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April 23, 2011 / Jasmine Lee

How I TRULY Got Into Photography

I’d like to reiterate my story of how I truly got into photography. Some of you may have already read this story through my Flickr, but you haven’t seen all the photos :).

This is my story…

My best friend Steph, also known as “Nerd”, is a freelance photographer. She got a gig to take pictures at World of Dance in San Mateo, October 2009 for so she can post her photos of the event on their website. Since there were three dance events going on all at the same time (choreograph dances, freestyling and breakdancing), she couldn’t photograph the entire event alone. She needed help. So she asked me if I wanted to help her out in taking pictures. I couldn’t let her down since she is my bestie :).

I was really nervous going into the event because I had NO IDEA how to use a DSLR, let alone understand all the the terminology: ISO, aperture, shutter speed ratios, etc. In fact, I had NO interests in photography what so ever. I was the type of person that just snapped photos with no thought.

Anyhow, Nerd assigned me to take pictures of the choreographed dances while she took pictures of the breakdancers. Nerd kept reminding me to not worry and that everything will be okay.

Nerd quickly taught and guided me on how to take pictures with her 5D Mark II. Once she left to take pictures of the breakdancers, the training wheels came off. I didn’t want to let her down and disappoint her with crappy photos. So I really tried my best to take the best pictures I possible could for her.

Throughout the process, I was just hoping that I would get some great shots for her. When we were reviewing the photos that I took that night, she was really happy with the them. This really inspired me to want to get into photography. I was curious about this beautiful art that surrounds us every single day. So that’s when I got the Canon S90 in December 2009 and learned all the basics with that camera. I started the 365 project in 2010 and I’ve learned so much about photography within a short period of time.

My love for photography keeps growing. My passion is blossoming and I don’t plan to quit anytime soon. I want to take this passion far… I dare to take this photography of mine further and to challenge myself. I believe I have finally found my calling… ๐Ÿ™‚

To Nerd: Ever since I have known you, you always had a huge camera glued to your hands. I guess I had the opportunity to try out and play with your camera, but I never took an interest in photography. The camera just looked way too complicated and the basics of photography just scared me away. I am truly thankful you asked me to help you at WOD because if you haven’t, none of my work would have existed today. Thank you for getting me hands on with your camera :). I look forward to many more shootings with you!!!

A few of my photos that I’ve taken from World of Dance. Just remember that these shots was my very first time shooting with a DSLR, so some are not as sharp. Nevertheless, Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

All photos taken with the Canon 5D Mark II, 24-70mm Lens

My favorite shot!! ^^

Quest Crew, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 3 Winners

Quest Crew, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 3 Winners

Quest Crew, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 3 Winners

Quest Crew, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 3 Winners

Quest Crew, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 3 Winners

Quest Crew, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 3 Winners

Poreotics, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 5 Winners

Poreotics, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 5 Winners

Poreotics, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 5 Winners

Poreotics, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Season 5 Winners



Leave a Comment
  1. Howie / Apr 24 2011 8:19 PM

    These are really nice photos! Wouldn’t have guessed these were taken by a novice. And I’m really surprised it wasn’t too long ago that you got into photography. Your photos are so masterful. I would really want to try and take on a 365 day project but I’m not ready yet =) Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Jasmine Lee / Apr 26 2011 11:24 AM

      Thank you so much, Howie! I’m definitely not a master, haha. I am learning as I go.. but hey, I highly recommend challenging yourself with the 365! You’ll be amazed at how far it will take you! It develops your sense of composition, a better understanding of ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed, lighting situations, etc etc… It may even develop your post processing skills! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope to see your 365 one day!

  2. Jim Mourgos / Apr 25 2011 11:30 AM

    Wow, I’m not sure how I would handle that! I suppose I would have put the camera on “program” or some other auto mode. I’ve shot a lot of film with a film SLR and that took some doing. With practice, I was able to master the basics of aperture and shutter speed. ISO was stuck with whatever film I picked up. In recent years I got a Pentax entry level DSLR to begin my digital experience and had to “unlearn” a lot I got from film.

