Whether you major in physics or dramatic arts, your schedule is more than likely jam-packed with classes, homework, sports practices and meetings for student organizations. It is hard to find time to even sleep, let alone do the hobbies you love.

Yet some pastimes are easier to incorporate into your daily lives than you would think, and photography is one of them. This artful hobby can be done anywhere at any time: on your way to class, in the library, on the sidelines, and in those few and far between moments of down time.

Senior Annalara Fischer is one of the many students on campus who participates in photography.

“For photography… a lot of people think it’s just a point and shoot deal,” Fischer said. “One of the main things I would suggest is a lot of cameras have an auto feature that’s basically point and shoot with some focus. There are a lot of things like F-stop and aperture and shutter speed that you can change to get a look that you want.”

Getting to know your camera and its features is the best way to start. Experienced photographers usually use nicer cameras with lighting equipment and lenses that are several inches long; however, being a good photographer does not require all of these.

“I use a Canon 70D DSLR. I prefer Canon to Nikon just because it’s easier to use interface,” Fischer said. “But honestly, some phone cameras have better mega pixels than cameras that are a few 100 dollars.”

The Danville Advocate-Messenger’s photographer, Clay Jackson, also suggests basic digital cameras for beginners.

“The digital cameras today are so good in low light situations. For example, I never use flashes anymore at football games or basketball games indoors,” Jackson said. “The lenses are important because you want to get a good one that has a lower aperture so that you can get a faster shutter speed in those low light situations. To be a good photographer, I believe you have to know the details of settings and what your camera can do.”

Photographer: Judi Zhang

Photographer: Judi Zhang

In the same way that painting and doodling allows for artistic (and often therapeutic) expression, photography lets you see the world in new and exciting ways.

“Along with composition you can take any basic art class or look at the work of other people for inspiration. You can see the eye for photography and for the genre that you want to shoot,” Fischer said.

If you decide to start adding photography to the ever-growing list of activities you participate in on campus and find that it’s something you might want to pursue further, the most important thing to do is to study it like any other subject.

“If you are naturally predisposed to the visual arts there are a lot of things you can do to develop your ‘eye,’” Centre’s campus photographer Robert Boag said. “Just like developing your math skills, or musical talents or any other type of education you need to be open to critique, you need to practice constantly (seriously, constantly), you need to study, and you need to surround yourself with people that will push you.”

Boag began his hobby, and later career, in photography when he was 15.

“That initial thrill turned into shooting for the yearbook at my high school, working with the head photographer at William and Mary which then lead me into doing photography in college and working for my university newspaper and beyond,” Boag said. “A career or even a hobby in photography allows you so many unique opportunities and experiences that once you get hooked and are successful, it is hard to stop.”

Photography, like any other specialized skill, can turn into a job or career with the right dedication.

“Turning any kind of art into a job is difficult. The requirements of a hobby/art are different then the requirements of a work/production environment,” Boag said.

Boag had several helpful tips on how a person can become a successful photographer. First, you should learn about your tools, such as cameras, lenses, lighting and more. Then you should work on building a great portfolio with a lot of variance. Also, don’t forget to study photographers you admire to apply what they do to your own work, while simultaneously developing your own unique style. Finally, challenge yourself constantly—stay driven and focused, especially if you want to turn your hobby into a career.

Whether or not you want to turn photography into a career, like any art form, it is an excellent hobby to think creatively and express yourself artistically.

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