What Was Your First Photography Experience?

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This week’s reader question is – What Was Your First Photography Experience?

Think back to the first time that you held a camera.

  • What was the camera?
  • What were you photographing?
  • Was it film or digital?
  • What lessons were you taught in the early days?

Looking forward to reading your stories!

By the way – if you actually have your first image somewhere at hand and would like to show it to us in comments below – go for it!

PS: I’ll kick us off. My first experience with a camera was when I was in primary school. I remember my parents entrusted me with the family camera (it was a film camera, I think it was a Kodak one) for a day because my class was going on an excursion.

The destination of the excursion (and the subjects of my first ‘shoot’) was to see the Prince and Princess of Wales (Charles and Diana) who were visiting Melbourne. They were going to be driving down the freeway near our school.

My parents handed over the camera with the advice to ‘get close’ and ‘don’t take too many photos’.

My results were pretty average. I got two shots of the limousine as it drove past. One of them was framed by Australian flags which I was quite proud of at the time because while it Charles and Diana were nowhere to be seen it did capture some of the feeling of the moment.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Tenzin’sMom

    What fun to read all these answers! I was about 9, I think, when my Dad gave me a Brownie camera. Film of course in those days! His advice was, “If you want to learn to take good pictures, you need to take lots of pictures. And that was great for me as long as he was paying for the developing! I took dozens and dozens of really bad photos, I’m sure. Don’t have any of them, though. Dad was a real camera buff, though, with his favorite being a tiny, shirt pocket sized Minox. When I finally got my Canon XSi last fall, all I could think of was how delighted Dad would have been. And I’m still following his advice!

  • Jerry Walch

    I was nine years old when I received my first camera as a birthday present. I can still see that wonderful camera today just as clearly as if it was sitting here on my desk next to one of my Nikon SLRs. It was a Kodak Brownie Box Camera that took 620 roll film. It wasn’t a new camera, it had belonged to my Aunt but I had been borrowing it for well over a year to shoot pictures of the farm animals as well as to shoot pictures of all our many cats and dogs. That camera got me hooked on photography for life.

    I wish that I still had some of those old black and white photos to share with you but they were all lost when our old homeplace burned to the ground when I was sixteen.

  • barbara

    i didn’t actually OWN a camera of my own until i was in my twenties. disposables were all we were ever able to afford or take out of the house…when i was growing up, my family had very little money. a camera was considered a luxury, so the kodak instamatic film camera only made its appearance for special occasions. when i was ten, my parents had asked me to capture that all important shot of “mom and dad standing in front of the christmas tree”. me?!?!? me use the family camera?!?!?! i remember feeling so nervous…i wanted every element to be just right, and i had an enormous respect for this treasured and awe-inspiring machine. i didn’t know anything, but i knew to shoot vertical. it was an instinct for me to change my perspective. about five years later, my mom received a hardcover photography how-to book. i don’t think she ever looked at it, but i did. in it i read that it isn’t about the gear you have, it’s about the eye you have. and that’s been the biggest lesson, the most prevalent advice, the greatest mantra for me: change your perspective.

  • Paul

    Kodak instamatic that used 110 file and flash cubes back in the late 70’s or early 80’s. A samsung 35mm P&S in the 90’s, and a Canon Elan-7 in 2001. My wife wanted a digital camera so I bought her a Canon G2 in 2002. She gave me one of the little Canon Elph digitals in 2005.

    I really don’t remember much of what I shot with those early film cameras. The Elan-7 was a great body for the $300 or so it cost. I had a 28-135 IS f/3.5-5.6 on it and shot a few weddings, purely for the fun of it as a guest.

    In the past year we have acquired a G11, a 5D Mark II, lenses, studio strobes, light stands, etc. and are slowly going into business.

  • Nancy Merolle

    My first camera was a Brownie Hawkeye black and white film camera and I loved photography as long as I can remember. My strongest memory is when I had an assignment to study the moon in 9th grade and I held my Hawkeye in front of my brother’s telescope and got a really decent black and white photograph of the full moon. It was huge! Can’t find it right now, so you’ll have to believe me. My teacher was impressed and I was thrilled. That was back in the 50s.

  • halmooney

    Kodak Brownie Hawkeye with 620 size B&W film. I was in sixth grade, end of school year, and I wanted to take pictures of my friends before we went on to junior high school. I still have the pictures, not so many of the friends…
    Next big thing was a photography class in high school. By the end of that class I knew I wanted to spend my life as a photographer.

  • I’m well aware that the ubiquitous Kodak Brownie, in it’s various guises, was a popular camera in it’s day, but I’m amazed at just how many photographers had one as their first camera. Was there a law that specified that everyone’s first camera had to be a Kodak Brownie? It seems like it! 🙂

  • mark mcfarlane

    i remember my first experience with a slr film camera, p&S was no problem.Being from a lowly background i had never actually played with anything like this nikon slr film camera. I was on holiday to the USA from Jamaica.My aunt had the camera and it wasn’t being used, so i took it up and fired off all the film throughout the day. Now you may be wondering what was so funny about my experience well when the photos came back every single one was blurry lol. i mean i was wondering why the view finder looked so strange but i never knew about turning the lens to focus after all no one taught me that. i experimented with the camera for the next roll of film and the rest they say is history

  • my first time, holding a proper camera, was when i was 15, (this year) and when i first used it, it was my mum’s 50th birthday dinner. The camera was a Film SLR, a Canon AE-1. it is a beautiful camera to use. My father shares it with me, but i use it the most. i had no lessons, so the shots were completely by chance.

  • I live in a tiny independent country named Estonia. But the first time I ever held a camera in my hand was when Estonia was still occupied by the big and mighty Soviet Union.
    It might have been in 1988, when I actually made my first „real“ photos. By a real photo I mean pictures that are photographed and developed in a darkroom like it was made in the „good old times“.

    My mother was a photographer and thereof I got acquaintanced to photography in a really smooth effortless way, since I practically lived in a photolab.
    She worked in Soviet time photostudio, which produced various document and studiopictures.

    Thats why I got really curious with images. I remember that one of the first cameras I ever experimented with was a classical Smena8. Unfortunately I can’t really remember whether some picture came out of this testing or not.

    But I do remember very clearly the first images that actually went right. These were made with my mothers work camera at the time. It was Zenit E.

    And what did I take a picture of back then? At that time it was really difficult and complicated to get a hold of foreign literature and journals. But next to our house was a newsstand with assortment of some foreign newspapers and journals that strict Soviet regime censorship had actually allowed on market.
    Prevailingly were sold journals from Soviet Union friendly socialist countrys like DDR, Czechoslovakia etc.
    But the funniest thing was, that even those soviet regime friendly journals were really rare – one newsstand got maybe, when lucky, only one exemplar. It would have been especially hard to get a hold of these journals if I wouldn’t have been friends with an older lady that worked in our little kiosk.
    She stored the cooler journals for me, whenever something new arrived So I had a great chance to always take a first look, pick what I liked and buy the journals! Back then it was a real big treat and advantage! But that’s how things actually functioned back in the old soviet times. And that not only with literature, but basically with everything.

    Even buying bananas was quite challenging back then. You had to know the person in charge in the food store to even have a chance in buying a banana. Because it was only five small boxes of bananas for the 20 000 people living in our small town and the queue for buying bananas was thereof more than 200 meters long. The first ones got a banana or two, but the rest of the people only got to catch a glimpse at a banana! Well at least then we got to know what a banana looked like – right?

    But now getting back to the story… I photographed the pictures from the journals with my mothers camera, because there was no such thing as copying machine. And these, especially cool pictures from foreign motorcycles and cars, were really popular in my school. Not everybody could afford a journal. So they got a repro version from the posters from me. I did it for free – it was just cool to share the pictures!

    I saw one of those images in some photoalbum last time I visited my mother. I think it might be the last one that’s left. The picture itself was circa 4×5cm and it had a fancy foreign bike on it – I think it was Kawasaki. Next time I visit my mother, I’ll definitely take the photo with me and add to this post right here.

    Sometimes, when I was especially lucky, I got a hold of some journals from Finland. And back then Finland and all the products from capitalistic western countrys like Finland were something really rare, special and awsome for us estonians! And pictures from superstars like BonJovi were extremely popular, you could tell that by the extremely high demand!

    And whether that’s good or bad, all my early experiments and experience in photography stayed in that analog time. Maybe it was all too much for me and I grew tired of it, because, as I already told before, I practically lived in a darkroom.