    Even so, you have a natural ability at composition and know when to shoot the photo and I think that’s 90% of the game — to be able to know when to hit that shutter. It takes a certain eye and natural artistic ability that I think I have as well.

    Recently I’ve learned more about lighting a subject, the ability to use manual mode in everything and how to balance and relate my shots to a subject. Not easy, but I’m slowly getting better at it. My best photography comes from events, parades and dances. I have a lot to learn about product photography and still life, which takes another skill set!


    • Jasmine Lee / Apr 26 2011 11:26 AM

      Hey Jim! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I definitely agree that for photography, a photo is all about composition and knowing when to hit that shutter button. Since I got into photography so late, I never had an opportunity to shoot with film… Only the point and shoots, you know? haha. But keep practicing and stay optimistic! Expand your horizons to other fields of photography. I know it will take you even further ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Jim Mourgos / Apr 26 2011 1:38 PM

        Thanks a lot. Glad you liked my Flickr shots under my “Scotman” name. I’ve been practicing a lot and have been shooting studio photos and learning lighting at CCSF (City College). I’m getting good at outdoors street fairs and parades but indoors is still a challenge. Am considering an upgrade to a pro level Pentax (since I have an entry level Pentax), the K5. I know it’s not about the equipment but I would like the flexibility.

        Film is great too, but is getting expensive to get processed and scanned. Some photos, like Fire shots, come out better in film than in digital. And large format film cameras give better quality shots in wedding groups and couples (from what I’ve seen).

        Digital is great for its instant gratification and cheaper processing. I’ve already been a computer nerd for some years so the transition was not too hard.

        See you soon.

        Jim M.

  3. Jonathan / Apr 28 2011 12:49 PM

    Enjoyed reading your story Jasmine. We all have one…that moment where you’re like “hey, I like this….and I’m not that bad at it!” Ok I don’t know about the “not bad at it part” but I know for sure I like it ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Great shots, and I hope your passion stays alive. Laters!

    • Jasmine Lee / Apr 29 2011 11:37 PM

      Thank you, Jonathan! I really appreciate your support :))

  4. herman / May 3 2011 9:54 PM

    Your “very first time” = already great..! (You don’t want to see my very first picture) Like the stopmotion shots of the dancers in mid-air, not something that a “newbie” can pull off I’d think. Also how you framed the pictures, and how you kept the stage level to the bottom of the frame…etc. = great attention to details. You’ve got the talent, and your friend helped to pull the trigger. Great story! Glad to have found your stream on flickr ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Pia / Jun 2 2011 11:57 PM

    It is inspiring to hear your story! Helps me think that maybe I can do it too someday! Really cool what you did with the 365 project, a way to really get into it! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love photography too but are struggling with all the technical stuff and lack of inspiration and things to photograph at times.
    Anyway, I will keep an eye on your blog and flickr ๐Ÿ™‚
    Nice work!


    • Jasmine Lee / Jun 4 2011 12:34 PM

      Hi Pia! thanks for visiting my blog :). The 365 is really an awesome way to study, and learn all the technicalities of using a camera. I highly recommend that you try it out if you are serious about getting into photography :). If you need any help let me know! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Pia / Jun 6 2011 7:23 AM

        Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, maybe Iยดll try that someday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Pamela Lau Marques / Jun 20 2011 6:35 PM

    I hadn’t heard this story. Thanks to you and Nerd for sharing the love! You’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. I’m constantly amazed at your great work! I’ve long been a fan of photography but more from a spectator’s view. Thanks to you and digi cams, I am learning as well. I don’t think I have the same passion behind the lens as you though but that’s okay. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am happy with just appreciating other people’s work.

  7. Marie / Aug 15 2011 10:35 PM

    I’ve been into photography for awhile now but I’m always nervous my pictures will suck. I’ve had a few point and shoots but I got a canon S90 late last year and I’m enjoying it! Hopefully I’ll be ready to take on a dSLR sometime soon ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jasmine Lee / Aug 16 2011 8:54 AM

      When I started shooting, I bought the S90 and that’s the camera that got me into gear. It’s a serious little point and shoot and I advise that you practice with it :). Trying shooting in manual and AV mode. You will get some incredible results with the S90! ๐Ÿ™‚

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