Getting Started in Photography?

If the camera fascinates you, pick it up and start photographing anything that interests you, anything that gives you feeling, anything that you want to remember.

I started from humble beginnings, as all artists do.

I began photographing back in 2008 with an old digital polaroid camera my parents bought for me. It ran on a couple of AA batteries, it might have been 8 megapixels and I swear it took a solid 5 seconds to zoom all the way out and back in. It would make this slow mechanical noise as the lens moved in and out.

Covered the darn thing in stickers... shoulda' kept it.

I would run around with the other neighborhood children my age and I would take pictures of anything I thought was cool, usually them.

I have tons of old photographs and little funny videos we all made together growing up; along with hundreds of photographs of my dog, Jozie. She would pose for treats in front of my camera and let me do whatever I wanted; so she was my first real paid model.

I thought it was the coolest thing to show my parents what I took pictures of; and for them to actually like some of them? Oh my, I was sure I was on to something.

So lone behold, years go by and I never put the damn thing down. My parents spent the big dollars (it actually wasn't that expensive, maybe 4-$500) and surprised me with a Canon rebel T5i on Christmas. Which I would HIGHLY recommend....

....any aspiring photographer to get. A big black camera with a cool flip-out screen, that could shoot in more than 8Megapixels? I was STOKED.

In this shot the Canon T5i is mounted with a 18-135mm 3.5-5.6 zoom lens, which I bought separately. I purchased it through B&H photo for about $399.

The "Kit Lens" that comes with the camera is usually an 18-55mm 4-5.6; which is still a good lens for starters. If you want more dynamic range and creative options I would reccomend getting the lens featured.

Needless to say, the thing went with me wherever I went and inspired me to get even more creative. It made me feel professional. Plus my creative eye became more and more refined the more I shot with it. Plus when Instagram started becoming popular in 2010 I had friends asking me to take pictures of them in exchange for ice cream or a candy down at the liquor store after school. So getting paid for something I enjoyed in one way or another, I thought was really cool.

As the years went on my artistic hobbies came and went in many directions. I left photography for a while as high school got more serious and I drifted into traditional artwork with pens and ink. Throughout school, I would take the camera with me of course but I didn't have time to get as creative with it as I had wanted. But more or less I didn't have the drive or time to in between studies. I would take candid photographs during bonfire parties on the weekends with my highschool friends. Those photographs were really memorable and I became really in love with photography from a candid perspective as well. I would share those photographs on my Facebook and I would send those photographs to my friends too.

It was really cool being able to show others what was happening through images that made them smile.

In 2015 after I graduated I started growing up pretty fast. I decided to go to community college for a few years while working a retail job. I took as many photographs whenever I could during that time.

Mainly of myself now, all my other friends were in school and going through the same process I was.

I definitely got more artistic during this time. I would style myself in different outfits and set up a little in-room studio. Like I said, humble beginnings, I go through my Instagram archives every once in a while and am inspired by how far I've come.

Eventually after getting tired of taking photographs of myself, Jozie, and my now new cat I decided to get a bunch of my artistic friends together for a fancy makeup photoshoot.

Now, these kids were artists. I had met all these artistic souls during highschool and at various conventions throughout the years... did I mention I got into cosplay for a minute? It makes perfect sense but that's a whole 'nother story. (Cosplay, in one sentence is the crazy cool people you see all dressed up walking the streets during San Diego Comic Con-- Yeah, I did that too.)

... I told them to come over to my place, we had an empty guest room at the time, and I set up a white sheet on one wall and a few lights I had purchased a few days before from amazon. Plus I had a small lamp that I could take the shade off and use it as an additional light source.

They were excited. I told them to bring all their favorite outfits and their makeup skills... and the rest was history.

Fast forward 3-4 years later and here we are dawn of 2020. (Of course I'm writing this during quarantine: April 2020, Helloooooo. Everyone stay inside and entertain yourself for 3 months... woooo!)

Anyways, I had realized that people really liked what I created over the years and wanted to actually pay me substantially for my skills?? Woot Woot! I booked shoots here and there over that span of time and here I am 5 years later with a big expensive camera, some crazy lenses and a website. Got the business license and everything now, and it's got me running around the clock. Don't I feel all professional?

It's definitely been an interesting ride, and I've had my ups and downs. Plus I'm still no where near where I want to be. (There is still SOO MUCH TO LEARN.)

I've decided to make a career out of this. I want to get into high fashion photography and shoot for big names. I want to be the next Helmut Newton or Steven Meisel.

I keep telling myself "Gucci will be calling me one day"

...and if I go really hard at this, maybe they will.

So in short... you think something is cool? Go learn more about it. You never know, it may just give your life some direction.


PS. I'm really not into the idea of student loans and how they're un-erasable unless you're lucky enough to make enough money to pay them off quickly.... but I am considering going to finish school at a university and get a degree in photography.

I'm torn because I don't know how much this would actually help me in getting in front of these big brands, but I think it would be helpful for me to be in a professional studio space more and be around those likeminded people. Connections are more important than they should be, in business.

It's an avenue I am considering at the moment and possibly trying to find a mentor that would be willing to have me assist in more high fashion work... Lots of ideas.

If this blog post reaches anyone and you've gotten this far, I would love to hear your feedback and possible advice if you've been through something like this before; or if you just feel inclined to share your thoughts.

My Email: contact.alexandrabeltran@gmail.comcontact.a

Thanks so much for reading!

Instagram @MyHaloIsPrada

  • Instagram Social Icon

© 2023 by Alexandra Beltran. Created with