    I got befriended again with a camera only in the beginning of 2009. First shots were made with Holga and it was merely for fun. And at the same time I was again charmed! I was rapt from the format „square“ – it’s simply beautiful!
    Practically one year long I took pictures only with analog cameras. During this year I had again the good old Zenit-E, additionally Kiev-4M and the fantastic Pentacon Six.

    And I’m back in shape! Today my photos are again in demand.
    My pictures are now available in Istock online photo library.

    At this point I’d like to thank my dear friends and colleagues, who showed me the way back to photography. Many thanks to taiko and kaaderdaja and ken and peeterv.

    Let’s make the time stop with our pictures!

  • It seems that you have put a number of effort and laborious work into your post and I require far more of these on the net in latest times. I sincerely obtained a kick out of your post. I don’t actually have significantly to say responding, I only needed to comment to answer amazing work.

  • 72. I have recently started a web site, the info you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  • My first experience was with the old Zeiss-Icon 35mm I inherited when my dad passed away. I was thirteen that summer and just getting into horses regularly. I ran around the stable taking pics of my horse and my friend’s horses. That fall, in 9th grade, I had a teacher who gave me instruction in technique and B&W developing. It grew from there and now I shoot equine events commercially and get published regularly. By the way, I still have that old Zeiss-Icon!

  • Marian

    My very first experience was with Praktica film SLR. My uncle get it to me with 50mm prime lens. I used it to shoot our family. The first class I took was the composition class.

  • First photographs taken on 120 roll film using a Kodak Box Brownie camera. Instructions were.. make sure the Sun is at your back, then wait 4 days for the film to be developed and printed. Only 8 photos per roll of film.

Some Older Comments

  • Ken Ward April 21, 2013 04:54 am

    First photographs taken on 120 roll film using a Kodak Box Brownie camera. Instructions were.. make sure the Sun is at your back, then wait 4 days for the film to be developed and printed. Only 8 photos per roll of film.

  • Marian April 21, 2013 03:55 am

    My very first experience was with Praktica film SLR. My uncle get it to me with 50mm prime lens. I used it to shoot our family. The first class I took was the composition class.

  • Becky March 29, 2013 05:36 am

    My first experience was with the old Zeiss-Icon 35mm I inherited when my dad passed away. I was thirteen that summer and just getting into horses regularly. I ran around the stable taking pics of my horse and my friend's horses. That fall, in 9th grade, I had a teacher who gave me instruction in technique and B&W developing. It grew from there and now I shoot equine events commercially and get published regularly. By the way, I still have that old Zeiss-Icon!

  • Junita Denafo April 29, 2011 10:23 pm

    72. I have recently started a web site, the info you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  • JFK Airport Limo December 29, 2010 02:21 pm

    It seems that you have put a number of effort and laborious work into your post and I require far more of these on the net in latest times. I sincerely obtained a kick out of your post. I don’t actually have significantly to say responding, I only needed to comment to answer amazing work.

  • albert kerstna April 6, 2010 07:06 am

    I live in a tiny independent country named Estonia. But the first time I ever held a camera in my hand was when Estonia was still occupied by the big and mighty Soviet Union.
    It might have been in 1988, when I actually made my first „real“ photos. By a real photo I mean pictures that are photographed and developed in a darkroom like it was made in the „good old times“.

    My mother was a photographer and thereof I got acquaintanced to photography in a really smooth effortless way, since I practically lived in a photolab.
    She worked in Soviet time photostudio, which produced various document and studiopictures.

    Thats why I got really curious with images. I remember that one of the first cameras I ever experimented with was a classical Smena8. Unfortunately I can’t really remember whether some picture came out of this testing or not.

    But I do remember very clearly the first images that actually went right. These were made with my mothers work camera at the time. It was Zenit E.

    And what did I take a picture of back then? At that time it was really difficult and complicated to get a hold of foreign literature and journals. But next to our house was a newsstand with assortment of some foreign newspapers and journals that strict Soviet regime censorship had actually allowed on market.
    Prevailingly were sold journals from Soviet Union friendly socialist countrys like DDR, Czechoslovakia etc.
    But the funniest thing was, that even those soviet regime friendly journals were really rare – one newsstand got maybe, when lucky, only one exemplar. It would have been especially hard to get a hold of these journals if I wouldn’t have been friends with an older lady that worked in our little kiosk.
    She stored the cooler journals for me, whenever something new arrived So I had a great chance to always take a first look, pick what I liked and buy the journals! Back then it was a real big treat and advantage! But that’s how things actually functioned back in the old soviet times. And that not only with literature, but basically with everything.

    Even buying bananas was quite challenging back then. You had to know the person in charge in the food store to even have a chance in buying a banana. Because it was only five small boxes of bananas for the 20 000 people living in our small town and the queue for buying bananas was thereof more than 200 meters long. The first ones got a banana or two, but the rest of the people only got to catch a glimpse at a banana! Well at least then we got to know what a banana looked like – right?

    But now getting back to the story… I photographed the pictures from the journals with my mothers camera, because there was no such thing as copying machine. And these, especially cool pictures from foreign motorcycles and cars, were really popular in my school. Not everybody could afford a journal. So they got a repro version from the posters from me. I did it for free – it was just cool to share the pictures!

    I saw one of those images in some photoalbum last time I visited my mother. I think it might be the last one that’s left. The picture itself was circa 4×5cm and it had a fancy foreign bike on it – I think it was Kawasaki. Next time I visit my mother, I’ll definitely take the photo with me and add to this post right here.

    Sometimes, when I was especially lucky, I got a hold of some journals from Finland. And back then Finland and all the products from capitalistic western countrys like Finland were something really rare, special and awsome for us estonians! And pictures from superstars like BonJovi were extremely popular, you could tell that by the extremely high demand!

    And whether that’s good or bad, all my early experiments and experience in photography stayed in that analog time. Maybe it was all too much for me and I grew tired of it, because, as I already told before, I practically lived in a darkroom.

    I got befriended again with a camera only in the beginning of 2009. First shots were made with Holga and it was merely for fun. And at the same time I was again charmed! I was rapt from the format „square“ – it’s simply beautiful!
    Practically one year long I took pictures only with analog cameras. During this year I had again the good old Zenit-E, additionally Kiev-4M and the fantastic Pentacon Six.

    And I’m back in shape! Today my photos are again in demand.
    My pictures are now available in Istock online photo library.

    At this point I’d like to thank my dear friends and colleagues, who showed me the way back to photography. Many thanks to taiko and kaaderdaja and ken and peeterv.

    Let’s make the time stop with our pictures!

  • Ross Loades April 1, 2010 12:50 am

    my first time, holding a proper camera, was when i was 15, (this year) and when i first used it, it was my mum's 50th birthday dinner. The camera was a Film SLR, a Canon AE-1. it is a beautiful camera to use. My father shares it with me, but i use it the most. i had no lessons, so the shots were completely by chance.

  • mark mcfarlane March 30, 2010 12:48 am

    i remember my first experience with a slr film camera, p&S was no problem.Being from a lowly background i had never actually played with anything like this nikon slr film camera. I was on holiday to the USA from Jamaica.My aunt had the camera and it wasn't being used, so i took it up and fired off all the film throughout the day. Now you may be wondering what was so funny about my experience well when the photos came back every single one was blurry lol. i mean i was wondering why the view finder looked so strange but i never knew about turning the lens to focus after all no one taught me that. i experimented with the camera for the next roll of film and the rest they say is history

  • Roly Williams March 29, 2010 10:48 pm

    I'm well aware that the ubiquitous Kodak Brownie, in it's various guises, was a popular camera in it's day, but I'm amazed at just how many photographers had one as their first camera. Was there a law that specified that everyone's first camera had to be a Kodak Brownie? It seems like it! :-)

  • halmooney March 29, 2010 09:34 pm

    Kodak Brownie Hawkeye with 620 size B&W film. I was in sixth grade, end of school year, and I wanted to take pictures of my friends before we went on to junior high school. I still have the pictures, not so many of the friends...
    Next big thing was a photography class in high school. By the end of that class I knew I wanted to spend my life as a photographer.

  • Nancy Merolle March 28, 2010 11:08 pm

    My first camera was a Brownie Hawkeye black and white film camera and I loved photography as long as I can remember. My strongest memory is when I had an assignment to study the moon in 9th grade and I held my Hawkeye in front of my brother's telescope and got a really decent black and white photograph of the full moon. It was huge! Can't find it right now, so you'll have to believe me. My teacher was impressed and I was thrilled. That was back in the 50s.

