Saturday, May 28, 2011

How To Get Started In Photography, Part 1

"How do you get started in photography?"

I was asked this question a few days ago.

The person who posed the question was not interested in becoming a photographer. What he really meant to ask was "How did you get started in photography?" Or perhaps he meant "How much time and money did it take to get you where you are?"

The question is actually a good one, and one I believe most people ask (usually to themselves) when they are considering photography. It deserves an answer. And it leads to more questions: What camera should I buy? How much should I spend? What brand is the best? Do I have to get Photoshop? Is my computer good enough? What about film? Do they still even make film? How should I print the pictures? There are many, many other questions, as well.

It can be hard to know where to begin.

First, there are three basic catagories photographers find themselves in: Snapshooter, Hobbyist, and Professional.

The snapshooter is someone who wants to take good pictures, but has no interest in creating art. He or she simply wants to capture the people, places and events around them to post on Facebook or, on occasion, put them in a picture frame or scrapbook. Snapshooters have little, if any, understanding of how photography works and usually prefer cameras that work automatically.

The hobbyist is someone who wants to create art with their photographs. He or she will share his or her creations on Flickr or, on occasion, will frame and matte them to be hung on the wall. Hobbyists will have at least a basic grasp of how photography works and usually prefer equipment that has at least some manual controls.

The professional is someone who earns money from their photographs. He or she may have a website, may be a wedding or stock photographer (or any other genre you can think of), may even have a Blog. Professional photographers have a good grasp of how photography works and usually prefer equipment that has the capability of full manual operation.

Knowing which category you are in and (more importantly) which one you wish to be in is the first step to answering the "how to get started" question.


If your goal is to be a snapshooter, the answer is easy: use the camera on your cell phone. You always have your phone with you, and, as long as you have the quality set to the highest level, it has more than enough resolution for Facebook or 4"x6" prints. Depending on the cell phone and what plan you have, it's also easy to upload to the internet or text, so sharing is a walk in the park.

Pool Chairs & Lake
Goodyear, Arizona
(Taken with a camera on an obsolete 2G cell phone)

Should you desire more resolution (perhaps because you might want 8"x10" prints), a digital point-and-shoot camera is the right choice. Every camera brand has a good quality option for $150 or less. Wait until "Black Friday" or some major holiday when electronics are on sale, and you could spend less than $100. And you'll have all that you need in a camera and then some.

But what about megapixels? What about optical zoom? And which brand is best? It doesn't matter. Any digital camera from any brand that has an MSRP over $100 (and even some that are less than $100) will be capable of producing the image quality you desire. The differences from brand-to-brand and camera-to-camera will be minor, and nothing worthy of worrying over. Yes, there are differences--one might be slightly more user friendly, one might have just a little more resolution, one might have this or that--but for the snapshooter, the differences are hardly noticeable, if at all. Google it, read a few online reviews, and then look for a good sale.

If your desire is to become a hobbyist or professional photographer, the answer is a little more tricky. We'll discuss that in "How To Get Started In Photography, Part 2".

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's In A Name?

You may have wondered why this Blog is called Roesch Photography, why my website is called Sentiment Image, and why I call the wedding side of all this Ritchie A. Roesch Photojournal Wedding Photography.

It seems the names are all over the place.


This Blog predates the website (although not by much). Initially I was going to name the business Roesch Photography, and I named this site accordingly.

While working on the website, my wife came up with Sentiment Image, and I really liked the name. I like what it means on a deeper level. The business slogan very quickly and naturally followed: "Conveying thoughts and emotions through photographs."

A photograph is non-verbal communication. A poorly executed photo is unclear communication, and a well executed photograph is clear communication. Non-verbal communication that speaks thoughts and emotions are the goals of my photography. That's why the name fits so well. Do you see the sentiment?

However, there was one aspect of the business that I fealt Sentiment Image didn't sound as personal as I thought it needed to sound: wedding photography. A wedding is such a big and important event--one filled with emotions and once-in-a-lifetime situations--and it requires the photographer's own feelings and perceptions to capture it correctly.

It really is important who one chooses to photograph his or her wedding.

So for the wedding photography aspect of Sentiment Image I chose the name Ritchie A. Roesch Photojournal Wedding Photography. It has the right combination of "personal" and "vision" that I want to convey. Yet it is still a part of Sentiment Image and what that stands for.

I've thought about renaming this Blog Sentiment Image, and I still someday might. I'm afraid it might lose just a bit of "me" if I do so. After all, this Blog is my thoughts, my feelings, my opinions, and my pictures. Why shouldn't my name be on it?

