Before She Was Pro... Old Photos from Shelly Perry

On Wednesday I promised to send you some old pictures from professional photographer Shelly Perry’s portfolio.  Pictures she once thought showcased her best work.

Today, when Shelly looks at these photos, she can’t help but laugh (and doesn’t mind if you laugh, too).

She’s on a perpetual learning curve, she says, which helps her improve each and every day. And looking back at your old work is always a good way to measure your progress.

If you missed Jani Bryson’s “before and after” photos, along with her view on what it takes to be talented, you’ll find them here.

And you’ll find Efrain Padro’s “before and after” photos here.

Scroll down to see those photos that made Shelly laugh.  And use this week’s series of photos from the pros to encourage you to get out with your camera and take some pictures this weekend.  We all have to start somewhere.  The important thing is to just get started.

--Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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June 18, 2010
The Right Way to Travel
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IS ANYONE REALLY BORN A “PRODIGY”?
By Shelly Perry in Portland, OR

On Wednesday, Efrain Padro mentioned attending a seminar with professional photographer Craig Tanner on The Myth of Talent.

I, too, have heard Craig speak.  And his Myth of Talent presentation affected me the same way it affected Efrain.

Essentially Craig’s point is this: We’ve all seen talented artists, musicians, and sports players.  But is anyone really a prodigy?  It’s true  that certain young people may seem to possess an incredible ability.  But the truth is that by the time we see them play in front of a crowd, they have already put more time, energy, and practice into their talent than we can begin to understand.

It’s true that these prodigies may have started with a spark.  But they took that spark and honed it into their craft.

And the same is true with photography. None of us wakes up one morning and says “I want to be a photographer” and that week becomes a talented professional photographer.

To really get good, you have to keep playing, learning, and growing into the photographer you eventually will be.

I can assure you I was not taking pictures like the ones I take today when I first started. And I appreciate that I’m on a perpetual learning curve. I want my photography to keep getting better, so I keep my curiosity and playfulness with photography alive. It helps me to understand, learn, and grow.

And the great thing about photography is practicing and learning can be so fun and engaging that you may not even notice how much you’re improving until later.

For example, recently I was doing some work here at my house and had to sort through some boxes. I stumbled upon some of the very first photos I took in high school… and laughed out loud.

Back then I thought they were pretty good… that in fact maybe I had a “talent” for photography… but looking at those pictures with the experience I have today, I see that what I really had was an interest and a lot of playing and experimenting ahead.

Those old high school shots have since been reburied I’m afraid.  But here are a few more examples of my older work -- even more embarrassing actually -- because these are photos I shot less than 10 years ago… just before I heard Craig’s Myth of Talent speech, actually.

I pulled these out of a file I have called “digital portfolio.” Yes, at one point, I thought these were some of my best work (it’s OK, you can laugh with me):

Old Photos From Shelly Perry

The good news is I’ve improved.  And so can you.

Keep playing. Experimenting. Practicing. Get out your camera and have fun. Take it with you to places you didn’t think of before.

You can get very good if you want to… even make a living at it.

You'll see more of Shelly's recent photos below:

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]