  • Paul March 28, 2010 09:32 am

    Kodak instamatic that used 110 file and flash cubes back in the late 70's or early 80's. A samsung 35mm P&S in the 90's, and a Canon Elan-7 in 2001. My wife wanted a digital camera so I bought her a Canon G2 in 2002. She gave me one of the little Canon Elph digitals in 2005.

    I really don't remember much of what I shot with those early film cameras. The Elan-7 was a great body for the $300 or so it cost. I had a 28-135 IS f/3.5-5.6 on it and shot a few weddings, purely for the fun of it as a guest.

    In the past year we have acquired a G11, a 5D Mark II, lenses, studio strobes, light stands, etc. and are slowly going into business.

  • barbara March 28, 2010 09:12 am

    i didn't actually OWN a camera of my own until i was in my twenties. disposables were all we were ever able to afford or take out of the house...when i was growing up, my family had very little money. a camera was considered a luxury, so the kodak instamatic film camera only made its appearance for special occasions. when i was ten, my parents had asked me to capture that all important shot of "mom and dad standing in front of the christmas tree". me?!?!? me use the family camera?!?!?! i remember feeling so nervous...i wanted every element to be just right, and i had an enormous respect for this treasured and awe-inspiring machine. i didn't know anything, but i knew to shoot vertical. it was an instinct for me to change my perspective. about five years later, my mom received a hardcover photography how-to book. i don't think she ever looked at it, but i did. in it i read that it isn't about the gear you have, it's about the eye you have. and that's been the biggest lesson, the most prevalent advice, the greatest mantra for me: change your perspective.

  • Jerry Walch March 28, 2010 07:25 am

    I was nine years old when I received my first camera as a birthday present. I can still see that wonderful camera today just as clearly as if it was sitting here on my desk next to one of my Nikon SLRs. It was a Kodak Brownie Box Camera that took 620 roll film. It wasn't a new camera, it had belonged to my Aunt but I had been borrowing it for well over a year to shoot pictures of the farm animals as well as to shoot pictures of all our many cats and dogs. That camera got me hooked on photography for life.

    I wish that I still had some of those old black and white photos to share with you but they were all lost when our old homeplace burned to the ground when I was sixteen.

  • Tenzin'sMom March 28, 2010 06:04 am

    What fun to read all these answers! I was about 9, I think, when my Dad gave me a Brownie camera. Film of course in those days! His advice was, "If you want to learn to take good pictures, you need to take lots of pictures. And that was great for me as long as he was paying for the developing! I took dozens and dozens of really bad photos, I'm sure. Don't have any of them, though. Dad was a real camera buff, though, with his favorite being a tiny, shirt pocket sized Minox. When I finally got my Canon XSi last fall, all I could think of was how delighted Dad would have been. And I'm still following his advice!

  • Jennifer M. March 28, 2010 04:38 am

    I was about 6 or 7 years old and my dad let me take a picture of him with his 35mm point and shoot film camera (of course, ALL cameras back then were film!). I am not entirely sure where that photo ended up, but I can still remember the shot. I was so proud of myself!

  • Jesse March 28, 2010 03:31 am

    I got my first camera when I was eight. It was for Christams, and the camera was a Canon point and shoot that was probabl two inches thick with one of those itty bitty screens. I was so stoked. I remember taking pictures of everthing, mostly my two dogs and my family. My first serious camera was the one that I still am using now. I got it about two years ago when I was around 13 (Yeah, i'm only 15). It's a Canon EOS Rebel XT. My grandma got me started with technique by printing off a huge stack of posts from DPS for me to read and Ive been stuck here ever since!

  • Sonya Payne March 28, 2010 01:54 am

    When I was about 11 or 12, my dad bought me a small Kodak camera that took 110 film.. I always shot in black and white because I thought it looked more mysterious...or at least that's what my dad believed :o). I took frequent pictures of my family and friends. I earned that I had to really concentrate on not cutting the heads ff my subjects....LOTS of headless people in those early photos!

    [eimg url='http://www.nwmangum.com/Kodak/images/ti18-1.jpg' title='ti18-1.jpg']

  • SexyNinjaMonkey March 27, 2010 10:15 am

    Would've been in highschool around 2001 doing a small photography class as an extension of art playing with film cameras. I took the camera home for my 17th birthday and took pics of my party, people getting stoned, drinking heavily and just generally trashing about. I obviously learnt very little at that time. It wasn't till like 3 years later when I got my first dSLR that I actually started to learn anything. But it was that party where I discovered the fun of being a photographer.

  • Brian Bivolcic March 27, 2010 07:22 am

    It was back in high school, late 70's. Use my fathers old Vivitar (I think it's from the 50's or 60's)
    It was a B & W class we developed and printed our own pictures. Always wanted a darkroom at home. Had a great time, skipped other classes to be in the photo lab.

  • katka March 27, 2010 06:17 am

    hmmmm... I do not remember my first photo because we always had a camera at home so I'm sure at some point my parents let my just point it at somehting and shoot, but I do remember MY first camera - it was a Christmas gift from my dad and it was a Zenit camera (i think this one http://www.zenit-camera.com/zenit-et-slr-camera-black.htm ) and I still have it. And now that I think about it I think I'll start using it again :)

  • Terry Straehley March 27, 2010 05:52 am

    The earliest photography experience that I can remember is when I was I think about nine years old. I already had a camera, probably a Kodak Box camera (film for those of you who don't remember). We were visiting in Philadelphia and staying in a hotel and I had just gotten a set of trays and chemicals. I had a roll of pictures that I had shot and wanted to see. So I mixed the chemicals and set the trays on a high shelf in the hotel room closet and standing on a chair ran the film up and down in the chemicals to develop and fix it.
    I think for the next Christmas I received a somewhat more advanced Kodak camera and I was able to find a picture of it , which I have attached. Later I got a Kodak 35mm camera and took a lot of pictures during junior high and high school. When I was in college, I switched to color slides. All the pictures that I took before that time have disappeared.[eimg url='http://photos.strassoc.com/photos/738234647_FZU8t-M.jpg' title='738234647_FZU8t-M.jpg'][eimg url='http://photos.strassoc.com/photos/738234713_23ZdH-M.jpg' title='738234713_23ZdH-M.jpg']

  • Roly Williams March 27, 2010 12:59 am

    Would that be the Minox you're talking about? If so, I had (still have, somewhere) one of those. I think Minox was German so maybe we are thinking of different things. IIRC, the film was 9.5mm.

  • peter kovak March 27, 2010 12:21 am

    I remember back in the seventies a Russian spy-like camera, don't remember its name, smaller than half the palm of the hand, with the film not wider than 8 or maybe 10 mm, and I remember myself developing the film in the bathroom (!). The camera was very simple, with fixed lens length and fixed aperture, so I could play only with the shutter speed. I had some nice (sometimes) shots of my friends and of the places I used to visit. To my regret those photos are lost. Anyway, I don't think they're a great loss to the next volume of the "World History Of Photography" !!!

  • Ben March 26, 2010 05:58 pm

    It was about 1 and a half years ago. I was using a coolpix 8700 and had it on sunset mode. It was early evening and I got this:[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/arandomkiwi/4416397294/' title='' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2741/4416397294_c4a23c9e1c.jpg']

    It broke later on and I got Coolpix P90 family camera which was the point where I always shot manual. Moved on to my own new camera which I got a few weeks ago for my 15th birthday. Its a EOS 500D and i've put some pics up on flickr!

  • Lale G March 26, 2010 05:34 pm

    I don't count the times I ran around with my P&S- treating the experience like photography never even entered my mind. I was fifteen years old and had just taken a really bad photo of my new cat to show my granddad. He took one look at it, wrinkled his nose and said 'we need to get you a new camera.' So, he dug a Canon EOS 400D and a Sigma 17-70 lens out of his cupboard, handed it over without so much as an instruction manual OR a charger, and let me loose.

    I'm pretty sure that the first photo I took was of the cat. :)

  • Albert Balch March 26, 2010 05:09 pm

    In 1958 when I enlisted in the US Navy reserves about a year and a half before graduating I bought an Agfa 35 mm manual camera with no electronics with part of my first paycheck...I purchased it from the Sears Catalog...After buying a roll of kodak BW film I took it on a hike in the Olympic Mountains to an area called the Sawtooth Ridge and camped at flapjack lakes..The next day we hiked to a place called black and white lakes and took what to me were a very fine set of photos...(they were really crummy) I have been back there many times to camp, photograph, and climb...The last time was in 1990 just before a heart attack and 5x bypass...I now shoot digital and confine my trips to the southern Oregon coast by van with a long time friend. I have been very fortunate to be a part of enjoying the growth and changes in the hobby for ove 50 years now... It is still just as exciting as ever....

