Thank you for visiting my personal web site and taking the time to read a quick bio about me. Here, I get an opportunity to introduce myself to the world. Nothing too ambitious, just a simple insight into Stephen Paul Young Photography.
Phototrinity for me, was the desire and then realisation to turn from ‘Amateur’ to ‘Professional’ – just quitting my job so I could spend every day seeking out all the fantastic locations, waiting hours for the right light, to quietly observe the world and play around with my camera, undisturbed, converting my passion into a living, to make up for the quitting part. And of course, to spend out on the finest gear! I guess I am not the only person on this planet who has been fostering a similar plan.
My voyage of self-discovery has taught me, there is much antagonism in the world of photography; light versus darkness, DSLR versus mirrorless, geek versus artist, Nikon versus Canon. And yet, soon after getting involved in it, I faced the ultimate dilemma, and it was one that I had not previously considered: Professional versus Amateur.
Early Years Photography
When I was 14 my parents bought me my first camera for Christmas, a Praktica MTL3. I had no idea how to use it! So I sat in front of our TV screen and photographed ( Black & White Film and a Black & White TV set! ) the Christmas day movie – The Black Hole! By that evening, my Dad had taken all the films I had shot, and me, up into the loft space where I was first introduced to the delights of chemicals and film development.
The following 2 years, I began my love affair with Black & White Photography and a desire to become a war photographer! Influenced by mass media coverage and a teenage boys dream to become part of the ‘solution’ to all the worlds ills! At 16 years of age, the political landscape shaped everything around me, high unemployment and the Falklands War meant I left school and joined the Army, The Royal Corp’ of Transport, as it was then.
I think I skipped my later teenage years and my camera took backstage collecting dust, ageing and then what? I never did discover what became of my trusty old Praktica. To marriage, kids and a life of sensibility including a 1980s high mortgage and no money to spare.
On being an Adult
It wasn’t until some 2 decades later I got my first DSLR, a Canon 600D, a good few years ago as a, birthday present from my wife. At some point during the process of reading an extortionate number of photography articles, blogs and reviews, shooting thousands of pictures, buying (and then selling) various lenses and other gear, shooting more pictures, getting into post-processing and then shooting even more, an idea popped up in my mind: “I should become a pro!”
There was something else I noticed, a growing ‘nag’ in my mind: while pondering on all my life and death questions, I forgot to do something: enjoy photography! I spent many hours messing with my photos in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and got all troubled about lighting, composition, blown out pixels, sharpness and so on. This battle with myself helped to confirm, that I should really become a pro, so I bought a new camera and of course, spent more time reading stuff online. This is a vicious circle that is far too easy to get stuck in.
I guess it’s at this point in time I should introduce my partner in crime, Jason. I met Jason a few years ago through work. Jason and I would soon discover a shared passion in photography thus, to cut this part of my story short – Phototrinity.com would become the shared platform that we could develop together, not only to showcase our art but to collaborate on the various projects that we have spent many hours discussing. This normally happens over a pint and a good spicy meal, when we both manage to get together. Although we conduct our own photographic business interests, phototrinity.com is a result of our photographic collaboration.
Amateur to Professional
I’m not sure about any formal ‘descriptive’ terms used to describe an Amateur Photographer or a Professional Photographer however, for me, the difference lays between not getting paid and getting paid! This may sound ‘harsh’ but as an Amateur, I would freely post my images on the various social platforms as a method to incite some creative feedback (or not!) or enter various free competitions. My Instagram account ‘photographybystevey’ or Facebook account ‘photospyimages’ are a great example. The recent move to create a social following on both platforms under ‘Photographic Trinity’ on Instagram and ‘Photographictrinity’ on Facebook underpin the desire to go professional and drive the business into the realm of Professional Photography.
Photography to me
I find that my photography is the unique marriage of art and technology. To blend a healthy balance between these two ingredients remains my focus. When I got my first DSLR camera, just a few days of googling left me with the perception that pros have pro equipment and they take pro photos, that becoming better and becoming a professional are intertwined and if I was not willing to take it on, then I would be stuck at the entry / enthusiast level.
Don’t get me wrong, being an amateur is wonderful! I was not bound by any expectations, I was allowed to make mistakes! I could define my own rules and aesthetics and remember why I was taking photographs, learning to love more of my not totally perfect pictures. I was never pushed by the devil on my shoulder to achieve something unrealistic or uncomfortable, ultimately, I embarked on a lifelong journey of trial and error and just enjoyed the ride, and as a bonus I walk away with a portfolio of precious, interesting and peculiar moments of my own life.
In light of all the reasons to remain an Amateur photographer, I still remain committed and focused for a career change. The recipe is simple: get to know your gear, use it for taking pictures and enjoy photography as much as I do!
The transition from amateur to professional photographer hasn’t been an overnight journey – after all, if it was easy everyone would be doing it, right? Thankfully though, it’s certainly not an impossible feat, being paid to do what I love the most – photography.
Every Photographer has to Start Somewhere
My first jobs or collaborations with brands, companies, models, publications etc. was unpaid. It’s wasn’t all bad though – in return, I started collecting testimonials, adding more professional photographs to my portfolio, and gained that invaluable (and highly sought-after) experience.
Staying Inspired and Creatively Motivated
Anyone working in a creative career, such as photography, will understand the importance of finding inspiration from numerous sources on a regular basis. Being passionate about my work, I find myself trawling the internet for photographers that I admire (Serge Ramelli, a French based photographer remains to this day, an absolute inspiration) and attending photography exhibitions, regularly.
Time to invest in a crystal ball; Phototrinity.com remains a high priority whereby, Jason and I have a vision. Remain Professional, continuously develop our personable yet very professional business manner when dealing with our clients. Be polite, friendly, co-operative, and most importantly skilful.
No one said this journey from amateur to pro photographer would be easy, but one thing is for sure – it’ll certainly be worth it. When I am facing disappointment or just generally having a ‘flat’ day, I visualize how amazing it would be to earn a living from doing what I love.
I carry my camera always with me and all my colleagues and family and friends tease me about it! But it’s my love and I am passionate about it. My mantra;
Photograph what you feel and not what you see…