I digress.

Sentiment Image. Roesch Photography. Ritchie A. Roesch Photojournal Wedding Photography. It's different sides of the same book.

I hope that clears up any confussion.

Now on Facebook!

Find Sentiment Image on Facebook!

Yes, click the link and check it out!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Powers Family Pictures

Here are a few photographs from a recent photo shoot:

 Powers At Sunset
Goodyear, Arizona

 Desert And Moon
Goodyear, Arizona

Rose Field
Waddell, Arizona

There were so many that turned out well--in fact, there were enough to fill a 30 page coffee table book!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

California Trip, Day 1: Horses, Bus and Abandoned House

May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

On the agenda was a drive to Onyx, California to photograph some horses. After that we hiked to a school bus that was washed away in a flood about 40 years ago (and is now half burried) and an old abondoned home.

It was colder than we expected and we weren't quite prepared. There were some clouds in the sky, too, and I wasn't sure if that would be good or bad.

 Sad Horse
Onyx, California

Horse Country
Onyx California

Shy Horse
Onyx, California

 Horse Eye
Onyx, California

 Ear & Mane
Onyx, California

 Backlit Ear & Mane
Onyx, California

Horse Backs
Onyx, California

Horse or Mule?
Onyx, California

Show Off Horse
Onyx, California

 Horse & Fense
Onyx, California

 Running Horse
Onyx, California

 Three Horses
Onyx, California

 Fense Post & Legs
Onyx, California

Lonely Horse
Onyx, California

 Self Portrait (In Horse's Eye)
Onyx, California
 Tangled School Bus
Cane Brake, California

 School Bus
Cane Brake, California

 Thistle Flower
Cane Brake, California

Cut Tree 
Cane Brake, California

Roots From Fallen Tree 
Cane Brake, California

 Green And Red
Cane Brake, California

 Fense Material
Cane Brake, California

 Abandoned Home
Cane Brake, California

 Ladder & Wall
Cane Brake, California

 Abandoned Window
Cane Brake, California

Green Lampshade
Cane Brake, California

California Trip, Day 2: From Lake Isabella to Redlands

May 9, 2011

We loaded up the car, ate lunch at Los Palomo's (very yummy mexican food!), and then headed over to "Uncle Fernando's" house. Just beyond his back yard is a very small gravesite.

The clouds provided some interesting shadows (again), and I wanted to take advantage of that.

After the visit we headed to Redlands via Tehachapi. This is beautiful country, and I wish we had more time to visit. We only had time to "pass through"; however, I did stop a couple times briefly when a potential photograph opportunity caught my eye.

West Meets East
Lake Isabella, California
Shed And Mountains
Lake Isabella, California

Fence Post And Barbed Wire
Lake Isabella, California

White Flower
Lake Isabella, California
Palmer Gravestone
Lake Isabella, California
Three Palmers
Lake Isabella, California

View of Bodfish, California
Lake Isabella, California

 Tehachapi Mountains In Spring
Near Caliente, California

Tehachapi Mountains & Sky
Near Caliente, California

Sunset, Cajon Pass
Cajon Pass, California

Mimi's Cafe
Redland's California

Friday, May 13, 2011

California Trip, Day 3: The Drive Home

May 10, 2011.

The partly (and sometimes mostly) cloudy skies continued to provide interesting lighting and shadow effects. I had not planned to photograph on this day. No, this day was set aside to drive from Redlands, California back to Phoenix. My wife and two kids were very kind and did not seem to mind the stops.


I've made the photographs on this page available for purchase. Simply click the blue "Buy" at the top of the image.

 Train, Desert & Mountain
Near Indio, California

 Train And Mountain
Near Indio, California

 Snow and Sky
Near Indio, California

 Arizona Hills
Between Blythe and Quartzsite, Arizona
 Arizona Hills
Between Blythe and Quartzsite, Arizona
(Same picture as the one above, but made into black and white)

 Arizona Hills and Saguaro
Between Blythe and Quartzsite, Arizona

 Arizona Hills and Sky
Between Blythe and Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite and Clouds
Quartzsite, Arizona

And that concludes the trip!

Some Pictures That A Friend Requested

Pretty much as the title says.

Aspen Tree In Autumn
Flagstaff, Arizona 

Hedgehog Cactus At Sunset 
Goodyear, Arizona

 Wet Pier
Goodyear, Arizona
Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing
Sedona, Arizona

Flower About To Bloom
Scottsdale, Arizona