  • Miguel Carvajal March 26, 2010 10:52 am

    Wonderful topic! I got my first camera and took my first photo in the summer of 1975, right before I started high school. I grew up in Mexico and I saved up all the money I've earned through the summer jobs to purchase my very first camera, a Kodak Brownie Fiesta, which was nothing more than a box with a fixed lens, a range finder, and a shutter trigger. It used 127mm roll film, which yielded a very large negative and the photos were crisp and clear if they were taken outside in broad daylight. The first few photos I took were of my siblings at home. Because I've moved to live to the USA, all those photos I took stayed in Mexico with my relatives in their photo albums.
    Almost ten years later, in the winter of 1984, I purchased my first 35mm SLR camera, a Canon AE-1 Program with a 50mm f/1.8 standard lens. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I took a short photo class at a community college to get me started and then I used to take photos of everything and spent a fortune in film and developing. Eventually I learned to develop my own negatives, but enlargers were too expensive for me so I always had my photos printed by an outside lab.
    Through the years I upgraded my photo equipment several times, going from the Canon A-1, the Minolta Maxxum (the first autofocus camera), the Canon T90, and several others until I arrive to the best camera I've ever owned, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
    I love photography because of the ability it gives me to freeze time, first in a celluloid frame that could be transferred to a piece of paper, and now in pixels that I can manipulate at my leisure without going bankrupt.
    To see photos of the Kodak Brownie Fiesta camera, you can visit http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Kodak_Brownie_Fiesta

  • Bernie March 26, 2010 10:31 am

    My first experience was with a Kodak Brownie givin to me from my aunt and went to the cleveland zoo had a great time and believe it or not all the photos came out

  • Marisa Terres March 26, 2010 10:14 am

    I don't exactly remember my very first but I was usually allowed to use those single use cameras for certain pictures if I wanted to on our family vacations, and I'm guessing I was as young as 4 or 5 when I got one all for myself and didn't have to share. I always liked taking pictures of bugs, reptiles, sunsets and landscapes and I almost never took pictures of people. I know I got a lot of my interest from my Grandpa as he almost always had a camera in his hands and was known for burning through roll after roll no matter what the cost. It was also one of my last memories of being with my Grandpa as we went on a trip to a butterfly garden and he let me use his nice SLR for a whole roll. I'll always cherish those moments and whenever I have a camera in my hand I think of him :)

  • Mike Mospan March 26, 2010 09:49 am

    My first photography experience was about 1950-. In used a KODAK Brownie film camera (B&W film to take photographs at a recreatioanl park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. I mainly was fascinated with the multitude of squirrels in the park and took photos of them being fed by hand and just acting curious. I was instructed not to shoot directly into the un and hold the camera steady. I was 8 years old at the time but developed a pasion for taking photos that never developed until I could afford my first 35mm film camera 24 years later.

    I have had friends who were professional photographers who used to describe me as a serious amateaur with a natural ability to compoase photos.

    I now use digital point and shoot and diital SLRS for travel, local events and family events. Have salvaged my PENTAX SLR lenses (12) with a PENTAX DSLR. Also use Mimolta and SONY DSLR bodies with interchangeable lenses (old film and new digital)..

  • Matthew Moore March 26, 2010 06:18 am

    My first experience with photography was a photography class that I took back in High School. This unfortunately did little to inspire me. It was many years later that I had a manager in a place that I worked that did photography as a hobby and would bring in a framed picture that he took each week that really inspired me to try photography again.

    I purchased an HP 2MP Digital Point and Shoot when my second son was born and this started my hobby in photography. I was able to take some very good pictures with that camera however I was very limited as it did not have any zoom or the ability to make any creative changes to the way the picture was taken.

    I was finally able to convince my wife to get me a Canon Rebel XT (mainly due to her best friend getting married and needing someone to take pictures at the wedding). This was my baptism by fire in the field of photography. I did not know how to use the camera (having just purchased it 3 days before the wedding) and not having used a SLR camera since my photography class in high school. I quickly learned how to work the camera to take the most basic types of shots for the wedding. Since then I have been hooked and have been working to improve my skills by reading everything that I can on the subject.

    My only wish is that I had been wiser and had been able to see what a great opportunity that photography class in high school was and had paid more attention.

  • M2 Photog March 26, 2010 05:51 am

    My dad owned a photography studio. I grew up in his dark room. Some of my earliest memories revolve around the darkroom and going out on jobs with him. Sitting and watching him do college year book photos was not very exciting at the time but it ended up shaping my future. The first camera I remember was given to me by my father.

  • Rob March 26, 2010 05:48 am

    My first Experience was as a child with a kodak brownie given to me by my father. It had been given to him as a child, but he had no interest in cameras or photography, which was suprising since his family had a 50 year old camera making business ( Gandolfi ) in london.

    It was in black and white and everything was manual, winding the film on,even loading the film from a roll in a darkened room.
    The photograph itself was of a swan on the llangollen canal taken whilst travelling on a narrow boat.. The photo was blurred.

    I learnt to take photos either standing still or to compensate from the movement.

    The cost of processing did deter me from making it a serious hobbey until digital came in and i took it more seriously.

    When my daughter gets big enough to hold a camera , i will give her a small PS camera and let her imagination run wild.

  • Sudipta March 26, 2010 05:03 am

    Kodak KB10 Film camera (no auto rewind). Full post here

  • Bea Farris March 26, 2010 04:51 am

    In the mid 50's my mother had a Brownie Box camera. She let me take photos with it. I had to hold it against my body to steady it and according to her instructions took two shots of each picture to make sure one was good. Of course black and white film was all that was available. Later I got my own cheap little camera that had a flash attachment for Christmas. All the while I would notice folks who had 35mm cameras and was intrigued with the quality of their photos. Now I have a Canon 50D and love it. Have a lot to learn, but having a ball doing it.

  • Brent March 26, 2010 04:41 am

    I was about 6. My father was a flower child hippie. His hair was long enough that he had just put in up in a ponytail for the first time. He handed me his polaroid instant camera. I snapped the image as he leaned forward to point out which button to push. Not a bad photo of him pointing frustratedly at me. Don't know if he still has that photo but it is still etched in my mind.

  • Jason Collin Photography March 26, 2010 04:18 am

    It's hard to say what my first photography experience was, but I can clearly remember my first digital photography experience, which was in 2001 with an Olympus 2040 2MP camera bought in Seoul, South Korea. It had a very fast f/2.8 fixed lens. I took it with me on many of my first trips to SE Asia, especially to Cambodia later in 2001, one shot from that trip can be seen here taken by that Olympus:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/about/

    Sadly, that camera was stolen in Miami, Florida in 2003. I am sure I would still have it and maybe even use it to this day if not for the crime problem in Miami.

  • chris March 26, 2010 03:31 am

    my first camera was my dads old Prackica BC1 with a pracktica 50mm F1.4 lens (i still have and sometimes still use it). my first time with it was at a party at my granny's house I used an entire roll of film photographing my family, they were not great images but i was only 5 ( Im now 19). unfortunately i do not have any of the developed photographs to show, as they have gotten lost over the years.

  • bigj866 March 26, 2010 02:53 am

    My dad went to school to be a photographic technician and loved photography. I always remember grabbing his flashgun as a young kid and turning the lights out and flashing it around the room.

  • Alicia Ferraro March 26, 2010 02:48 am

    I can't remember the name of my first camera, it was a simple point and shoot that my parents bought me for trips and events with our youth group but rather than photographing family and friends I was drawn to the landscapes and architecture and animals, anything in nature that surrounded me... then when I was in high school, my Dad gave me his old Minolta RX7 fully manual camera with a 50mm prime and 105mm prime lens... I LOVED that camera and I have been hooked and taking photos ever since!

  • Zack Jones March 26, 2010 02:43 am

    My first experience with a camera that I remember was in front of the lens, not behind it. I can remember posing for my dad as he tried different settings on his camera. Later I remember him coming to my high school football (USA variety) games and taking photos of me while I played. It wasn't until I was stationed in Iceland (1983 - 1984) that I started shooting a lot. My first camera was the Canon AE-1 Program. I wanted that model over the standard AE-1 due to the Program mode the camera had. I shot a ton of pictures with it and just by chance I was going through some boxes the other night and found several sleeves of negatives that I plan to send off to have scanned into digital images. I'll be interesting to see how my photography skills compare between now and way back then.

