December 3, 2022

The New Dawn of a Father & Daughter's journey into the art of photography

The grueling 8 hour photography class

and a bored 12 year old

Before this course, Abby and I bought some cameras to take photos of nature, to get outdoors more, and to share a common hobby. I decided to enroll us in an 8-hour photography course to understand the basics of photography. Six hours of camera theory and technical jargon surely tested her patience to stay focused on course material she had no desire to learn for more than one hour. But she stayed on course and really tried to learn the material to the best of her ability. She started with a Nikon D3200.

new dawn photo first camera equipment

It was time for an upgrade

With Abby's Nikon d3200 being relatively obsolete but still a great camera, it seemed increasingly difficult to purchase Nikon DX-series lenses and they were not compatible with modern bodies. So the next step was to find great camera bodies with a wealth of features but still relatively easy to use. So we went with the Sony A6600 bodies and lenses that cover a gamut of photography (from macro to nature photography and everything in between).

It was at this moment when we discovered portrait photography

and the passion for photographing people started

It was only supposed to be a course to learn the camera body and its functions so we can take better nature photographs. When they surprised the group with two models to test our skills and see what we had learned from the course, I was intrigued. Abby was excited mainly because she was done taking notes for 6 hours straight.

We realized that WE KNEW NOTHING about our cameras (and it showed)

Out of focus, poor composition, cropped hands, under-exposed, over-exposed, you name it, we did it! While we discovered the genre of portrait photography and had a blast with the models, we soon realized how far we were from understanding our cameras, but I did not let the technicality of photography turn us away. Instead, we faced it head-on and proceeded forward with wanting to learn more about this new desire and intrigue for wanting to take photos of people.

an blurry image of a model posing
an badly cropped image of a model posing
an underexposed image of a model posing
an overexposed image of a model posing

So it begins. Jumping into the deep end!

Time to put what we learned into practice

soaking the knowledge

By this time, Abby and I wanted to explore more portrait photography. While searching the internet for hours on end, I found a photographer, Kelvin Phan (, who, to my surprise and delight, offered OCF (off-camera flash) photography workshops. Great! I signed both of us up in a heartbeat! The night of the photo shoot was cold; we were borderline frozen taking photos of a talented model, but the desire to learn this new concept of lighting with photography kept our souls warm.

a model taking photos with an instructor led group

And the birth of New Dawn Photography started here...