zero-to-hero-ian-smith Ian Smith: From Coach to Photographer

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Ian Smith

 18th Mar 2017

My name is Ian Smith and although originally from the West of Scotland, for the last 10 years I have lived in Malta where i was a national tennis coach and in 2015 moved to the south east of Sweden.

I had an interest in learning photography a few years ago but never had the patience to learn anything about exposure and used whatever camera i had, or more often than not, the mobile phone camera in ‘auto’. I asked a few people that understood more about photography to help but the information always seemed like a language I didn't understand!

Since moving to Sweden in mid 2015 i decided to make a concerted effort and bought a Fuji x100 followed quickly by the x100t. Excellent learning cameras! Both have good IQ and make learning manual exposure much easier. Many online searches brought up a host of courses and tutorials most of which I didn't use. Youtube also have numerous tutorials and the name ‘Mike Browne’ appeared! I watched the tutorials one after the other and most more than once, at that point I enrolled in the 7 Building Blocks of photography course.

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This course provided me with a step-by-step system of learning every aspect of basic photography and beyond. At that stage, the basics were what was needed. Coming from a tennis coaching background, I appreciate the discipline that is required and the need to follow steps. Asking yourself simple questions and not being afraid to try new things has helped me enormously. This course teaches exactly that. I would say that Youtube provides adequate tutorials on just about any genre of photography you are interested in but for me it was important to learn in a well presented format that Mike provides and he also makes sure the entire course was completed. That is important.

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I quickly progressed to the xt1 and more recently the xt2 both of which are excellent cameras and provide enough depth of field, detail, colours and performance to take your photography to the next level. Whether you are a hobby photographer or a pro. I specialise in landscape photography and am lucky to live in Österlen in Sweden which is famed for its special light and quantity of artists. The area is breathtaking and if that alone cannot inspire you to get up and take photos, then nothing will. Being out in nature and at one with the environment is what makes me tick. I love the solitude and the sheer natural beauty of the miles of sandy beaches and rocky crags that Österlen has to offer and I shoot usually twice every day.

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The last 12 months have been a big surprise for me with the local tourism authority using some of my images as well as local newspapers and magazines. My social media pages have taken off very well with good followers and interaction, 2 well known rock bands asking to do live and promo images for a DVD and album sleeves. This success was backed up by an article being published in a prominent landscape photography magazine with 10 images featured and the opening of my gallery in the village of Kivik.

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So basically in 12 months I have gone from beginner to professional and still learning every day. Learning is something I will continue to do each and every day as it’s the key to improvement.

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Whilst i am happy with many of my images, I always want more from them and I always try and push the boundaries in post production.

Thank you Youtube and thank you Mike Browne!

Ian