  • Ian March 26, 2010 02:38 am

    My first camera experience was with a very basic Pin hole camera when i was at primery school in the early 1970's one of the teachers showed us how to make a pin hole camera out of a cardboard box with a piece of black tape over the hole.
    it was loaded at the back of the box with a square of black and white photo paper the images that it produced were a little out of focus but you could just about make out what the image was ever since then i have been hooked.

  • Kristine Dupuy March 26, 2010 02:22 am

    My first camera was a Holly Hobbie toy camera that my Aunt bought me on my birthday when I was 5. I loved that camera, I thought it made me so grown up to have a camera. Most of the time I just pretended to take pictures because my mom didn't want to get me the 110 film and have me waste her money wasting the film, but on special outings (or if she was feeling really generous that day) she would get me a roll of film. The first time we ever went to the beach, she bought me a roll & I took pictures of her tanning on her blanket in the sand. I looked at those pictures for years afterward, remembering how pretty I thought my mama looked that day in her bright purple bikini with her hair in braids. I'm not sure where those pictures ended up, she may still have them for all I know, but that is my first memory of ever taking REAL pictures with my camera. My first REAL SLR camera experience was with a Canon film camera. My best friend was selling hers & I thought I might take a look at it & see if photography as a hobby was something I might like to do. I went to her house one day & she let me try it out & when I got the film (B&W) developed, everyone in the room got real quiet when I shared them. My heart sank & then someone said "Oh my GOD these are GORGEOUS! You really have some talent!" From then on...I was hooked!

  • Jackson March 26, 2010 02:14 am

    I am 16 and have developed a strong interest in photography over the past three years after seeing my dad's big DSLR camera. I would have to say that my first time to ever take a picture was when i was about 5 or 6 years old. i still have the camera, although it does not work. It is a Vivitar cv35 film point-and-shoot.

    I now own my own DSLR, a Nikon D40. It is great for beginner SLR photographers. I plan on carrying on with what my father enjoys as a strong and compassionate hobby.

  • Sarah March 26, 2010 02:13 am

    When I was about 5 or 6, I became in charge of the old Polaroid for family events. My uncle handed it to me and I had like, ten cartridges of Polaroid film to use for the evening. I loved that job so much. I did it for a few years, as did my sister before me.

    I remember using the family cameras on and off if I "needed to" take a shot of someone else. I had one of those cheap 110-film long cameras as a kid and shot a few rolls of film off with that.

    In May of 2001, I was fresh out of 8th grade with some graduation money and I bought a Sony FD75 which recorded right to floppy disk! 40K a photo! LOL! I loved that thing and took over 400 floppies' worth of photos with it until December 2003 when I upgraded to a 4MP point-and-shoot. The rest is history.

  • Scherbach March 26, 2010 02:13 am

    My first camera was old soviet Zenit. It's a completely mechanical film SLR, equipped with built-in light meter, though I still had to set the aperture and exposure manually. I preferred to take pictures of my friends.
    The experience I had got from using zenit is great. I've learned wat is shutter speed, aperture, ISO sensitivity, DOF and many others.

  • Roly Williams March 26, 2010 01:57 am

    My first experience behind a camera was about 50 - 60 years ago and I can't remember it. My first camera of my own was a Kodak Brownie - 127 roll film - 8 shots per film! It's first use was on a school trip and I don't remember much about that either, and I don't have any of the results.

  • Bobbi March 26, 2010 01:50 am

    I received my first camera when I was 13, it was the Kodak Disc camera.
    Don't remember it? Well, for a good reason! Horrible grainy shots, not like it mattered
    because I primarily took shots with subjects barely in the photos, at crazy angles etc
    After I developed the first "disc" I changed my shooting style but was never pleased with the
    quality of the photo. I was hooked regardless, and could not wait to upgrade to another camera!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idYto1Wh9_E

  • Al Chapman March 26, 2010 01:37 am

    It was a fancy leather covered 35mm Film camera my Dad brought back from Japan after WWII.

  • Michael March 26, 2010 01:36 am

    My FIRST camera experience was with this little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles camera I had recieved when I was younger...maybe 11-13ish. I remember going around and taking pictures of everything in our backyard. Not quite sure as to what my motivation really was but I can remember playing around with perspective and trying to understand how this interesting tool was to be used. A few years later I got a Canon EOS Rebel G and the ball really got rolling.

  • BizanBandit March 26, 2010 01:10 am

    My first camera was a custom pinhole camera that each kid in my third grade class constructed using a Quaker Oats box. I took a picture of my teacher's sexy-black camaro (early 1980's); the picture turned out pretty good, despite the quality of the camera. My next camera was a Pentax K1000, which I recently sold as I have bought a Pentax K-X and now shoot all digital.

  • Steve Woodie March 26, 2010 12:53 am

    The first time I can remember using a camera was actually with a movie camera. My dad had a Kodak Brownie 8mm camera, and I can distinctly remember him teaching me how to look through the viewfinder and keep my little sister inside the squares printed on the front flip-up. I was probably about four or five, but no older. I'm pretty sure I took some pictures with the black box camera we had before that. It opened at the top and you had to look inside to see what you were taking. I still have the Brownie camera, complete with the leather case and the projector. It all still works.
    But my first real camera came a few years later, when my dad gave me a Polaroid Swinger camera for Christmas. I took a few rolls of pictures that day. We went to my grandma Woodie's house, and it snowed. Most people reading this just thought, "Oh, look, he included a cute, homey memory story that gives me a warm-fuzzy, but he probably threw that in for dramatic effect, whether it's true or not." No. That's what happened that day. I remember it because that was the day I started taking photos. It's a banner day for me.
    I took photos at the beach, on vacation. I took a photo of a crab grabbing my uncle Bill by the finger. I took photos of my friends at school. One day in the spring, I took a photo of my brother and sisters as they walked up to the local courthouse. It's one of those old Southern courthouses built around the turn of the century (the last one). The trees on the front lawn were in bloom. One sister was pointing at something interesting for the other two to see. It was a great photo. It was composed, properly balanced, it showed interest--although I had no idea what those things were then. It looked like a picture out of one of my textbooks. I knew it as I stood there on the front corner of the square, just looking at it. I have never forgotten that moment.

  • Nathan Eaton March 26, 2010 12:26 am

    Similar experience to Darren, had a class excursion to ride a train when I was in first grade and my dad let me take one of his cameras, an Argus 75 twin-lens reflex (which I still have). I'd always been fascinated by cameras, as my grandmother had let us grandkids play with an old camera of hers - I have a picture taken when I was 4 with me "shooting" a picture with it - so I'm sure I begged him to let me take a real camera on the trip.

    The Argus is dead-simple to use (point, shoot and wind to advance the film) so he really didn't have to teach me anything about the camera but he did coach me on taking good pictures. For example, he explained why I should point the camera ahead or behind when shooting out the window of the moving train to avoid everything being a blur.

    As I recall, I was so excited about having the camera I tried to take a bunch of shots indoors at the train depot of my classmates and, with only 12 shots on the roll, only had one or two left to shoot during the train ride. I don't remember how well any of the shots I took came out... I'll have to ask Dad whether he still has them.

  • Ariana Murphy March 26, 2010 12:24 am

    I got a Kodak Instamatic for my birthday when I was 10. It used 110 film in a drop-in cartridge, and flash cubes. I took pictures of family, but also landscapes etc., especially on family camping trips. Expensive, though. When I was about 13, my Dad discovered a treasure trove of b&w negatives that my grandfather had taken from when my Dad was a boy. We're talking 1920's and 30's. My older brother set up a darkroom and developed many of them. I was his assistant.

    I didn't do much with photography after that except off and on, until the really pivotal moment. With a Fuji 4 meg point and shoot, I drove from Jasper to Banff, Alberta, shooting as I went. Those are still some of my favourite photos. I have upgraded twice since then, but still love those "Mountain Journey" pics. I'm hoping to go back this summer with my Nikon D60.

  • Kathy Burkman March 26, 2010 12:20 am

    I think my first camera was a Kodak Instamatic, in the late 50's. It used cartridge film and flash cubes. I also had a Polaroid that shot black and white film. I still have one of the best shots I ever took with the Polaroid - at Arlington Cemetery - rows and rows of white crosses on a hill. After that I used various point and shoot models, until my 50th birthday, when my husband gave me a Pentax 35 mm. A few years later (2007), when our twin grandchildren were born, I purchased a Pentax k100D. Love it!

