How to retire from being a full time Photographer and go amateur.

Posted by: Classic Connection

I have been taking photographs for almost 50 years. My first “good” camera was a Yashica Mat twin lens . I graduated to a Bessler Topcon when I started my Master’s at University of Bridgeport and needed a 35mm camera for slides . Through the years I have owned many cameras with different formats. Because I printed my own B&W in my darkroom I gravitated to larger formats, mostly 21/4 .
When I moved to my present home  had a friend who was a professional . He shot weddings, advertising , products and models. One day he asked me to help him shoot a wedding . I had a Mamiya C which worked out fine and also started my career as a wedding and event photographer. I shot hundreds of weddings and Bar Mitzvahs as well as family and event photography.
This brings us up to Sammy Shoshan and his company. I needed to replace some older Hasselblad lenses and I found Classic Connection in the pages of Shutterbug. I called Sammy and met with him the following week. I ended up buying three Hasselblad lenses and trading some other equipment I no longer needed . This was about 15 years ago and I have switched from Hasselblads to Canon cameras . I think I have bought about five cameras and at least 7 lenses from Sam. He is a great dispenser of very helpful information and has actually talked me out of buying stuff I didn’t need . The stress part of being a wedding photographer was incredible. Preparation was a long drawn out affair. It started the day after the previous weeks job. I would check my equipment and take the batteries out for recharging. Since everything had a different size battery I had lots of chargers.
For my main camera I used “and still do” a Canon 5 D MKII with a 24 to 105 lens. I used a 50 D  as a back up, with the 18 to 200 lens which was great for wide angle shots such as table shots and large groups. I have a 24 to 70  2.8 which is a must have for every photographer needing a fast lens for available light shots. I also make use of the 100 to 400 zoom lens when long distance shots were necessary, such as shooting from the back of the Church or Temple. All of my lenses are L series glass. I used my flash for every shot both in and outdoors. The canon series 580 ex and 580 ex II were very reliable and easy to add or subtract light for fill or long distances,necessary for wedding shots around a dance floor or outdoors in a park setting.
I really miss using my Hasselblad cameras because I was a much more careful shooter. Remember I couldn’t use the viewer on the back of the camera. As the digital age progressed customers expected not two or three hundred images but eight or nine hundred . When I converted to digital, I went Canon because my 35mm canon lenses were usable on the new cameras. I felt like this new technology made me a machine gunner instead of a marksman. The obvious plus side to digital was knowing if your shot was good. I must admit my earlier training taught me how to compose and anticipate my shots.
Now for the retirement part:
I retired from commercial photography about three years ago with a studio full of good equipment and a great love of photography. In order to continue taking meaningful photos I joined a local camera club. I met many interesting folks from whom I learned one very important fact.
The center of the image is no longer the most important part . I learned the rule of thirds, I learned how to manipulate photos to bring out colors or remove distractions .Thanks to Sam’s arsenal of equipment I made an couple of additional purchases, which are the canon 100 mm macro and the 70 to 200 L series. One of my photos actually won a first prize in a club competition. The photo was of a drop of colored water  splashing into a tray of water.  I now have fun and work for ribbons instead of checks. My stress level has decreases as well as my blood pressure. I strongly advise anyone who is not a pro or who is looking for kindred spirits to find a Camera Club and go to a meeting. One of the side benefits of belonging to a club is belonging to a much larger family of friends.
I recently made a trip to Sedona ,Arizona . Before I went I used the net to see if Sedona had a club. Sure enough it did. I wrote a note to the President of the club and explained who I was and if he could hook me up with some local shooters to guide me around. I connected with four folks who I met up with and spent lots of time In preparation for the trip I needed to decide which equipment to take. I ended up with the 24 to 105 and the 70 to .I also brought the 50 D with it’s 18 to 200 lens .I knew that Sedona has bright colors and lots of sun so I included polarizers for each lens.
There are a few photos included in this arctic le. I took the antique auto photos in an old gold mine/ junk yard. Exposure was frequently a problem. My technique for outdoor photography is simple . I make the first capture using the auto setting . I then check it out on the glass and also look at the histogram. Then I basically bracket my shots and make corrections in post production using CS 5 or Picasa. I also use elements and Bridge. The photos of the cars are intentionally over saturated for an artistic affect. I will use something closer to original when I enter them for competition. While in Sedona I took a trip on one of The Pink Jeep tours . The company was founded years ago by a woman who painted old jeeps pink. Now she has almost 100 of them all new and heavily modified. The tours are quite extensive and take you place you would not be able to get to unless you are in great shape. tours  It was a wonderful experience and one that you should try. Best To all and Thanks to Sam. I included some photos from My Sedona trip.