What Photography Has Taught Me Throughout the Years

Antelope Valley Poppy Fields, Spring 2017. 35mm shot on a Nikon FM10

I started taking photos at the age of eight with a 35mm toy film camera I begged my parents to order for me from a Scholastic Books catalog. Until this day I can’t quite pin point why I was so determined to own my very own camera, but perhaps it was always embedded in my DNA.

I was so excited the day I finally received the little plastic, rectangular camera in my hands.

It was when I went on a trip to Mammoth shortly afterwards with my family and their friends that I officially knew I didn’t just like taking photos, I LOVED it. Escaping the city and being immersed in nature really did a lot for my young soul. I had never been surrounded by so many trees before until then.

I loved how they helped cover the sun and I loved their texture. I was also captivated by the shape of the mountains, and the way partially melted snow covered the forest grounds.

Nature is a way for us to reconnect with the self. Before modern day civilizations our ancestors lived mostly outdoors, hunting and gathering. Photography has taught me that we can learn a lot from Mother Nature and to appreciate her every single day. After all, she was here first.

Until this day, it’s in nature where I always feel the most alive.

Left: 35 mm, Nikon FM10. Right: GoPro Hero4
Left: Canon 70D, Right: Rebel T3i
Tiffany & Noah, shot on a Sony Alpha a7rii

I took a long hiatus with initiating photo-shoots with people. I put photography on the back burner and mostly just did it for a hobby or as a side job. It wasn’t until I finally got back into it in 2016 that I started taking photos of people again.

Over the years, I’ve typically shot photos of individual people, but this year I ended up taking more photos of pairs and found I really quite liked it. I really love the balance/chemistry and contrast between certain people. While some shots can be posed, I prefer candid shots of people in their most relaxed states.

I also added in some photos of people I shot in threes!

Shot on a Fujifilm x100t
William Haynes, shot on a Sony a7rii

I can’t believe it took me this long to finally use a lens hood and realize how amazing it is in bright sunlight, especially for back lit photos like the above. It really helps maintain the contrast in your photos as well. While I’ve always loved photography, I admit I’ve never been too savvy with the technical side of it, hence why I had no idea using a lens hood was a thing until years later.

With that being said, I highly recommend a lens hood if you’re taking photos at sunny locations like the beach!

35mm Double or triple exposure with light leak, shot on a Diana F+

Reminiscent to the first toy camera I owned at eight years old, toy cameras have evolved into an art form we now call Lomography. Depending on your aesthetic, Lomography isn’t for everyone.

At first glance, these toy camera may seem somewhat easy to use, but it requires more patience and calculation than you think. At times it can be a hit or miss if you are not too familiar with using toy cameras or film. I think they’re a lot of fun though, and definitely recommend anyone try it out at one point in time, especially if you enjoy experimental photography.

Shot on a Fish Eye One, 35 mm
San Francisco, Fish Eye One
35mm, Diana F+
Shot on a Sony Alpha a7rii

Sometimes, I just love to take in the scenery and the beautiful landscapes around me. What more can I say?

Polaroid 600
Left: GoPro Hero 4, Right: iPhone 6s
35mm, Shot on a Nikon FM10
Shot on a Canon 60D

I honestly never thought that I’d enjoy taking photos of kids and kids at parties. I didn’t grow up around a lot of younger people because many of my relatives were all so much older than me, but I’ve come to learn that most kids actually really like me and this makes me happy.

Some kids are going to be shy and others are going to love having their photo taken. The key is to just let them be themselves and capture the perfect moment. Or as Henry Cartier-Bresson would say, the “decisive moment.”

Venturing into abandoned shacks or old houses may sound adventurous, but the reality is that many of these structures are going to be infested with huge black spiders, dirty mattresses, and months or years of dust. If you’re a germ freak like myself, this is a nightmare. But you sure do get some pretty cool photos in the end and get to preserve old remnants of a time forgotten. So is it worth it? Yes, it’s worth it.

Don’t forget to always look up at the ceilings! You never know what spiders will be lurking above.

Shot on a Sony Alpha a7rii
Abandoned farm house, shot on a Sony Alpha a7rii
Abandoned house, taken on a Canon 60D
El Matador Beach. Shot on a Sony Alpha a7rii

The ocean covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface. That’s quite a lot if you think about it.

I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, so naturally I have a ton of beach photos shot with different cameras at different times of the day. I think it’s interesting to see the ocean from different perspectives.

For me, the ocean has always emanated this ethereal beauty that is both haunting and mesmerizing.

Shot on a Instax Mini 8. Left: Huntington Beach, Right: Santa Barbara, CA
San Diego, CA. Shot on a Sony Alpha a7rii
Left: Santa Cruz, Right: Zuma Beach. 35mm, Shot on a Diana F+
Santa Cruz, CA. 35mm Fish Eye One

My world is always bursting with color, but looking back through my old black and white prints has made me feel a whole new appreciation for black and white photography again. I don’t see a lot of black and white film photography so much anymore, so when I look at these black and white images, I see a whole different world from a totally different perspective.

Black and white photography taught me to experiment and to not just utilize textures, but to also utilize shapes and shadows to my advantage.

Photography is both amazing and inspiring for me. All my life it has been a form of expression and a view into how I see the world. There is so much you can do with it!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to hold down that clap button. Help support my work if you can ❤ ko-fi.com/nicomichelle



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Nicolette Michelle Herrera

I write and take photographs. Just another person on the Internet. Based in Los Angeles. https://linktr.ee/nicomichelle