Part 2: Inspiration started my journey

I firmly believe that anyone is capable of taking a photo that is a special memory of someone’s life. These photos are so special and are often lifelong memories.

Think about how important your photos are – of family, friends or achievements that are important memories and milestones to you. They don’t have to be professional, posed or perfect, they just need to capture a great memory for you personally.

After much deliberation, research and lots of silly questions to online forums, I got my first DSLR camera: a Canon 7D. When it arrived I was shocked at how complex it seemed and was overwhelmed with menus, options, and buttons. I was scared stupid of the dreaded “M” – the Manual option!

I actually though I might break the camera if I used the “M” option!

(c) Andy Edwards, 2016, Fear of the “M” option when I started

I read books, stayed up at night, watch online videos and spent many hours looking at my camera and wondering why the stupid photo was too light or too dark or out of focus.

Eventually, I had a breakthrough. Lauren had decided to take up competitive horse riding and this gave me a purpose, a subject – and lots of time to use my camera.

We went away often on the weekends and I took thousands of photos. I talked to Lauren about why she really needed to see the whole horse in the shot and “did she know how hard it was to get that shot?!”

Many thousands of deleted photos later, I was being praised for the photos I was taking and Lauren was happy to share them on social media…. This was a breakthrough indeed. I was making people happy with my photos. It’s an emotion, a sense of pride, a feeling of doing something worthwhile, a chest puffing moment when you create an image that people love.

I was hooked! I started taking photos of everyone at these equestrian events. I would sit in a field all day long, honing my skills and listening to feedback from the riders: “I like the way the horse’s face looks, I like the angle of that shot, I don’t like my bum in that shot!”

I saw other photographers at the horse events and wanted to talk to them about photography, share ideas and also provide more coverage for the riders, perhaps we could be a community of photographers….

Part 3: Inspiring a community