  • Brekke Felt March 26, 2010 12:11 am

    My first camera was one of those dinky point and shoots that required that "disk" of film. It was horrid and you only got 15 shots and they weren't good quality at all. LOL

    What drove me into photography was my sophomore year of High School, I went to a small private school that didn't offer photography classes. One of the advisors built a darkroom for the kids to play with. I borrowed my dad's Minolta SLR and shot a couple rolls of b&w. It didn't take me long to get the hang of it and discovered I kind of had a natural eye for composition. I built my own dark room in my parents basement and that was it.

  • Charles Stensrud March 26, 2010 12:02 am

    In the winter of 1967-68 I was a freshman at a college in Minneapolis, MN. I was with a classmate looking for a loan at a pawn shop when I discovered a new-looking Pentax K1000 with 50mm, f2 lens. It's call was strong and I bought it on a whim. I knew nothing of photography at the time, other than my parents heavily used Brownie, in which I had little interest. I made two stops on the way back to the dorm, one for two rolls of Kodachrome (the idea of color slides appealed to me), and the library for a book on basic photography and camera operation. My first shots were time exposures of the snow-covered trees and traffic on Riverside Avenue and the downtown skyline, and the next day at one of the many lakes in the city. I was hooked. All of the photographs and some of my growing collection of paraphernalia was destroyed in a fire some three years later, but I have never been without a camera since that first day, and I have a collection of thousands of shots taken on film in the form of slides, color prints, and b&w prints. With the advent of cheap digital film, I now have many more thousands backed up on several large hard drives.

  • Jodi March 25, 2010 11:51 pm

    My first experience was in grade school during a summer visit to my grandparents home in central California.
    Camera? Canon AE-1. Lessons from him? Think outside of the box and always use a camera you love. I still have that AE1 and still love it (though I now use digital ;) )

  • Julia Thorman March 25, 2010 11:38 pm

    My first camera was a brownie. I was in junior high (now called middle school). I fell in love with the camera. After a while my parents got me a Kodak instamatic. When I went to college I bought my first real camera, a Pentax K1000. I have never had any real training. I have read books and gone to seminars and have been told by a wedding photographer that I am a natural. I photographed wedding for about 5 years with a mamiya 645. Now I have a pentax D10 but I still have my K1000 and still use it from time to time.

  • Art March 25, 2010 11:28 pm

    My earliest memory of using a camera was from around 2nd or 3rd grade (back in the 60's). My best friend and I got some of those "Spy Cameras" from the back of a comic book. They used special film that was hard to find. The picture quality was horrible, but we thought they were great!

    Just found a link to the very ad we ordered from here. Wow, memories...

  • Dan March 25, 2010 11:01 pm

    My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 100. My parents bought it for me for Christmas because they saw my fascination with post cards when we went on vacations. I have very poor eyesight and could "see" things better in post cards than I could in real life so they thought a camera might just help.

    My first "shoot" was at Christmas Dinner that day way back in about 1963 or 64. As was the general theme in those days before digital, "Don't take too many pictures." The camera came with a roll of black & white film which is what I used that first time.

    dlm

  • James Baker March 25, 2010 10:48 pm

    The first experience I remember in photography was when I was 6 (1981). My father has always been a photographer, and he learned it from his mother. I asked him if I could take pictures with him. He decided to take me for a walk with the camera and show me how. I think it was a Pentax with black and white film. He put a non zooming lens (i presume it was a 50mm) and told me how to focus. I took pictures of the dog (mostly out of focus, but not all) and some trees. Then we came back in and he took me into the darkroom and showed me how to develop them. The only thing he didn't let me do was work with the chemicals. He helped focus the enlarger too. Those prints and negatives are still in his collection somewhere. I was hooked then, and still am.

  • Patrick So March 25, 2010 10:05 pm

    It started with a challenge from my cousin who is already into Photography for sometime. He challenged me to do PAD using our mobiles camera. I do not have a camera at that time, and that is the only means I can take picture. Eventually, I enjoyed it. We post photos that we took that day every single day. I did not know how to post process that time, so I instantly post them without adjustments. After three months, I've used my phone-cam to the limit, and have learned that in able to move forward, I need a better camera. I bought a canon 400D as my bday gift to myself. Since then I never stopped taking pictures. Photo below is one of the first photos I took using my phone cam.

  • Sally W March 25, 2010 09:47 pm

    When I was about 10 my parents bought me a polaroid camera for Christmas. I really can't remember any memorable photos with it. Later on in high school and was going to take a trip to Mexico City I got cheap point and shoot film camera for the trip. I remember getting fantastic shots that classmates with 35mm cameras didn't get. And my senior year I took candids for the yearbook with a 35mm camera. Everyone said the pictures were great, mainly because I got up close to the subjects I was taking pictures of and excluded the background, a style I still use.

  • Gracia March 25, 2010 09:08 pm

    This was my first picture:

    A true work of art, as you can see.
    And these three pictures were what made me take a bit more interest in photography. I took them while living in London:

    They're not great, but they made me want to learn more about photography.

  • Sandeep Shetty March 25, 2010 07:31 pm

    I was 10 years old those days and my dad bought me a Kodak basic still camera, I don't remember the model number. well for a poor kid it was like diamond mine. So decided to take photo of my family in our farm. Right film was loaded and was ready take the photograph. Dad asked me to take the photograph near water tank and was going backwards to get a perfect view. at one fine moment i realized that i was no more on land but in tank water. was scared for my life and camera and I survived...

  • Gloson March 25, 2010 07:09 pm

    It has been a year since I got into photography. When I was 11-years-old, I took my first "serious" photograph.

    What was the camera?

    It was an FTec Pocket Camera that doesn't have much features and captures the image only after 2 secs. It didn't have a long exposure feature. It can't shoot in dark places. You can't manually focus it. No macro mode. You can't manually adjust almost anything. I had to use Picasa to make the pictures more contrast.

    Plus, it wasn't very fast in capturing the photos (which makes some of them blur). Though, I took advantage of that and snapped some images like this:

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gloson/3864113388/' title='Daydreamy' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2447/3864113388_52d8c16323.jpg']

    (About 4 months ago, I got a better camera - a Canon Powershot A480)

    What were you photographing?

    The first "serious" photograph I took was a purple sunset using the pocket camera. I used Picasa to adjust the contrast.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/gloson/3861837566/' title='Purple Sunset' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2655/3861837566_a142ba05aa.jpg']

    Was it film or digital?

    Digital ;-) .

    What lessons were you taught in the early days?

    Some pictures I took using that "not-good-enough" camera were really nice. So, I was taught that "My gear is not good enough" is a bad excuse to avoid photography.

    ~Gloson ;-)

  • Kath March 25, 2010 06:56 pm

    I was 11 and my parents bought me my own Kodak Instamatic Camera, It took some kind of cartridge film and I had to keep my use as low as possible because of the cost of processing. I didn't really learn anything about photography until my 40's with the appearance of digital cameras.

  • Marc March 25, 2010 06:26 pm

    My first time was October were I could lent sea life DC600 of my dive buddy where I was already dive with for couple of years. At that moment I got photo fever and was shooting everying I saw. When we where in Egypt for first time. After we were back in the netherlands I bougth Canon G9 with underwater house and use a lot and not only underwater. I loved it but I now planning to get a DSLR for above water only. and still the fever is going on.

    Marc

  • James Milstid March 25, 2010 04:20 pm

    Wow! I remember very clearly...

    Sometime around 1953 or 1954, I was six or seven years old, my grandpa let me take a picture with his old brown box camera. I didn't know then, but it was a Rainbow Hawkeye #2. It had two viewfinders, one for portrait and one for landscape. The shutter was a lever on the side that had a saw-like edge so you could get a grip on it. The film winder was on the same side and you twisted it until the film advanced to the proper place. Grandpa didn't let me do that part.

    I remember to this day how careful and in awe I was. I took a picture of my mother... I sure wish I still had it!

    I dug up a photo of the camera model... his was a little more beat up.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesmilstid/4461206423/' title='Rainbow Hawkeye #2 - My First Photo Experience' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4019/4461206423_86be30b09d_o.jpg']

  • Matthias March 25, 2010 04:16 pm

    My first real shot was that of the cedars of Lebanon. Then I was 12 years old and was using my first ever camera a Kodak Instamatic BW film. There were no dials nothing just real point and shoot.
    This image was my first wow image and it taught me prespective.

