freshman year of college, where I had begun studying fine art , with no emphasis in mind. After a mini (immature and irrational) quarter life crisis of “what am i going to do with my life?”, I decided to emphasize in photography. (even though for the longest time i kept telling myself I didnt want to study it in college). So I started browsing Flickr and researching as much as I could. I started following the works of many amazing photographers, such as Johnathan Yacoub and Jordan Voth, and the inspiration I was getting from them really began to push me. So in June (of this year) I bought myself a 50 1.8, signed up on modelmayhem and began shooting people. Once classes started again in the fall, I put modelmayhem away, and started shooting acting majors who wanted headshots, musicians who wanted promos, and anyone else who just wanted new profile pics.
Photography has really let me meet so many amazing and talented people (some who have become my good friends). I can’t imagine what my life would be like right now if I hadn’t decided to go for it.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I currently shoot portraits, but I don’t want to stop here. I’ll shoot anything that will help me better my skills and broaden my horizons, meet new people and go places (literally and not) that I would otherwise not go.
What gear are you using?
A nikon d80 with a 50 1.8 lens. I sens an upgrade to full frame sometime in the near future, but for now, I’ll make do with what I’ve got.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Well I’ve only ever shot with the kit lens and the 50 1.8, sooo the 50 HANDS DOWN. it’s gotten softer and softer the more I’ve used it, but the sharpness I get (when it actually is sharp) is incomparable. I’d prefer and 35mm on my crop frame, but again, I make do with what I have 🙂
How are you marketing yourself?
Facebook. I don’t use twitter, and don’t really have time to be social on flickr/tumblr and whatnot, so facebook has been the way to go. and it really works!
I also just created my website last week, so hopefully that’ll make it easier too!
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
that’s tough! I’m going to have go with these three though. I can’t explain it (i’m terrible with words..), but there’s something that stops me every time I go back to them.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
well I’m in NO way anywhere near pro, but if there’s one I keep telling myself, it’s SHOOT. get out there and take any opportunity that comes your way. Don’t shy away because you think you’re not good enough and don’t back down because you’re feeling uninspired. Because really, we’re not going get far by asking ‘why should I?’. Always try ask ‘why not?’ (at least that’s what I try to do!) 🙂