Hello, my name is Gerald Foster. Welcome to my photography site. I thought I’d introduce myself in an unconventional manner, by responding to a few questions I’m often asked. It’s a bit unusual, but I think it will be a good way to give you a deeper insight into who I am.
Most of the time, when people talk to me about my photography, they typically ask the same questions: “How much do you charge?”, “Can you make me look good?”, “Where did you learn to do this?”, “Why photography?”, “How did you get started?”
Let’s start with the last question first and work our way backwards. “How did you get started?” My photography journey started with an informal introduction back in the early ‘90s. A good friend of mine was a budding photographer and I asked him to come by the house and take a portrait of my family. He agreed and when he arrived he brought backdrops, lights, and other equipment. I was caught off guard by all of this but at the same time, impressed and excited. I wasn’t expecting a full studio in my living room! Yet, there he was, setting up the backdrop, placing his stands and testing his lights around the room.
The setup took about 30 minutes and when he was through, my living room was converted into a Sears portrait studio. He skillfully posed me, the wife, and my two sons then started taking pictures. In total, the photo shoot took about 2 hours and throughout the process all I could think about was, “Man, this is cool, I would like to do this!”
“Becoming a photographer is much more than just “pointing and shooting”
Now remember, these photos were before digital pictures, so you didn’t get the instant gratification that you have now. Also, taking a peek at the pictures he just shot and deciding whether or not they were good enough wasn’t an option either. Nope! What he shot then was what we would get later. I won’t tell you how the pictures turned out, I’ll leave that to your imagination, but the impression he made on me that day got me very interested in photography; I was hooked.
A few months later I went out and bought a used camera. Little did I know, or understand at the time, becoming a photographer is much more than “pointing and shooting”. Professional photography is hard work and requires dedication, training and capital. You need a combination of marketing, equipment, artistic, editing, and interpersonal skills to do the job well.
My specialty is portrait photography. With this type of photography, you have to like people. I don’t mean tolerate or just get along with them, you actually have to LIKE working with people. If you’re introverted or shy, this is not the business for you. As for me, no problem; I LOVE people and get along with everyone.
You have to study and practice, a lot. Let me say that again; to be good at portrait photography or any type of photography that you want to pursue professionally, you have to study and practice, a lot. Just like anything else, you have to put work in. This was not a big deal for me because I love to read and prepare before doing anything.
You also need capital. Photography is an expensive hobby and even more expensive if you’re trying to be professional. Yeah, you can get away with some of the low end items and make due with a little less, but eventually you’ll have to dig into those pockets to get the gear you need in order to be marketable to your audience. When you start getting paid for your work, a lot of your gear will have to be duplicated. Nothing’s worse than shooting an event and your gear breaks or it’s damaged. The last thing your client wants to hear is, “Umm, my camera broke and I can’t finish shooting your wedding, I’m sorry.” That’s a recipe for a beat down!
This is where I hit the proverbial “bump in the road”. I had a decent paying job, but I was still in school, had just bought my first house, and my wife was a homemaker. Did I mentioned I had two kids? I didn’t have a lot of disposable cash nor a lot of extra time, so my camera didn’t get the workout I intended and spent a lot of time on the shelf. Eventually, I graduated, got a better paying job, dusted off my camera and sold the kids (just kidding).
“Other than God, nothing is more important than family.”
So, “Why Photography?” Well, it starts with my belief in God and family. More to the point, I believe this is my calling. Why? Because I love people and I enjoy making others smile. I love working with children and hearing their laughter. I enjoy watching a family cuddling as they prepare to take a photo. I enjoy the playfulness that Dad displays with his children as he gathers them to pose for a picture. I love the creativity and technicality of this craft. It’s something I would continue to do even if I wasn’t paid.
Photography flows with my ideology about family. In my opinion, other than God, nothing is more important than family. Whether you believe we crawled out of the ocean or were created by a divine being, either way we all started from one entity. This “one” became many and here we are today. That makes us all family, or “Fam” as I like to call it.
Since family is so important to me, I decided to focus my photography on this genre. My goal, every time I take a photo, is to display the love, joy, tenderness and happiness that each member shares with each other.
Now back to the questions in the first paragraph, “Where did you learn to do this?” My skills are self-taught. Just about everything I know about posing, composition, camera and lighting techniques, I learned from reading blogs, books and practicing. I also watch a lot of videos done by professionals. Special shout out to my brother DC for teaching me a few things you can only learn with ‘hands on’ experience.
Ok, if you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me. The last question I’ll answer here is: “Can you make me look good?” The short answer is, “of course I can.” However, everyone has their own definition of what they think looks good, so my long answer and explanation of “how” is explained during my initial consultation.
“It’s something I would continue to do even if I wasn’t paid”
Enough about me, let’s talk a bit about what I can do for you.
If you have an upcoming graduation and want a portrait to remind you daily of the hard work and dedication it took to complete your education, contact me!
If you have a wedding coming up and want portraits of your nuptials displaying the love you and your mate share for each other; portraits that you can enlarge, print on canvas and arrange proudly in your home, contact me!
If your family is planning a reunion and you want to ensure the event is captured from start to finish and presented in a fashion that will bring tears of joy to your eyes upon every viewing, contact me!
If you want portraits of your immediate or extended family that you’ll hang on the walls of your home and look back on through the years and smile with joy every single time you see them, contact me!
If you want to waste your money and time on badly composed, dark and out of focused portraits that you’ll trash immediately, curse the photographer’s name and swear you’ll never hire another photographer, contact someone else because you won’t get that from me!
That’s me folks. I didn’t forget the “How much do you charge?” question. We’ll get to that on another page of this site. Thanks again for visiting.
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