  • R Melanson March 25, 2010 03:43 pm

    Inspired by the five man electrical band I took as many pictures of signs as I could. My favourite was a railroad warning sign next to section of wire fence that had a hole pulled in it. Someone had spray painted an Anarchy symbol over the sign. It seemed meaningful to me somehow. That was probably the first time I saw my own photography as something more than just snapshots.

  • R Melanson March 25, 2010 03:31 pm

    Remember the 1960's/70's kodak instamatic that used those ugly flashcubes? I was just a little kid but I couldn't use enough 110 film, I took pictures of everything. My first serious camera was an asahi pentax k1000 35mm SLR, by that time I had learned to plan my shoots and started showing off my shots which usually followed a theme up on posterboard. Photography was more fun back then. I miss the days of split circle viewfinders, black bags, red lights, enlargers and stop bath. Thanks for reminding me, those are some good memories.

  • Eddric March 25, 2010 02:44 pm

    My experience was an amazing one. I was in college following our photo editor to take photos of a soccer game. That very first day picking up a 1D mk2n with a 300 2.8L photographic a soccer game, learning what the back focusing does, what aperture means, what ISO is, why shutter speed is important in sports photography. Sometimes I wish my photo editor could understand what that day had done for me, learning the power one camera can do... Amazing moments of college soccer players playing their hearts out.

    Since that day, I've picked up low end equipment, slowly made money and have high end equipment now. In a year period, I learned to shoot every college sport, from Ice Hockey, to Football... and yes, even Broomball and Ultimate Frisbee. From there moved on to Fashion shoots, to event coverage, learning as I go, mostly on the field, occasionally looking for some advice on a particular shoot. To this day, I have yet to take a photo class, buy a photo book. All that I have learned was experience, going to shoots following prominent wedding photographers, or learning from other photographers covering the same event.

    my two cents: go out and shoot, you learn so much more than any book(s). Books teach you how to capture one perfect moment. Experiences teaches you how to capture every perfect moment.

    Thanks Aram,

    Canon 1d mk2n 300mm 2.8L (and a little of 70-200mm 2.8L IS)
    Soccer
    Intro to photography
    Photojournalism.

  • dawgontap March 25, 2010 02:31 pm

    My first camera I can remember was a Kodak 110...definitely film. I remember the cube flash bulbs you had to put on them if you wanted flash! LOL! My Mom got a nice Nikon SLR when I was in grade school, but I didn't get to use that for awhile. Her biggest lessons to me were "fill the frame" and a version of "law of thirds"..... ie... don't try to center everything.

  • Nichole March 25, 2010 01:48 pm

    My first camera was a small pink/purple camera. It was film. I would take pictures of anything that let me. Mostly flowers and our cat. Siblings and friends didn't like pictures. I was around 8 or so. I have had my own camera ever since.

  • BobM March 25, 2010 01:13 pm

    Mine was a Kodak box camera. It took paper backed 120 film and had a shutter that you would push in one direction to take one picture and in the opposite direction to take the next picture. It had one viewfinder approximately 1/2" x 1" on one side in portrait orientation and a second one on an adjacent side oriented in landscape. It took wonderful pictures in open sunlight for the usual family snapshots. Hooked me on photography immediately some 52 years ago and never let go, it's been a wonderful trip.

  • Richard Davis March 25, 2010 12:43 pm

    I was probably around 7 or 8 and using my mother's 126 cartridge film camera back in 70 or 71. The camera was either by Kodak or branded with the the UK 'Boots the Chemist' logo. I recall it took flash cubes - a cube of four flash bulbs filled with magnesium wire or similar that would flash and burn when the picture was taken and rotate 90 degrees as you wound the film on to the next frame.

    If I recall rightly, my first use was on a trip to Bristol Zoo in England. My mother used Kodachrome slide film most of the time and the 126 format produced an image about 26mm square. She let me take the camera along on a school field trip.

    We didn't have a projector at home, we just viewed the slides through a handheld, battery powered magnifying viewer, putting one slide in at a time!

    I used cameras like this through the early 70's until, at age 15, I bought my first SLR - a Zenit EM with a 42mm screw-mount 50mm f2.8 standard lens. At the same time I bought an enlarger, some Ilford FP4 B&W film, made a bench to lay across the bath and a blackout for the blackout screen for the window and I've been hooked ever since (but I don't miss all those chemicals and the darkroom setup and teardown time) is this new digital world!

  • johnp March 25, 2010 12:33 pm

    Can't remember my first photo but my first camera must have been a Kodak box brownie as I had it around my neck in a photo Dad took on top of a mountain in NZ when I was about 5. Only remember that it made a nice 'clunk' when you pushed the shutter.

  • C.E. Jones March 25, 2010 11:56 am

    My dad had a Drug Store. We were the only store in town that sold cameras. When I was 9 years old, I was selling cameras to store customers Also, I was developing B&W contact photos. So, I was always the family photographer. My first camera was a square Brownie. From there, I graduated to the smaller Brownie camera.

    My first 35 mm was an all manual camera. You set the F stop and lens speeds using the chart on the side of the film boxes. No light meters. Just guess at the light and set the f stop.

    After my Dad passed away, I inherited his camera collection along with copies of all the cameras I ever used. Plus a few I didn't use. Like a Stereo camera for taking photos to be used in ViewMaster reels.

    Over the years, other friends have donated to my collection.

  • C.E. Jones March 25, 2010 11:56 am

    My dad had a Drug Store. We were the only store in town that sold cameras. When I was 9 years old, I was selling cameras to store customers Also, I was developing B&W contact photos. So, I was always the family photographer. My first camera was a square Brownie. From there, I graduated to the smaller Brownie camera.

    My first 35 mm was an all manual camera. You set the F stop and lens speeds using the chart on the side of the film boxes. No light meters. Just guess at the light and set the f stop.

    After my Dad passed away, I inherited his camera collection along with copies of all the cameras I ever used. Plus a few I didn't use. Like a Stereo camera for taking photos to be used in ViewMaster reels.

    Over the years, other friends have donated to my collection.

  • Juan March 25, 2010 11:33 am

    I took my first picture with an Olympus film rangefinder. I guess it was the 80s, I'm not sure about it. Then I just forgot about shooting because I was so young at the time (under 10). But one day, when I was 14 or 15, here in Bogotá (Colombia) there was a hailstorm which unusually turned the city into white. That day I shot some pictures of the ice falling and then I fell in love with photography. But film times were so expensive, I had to put photography off until this new century with the arrival of d-slrs. Now Olympus is leading a revolution, and slrs are about to pass to history, too. Time flies.

  • Dave March 25, 2010 11:00 am

    A kodak instamatic with a handfull of flash cubes and two rolls of 126 film. We (my 4th grade class) took the BART from Hayward to San Francisco. We took the Alcatraz tour and my love for photography began!!!
    Fast forward to 1982 where I beged my parents to get me a Canon AE-1 Program for middle school graduation.
    And this is where the fun begins...
    My freshman year I was approached by the school newspapper advisor and told that I should shoot for the paper. She taught me everything she could over the next four years.
    I took what I learned to the Navy and then far beyond... Last year I went digitl and am now shooting weddings, events, and headshots, and I couldn't be happier with my life!!!

  • Arne March 25, 2010 10:53 am

    What was the camera? Kodak Brownie
    What were you photographing? Explorer canoeing trip to Quetico, Canada
    Was it film or digital? You're kidding, right? (1968)
    What lessons were you taught in the early days? On photography? You're kidding, right? (1968).

    http://www.myrabo.com/vacations/quetico/quetico1968/1968-02%20who%2c%20Wipf%2c%20who%2c%20Sopko.JPG

  • Matt March 25, 2010 10:34 am

    My mum's old Kodak Box Brownie - with brown leather case. The flip up viewfinder and long throw push button for the shutter with its distinctive sound are vivid memories I have. I was young and not too sure what my first photo would have been - probably a shot of someone in the family.

  • Benjamin March 25, 2010 10:10 am

    My first camera was an Olympus C70 Zoom, I was photography a picture of my friend and I at somewhere called "Fletton Lakes" When i bought my camera home and linked it up to the computer and when i saw the results I was very impressed. I have now been addicted to photography and I will take photos of anything and everything I like. To be honest I weren't taught any lessons, I learnt from my errors and so far i've gotten pretty good.

