My Journey in Photography

My journey in photography has been a long, winding road that started so nondescriptly that I didn’t even realize I was on a path. In high school, nearly twenty years ago, I was always the one with a camera (a film camera, too) but not because I liked photography; it was because I valued relationships. I loved having pictures of friends and family to reminisce again and again.

Clip Art — Remember That?

When I started university, I got my first desktop computer, a massive HP that took up a quarter of my dorm room. Although digital cameras were still a few years away from becoming affordable consumer electronics, software existed that allowed you to do very basic photo editing (said software came pre-installed on my HP). So there I was, developing film, printing 4x6 pictures, scanning them on my cool flat-bed scanner (which fellow students would often ask to use instead of waiting in line at the nearest computer lab), and adding some digital effects like bumping contrast and adding a clip-art border — ha!

Eventually I learned more advanced software, including Photoshop, which opened a whole world to me. I was fascinated by the process of turning an average, mediocre picture into something stunning. And although my journey in photography was about to take several unexpected turns, my passion for processing images has never changed.

No Need for Water, Just My Camera

 The lonely but beautiful Kenyan bush at sunset.

The lonely but beautiful Kenyan bush at sunset.

After uni I got my first digital camera, a point-and-shoot, and took it to Africa, where I lived for two years in the bush (no running water, limited electricity). My pictures were not technically remarkable by any standard, but they were personal and, in that way perhaps, they were compelling. Eventually a few people expressed interest in obtaining copies, and I suddenly found myself earning money for my images, which opened my eyes to business.

Time to Get Real

Throughout the remainder of my twenties, I worked abroad and traveled a lot, always taking photos and occasionally selling them as stock. I also started editing images for others, including private clients, agencies, and a publisher. But eventually I reached a limit in my own work and realized that in order to make the kinds of images I admired of others — amazing composites and stunning fine art photography — I needed to learn how to use a “real” camera and get high-quality files to start with. By this time I was also curious about how “real” photographers were able to create many of the same effects in camera that I could create digitally.

Hello, Shim Photography

So only at this point did I begin to learn how to use a DSLR. But not only that; I also learned about composition, light, color, posing, and everything that makes a compelling image. By this time I was a married mother-of-one, but eventually I got all the pieces together — both in photography and in life — and started Shim Photography.

Evolution

Although I went pro, I was (and am) still growing as a photographer and artist — this is both normal and desired, as the minute we creatives believe we know it all (including ourselves), the minute we cease to find inspiration. So the focus of my business has changed a few times; it’s been influenced by both location (we’ve moved a lot) and experience (it took a while to find my niche and develop a personal style). 

Until I officially launched Shim Photography, I never would have guessed that I’d become a professional photographer and editor — never. For 20 years, I was a kid in the backseat of the car, totally on a ride but completely unaware of the destination. Now that I’m here, I plan to stay for a while, but wow… who knows what could be next?