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Getting started on photography

Updated: Apr 2

I'm excited to be welcoming you to take your first step with me on a lifelong journey of exploration. Photography is a wonderful creative medium, but like all art, everyone shoots for their own reasons.


Let me start by sharing mine.


Some of my earliest memories are of playing with cameras - old Kodak Instamatics, with cube-shaped flashes. These remind me of my childhood in Detroit, and of my late father, who had a few cameras, some of which he occasionally used at work.


I first came to understand the value of photography in my final year of university. I was about to graduate from Bates College in the United States and return to Singapore to serve in the military. I knew I wouldn't be seeing my college friends for years and didn't have any photos to bring home.


I panicked and bought a Polaroid Joycam, which was a hit at parties, and a Nikon Nuvis S200 point and shoot. (Note: In retrospect, I notice that both cameras used uncommon film formats.) I also splurged on a Canon Powershot S10 2.1 megapixel digital camera. The film cameras worked better.


I filled that year with as many photos as I could. They weren't good photos by any stretch of the imagination, but the memories they captured are priceless and I still open those photo albums and have a laugh at my college days from time to time.


I bought my first digital SLR when I was in my early twenties, thinking as most do, that with a better camera would come better photos. I was wrong.


I started to get serious about photography when I began traveling with my wife (then-girlfriend). I felt that same urge that I had felt in my final year of college. Life doesn't give us much time - I wanted to preserve as many memories as I could of all the amazing adventures that she and I have had together.



This desire to preserve memories, and the sense of urgency to do it while we still can, continues to be a big reason why I shoot.


So with that said, let me explain why I'm starting this blog.


Like golf and cooking, better gear doesn't improve your photos unless you understand the gear and how to best use it for your purposes.


I’m starting this blog to:

  1. give you a simple and easy-to-understand overview of how your camera gear works;

  2. teach you how to use what you have to get the best photos you can; and

  3. try and make creating great photos simple, so you can focus on what’s really important – capturing memories.

I hope you find this blog helpful, and that you’re inspired every day to observe and preserve memories in this timeless medium.


- Dharma



Please consider sharing your photos with the community by tagging #dharmaportraits on your Instagram photos - I'd love to see how you're using these tips to create beautiful photos.

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