    I just now aim to get myself a decent DSLR kit.

  • iBagwan March 25, 2010 09:56 am

    I was in the third grade and our class was taking a field trip to a California mission. Much to my surprise my father handed me our old Brownie camera and showed me how to hold it and how to take pictures. I was so excited I could barely stand it! This was a "grown up" thing that kids just didn't play with. It was a classic Brownie Hawkeye and it was like holding magic in my hands. The thrill of looking into the viewer and the satisfying click of the shutter was just magic to me.

    I still have the camera, we were clearing out my parents home after they passed away and I stumbled on it in a pile of debris. It was like finding a long lost friend. It's in great shape and I proudly display it in our livngroom to this day. It was just the beginning of a long love affair...

  • Nathan S. March 25, 2010 09:35 am

    I'm in the same position as Tyler. I'm 16, I've been interested in photography for four years now. Had a small APS film camera nothing special we only took 4 or 5 rolls of film using it... Bought it at walmart for $30, I was probably 5 or 6. Then it just got lost in time. It wasn't until 6th grade when I started taking pictures again, I got a small point and shoot for christmas, and have taken few thousand with that. Right now I just bought my first DSLR my Nikon D5000 with 5 lenses (3 are manual focus but still!)

  • Sue March 25, 2010 09:35 am

    I was about 10 years old and received a Brownie for my birthday. Took pictures of my cat immediately.

  • William March 25, 2010 09:29 am

    My Aunt bought me a Brownie Hawkeye (w/flash) for my birthday in the early 50s. Most of my memories involve sitting outside the drug store waiting for my prints to come back. I think it was about a 7 day turn around then. I treasured each print, good or bad and thought I could learn from my mistakes.

    At a family gathering recently one of my younger sisters told the tale of me having the jump off of the old veranda and I would attempt to take their photo as they were in midair. I think I burned up a lot of paper route savings that day on film. I think I got one or two keepers but I did enjoy myself. I carried that camera everywhere I went. That was over 50 years ago and I still carry my 5D everywhere I go.

    Thanks for bringing this topic to mind, great memories.

  • Bri-Anne March 25, 2010 09:20 am

    My first camera was a little fisher price camera that took 110 film, lol. It was blue and had yellow 'bumpers' on each end. Couldn't tell you what I photographed though...I was 7

  • Anna March 25, 2010 08:19 am

    When I was about 10, my mom couldn't attend my dad, sister and I on our annual family reunion to North Carolina. I told her I'd take a bunch of pictures for her, so she bought me my first digital camera and I happily snapped away. Never really thinking I could take up photography as a hobby, I put the camera aside and instead pursued drawing. When I was 13 though, I took photography classes over the summer and realized my interest and talent in it.
    I can't remember my actual first experience, but I know I've loved to snatch my parent's disposable cameras all the time when I was little, haha.

  • Cheeze439 March 25, 2010 08:17 am

    I was probably about 9 on holiday in Italy, I got hold of my Dad's Cannon (I think it was the AE-1, he still has it). I remember it having a large zoom lens. He didn't know I had it. I went around the Villa we were staying in and primarily took photo's of the toilet. I have no idea why, I probably thought it was funny. He wasn't impressed when he got the film developed and there were about 15-16 pictures looking down a toilet. He still brings it up to this day (I'm 34 now). Lessons learnt? Wasting camera film and processing costs got me in trouble. Wouldn't have that problem nowadays with digital.

  • Richard Skoonberg March 25, 2010 08:05 am

    It was 1961 and I was 10 years old. I took my Kodak Instamatic with 126 and sack lunch, boarded a bus to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I lived across the bay. All in all about a 30 mile journey one way. I walked around the park with the intention of taking pictures. That is why I did it-just to take pictures. I was by myself. I still have the pictures.

    What were my parents thinking!!!

  • Rares March 25, 2010 08:04 am

    I know this story from my parents : I was about 3 or 4 years old and I was excited about any photo I was in . So one day my dad let my make him and my mom a photo... with an old film camera ( don't remember name or type ) . But since then I remember of being interested of any type of photography and always wanting to make more and more pictures .

    PS : I still have the first ever photograph i had taken .

  • Barbara March 25, 2010 08:02 am

    Oh, and I was about 15 when I took that photograph.

  • Barbara March 25, 2010 08:01 am

    I know I must've used a Brownie camera when I was very young, but can't remember those experiences. The first memorable photo I recall was taken with a Poloroid camera... I was leaning out one side of a bay window, and my father was leaning out the other side, and I took a picture of him. I felt it was moody and contemplative. I wish I knew where that picture was.

  • Jesse March 25, 2010 07:55 am

    I was 8 or something and I signed up for a photography class with GT in school. We spent the day listening explaining photo principales or something and we got to take photos of the park with one of those cameras where you have to wait some seconds for the image to show up. It was great. I have the pictures somewhere but i cannot remember exactly where it is (i moved not too long ago so its in storage somewhere)

  • Sherry March 25, 2010 07:46 am

    I don't know about the first picture I took, but the first one that made me love being behind the camera was a shot I took when I was probably around 10 or so. My family was hiking at the nearby park and I quickly took a picture of my little cousin who was lagging behind us, nothing special. I didn't think anything of it until the pictures came back from the store. It was a beautiful shot of a sun beaming through a gap in the trees, right where she stood, smiling. She looked like an angel! I had no expectations when I took the picture, it was unplanned and that delayed surprise was the best part. Kind of makes me miss using film (a little). Don't know where that picture is now, but I will never forget it!

  • Lon March 25, 2010 07:41 am

    I was never that interested in photography in my youth, but I always seemed to have a cheapie Kodak or disposable camera near-at-hand... I remember being intrigued with the disposable flash strip that had 6 or 7 single-use chemical bulbs.

    It wasn't until a few years ago when I found a Yashica FR-I that my wife inherited from her grandpa that I got the shutterbug. I loved being able to control all the settings and learning what all the dials, knobs and buttons were for. If I can find my first photo from that camera I'll put it up here - I'm sure it was good since it spurred a passion in me.

  • Charles March 25, 2010 07:40 am

    When I was 15 there was a murder down my road.
    I happened to walk past when they were cleaning up and photographing evidence, and I remember thinking to myself "Nice camera!".
    That's when my interest peaked.
    But my first major photo was a picture of the empire state building back in 2005 which I took on my Dads camera (can't recall the make).
    I caught the reflections of the skyline in the windows and the detail on the building was great!
    I always look back at that photo for inspiration but I've never been able to take a photo like that ever since.

  • Richard Taylor March 25, 2010 07:17 am

    The oldest pics of mine, that I still had were taken in 1959 on a family vacation, when I was 14 years old.
    Camera would have been dad's 6x9cm Voightlander Bessa II and B&W film was used.
    Fully adjustable and a huge step up from a Kodak Box Brownie.

  • dana March 25, 2010 07:07 am

    I was 8 years and finally got what I wanted most for birthday - the Agfamatic 2008 tele pocket sensor - ritsch-ratsch-klick ;D
    I was so amazed of this little tele lens flipping out there, it was fun - and I still have this little one ;)
    The pictures weren´t what I expected, most important thing was to watch throught the viewfinder, ah, lovely thing!

  • Brian Taylor March 25, 2010 07:04 am

    I recall a birthday party for my grandmother when I was a teenager. I had always had some type of kids camera but I got to "play" with my cousins nice Film SLR. I believe it was a Canon but I couldn't swear to that as it has been over 20 years.

    I really enjoyed holding it and looking through the view finder and listening to the click of the shutter as it closed and that moment in time was captured forever.

    I don't know if they ever developed the film or what became of it but I enjoyed it.

    It wasn't until after the birth of my little ones that I picked the camera back up again and really got interested. Some of the pictures with the PowerShots were so nice I decided I would continue with it as a hobby and stepped up to a DSLR. One day I will get off of Aperture Priority mode.

  • Lovelyn March 25, 2010 07:02 am

    I don't remember the first picture I took. I was always interested in photography. It runs in my family, both my grandfather and uncle were photographers. I guess I was about 15 when I got my first camera. It was a simple all manual Pentax 35mm. I dug all of my grandfather's old darkroom equipment out of my grandmother's attic and set up a makeshift darkroom in the laundry room. I loved taking pictures from the start. I loved being in the darkroom processing the pictures too.

  • Jolene March 25, 2010 07:00 am

    The earliest I can remember was when I was in grade one (I was five or six years old) and my class was taking a field trip to the zoo in Winnipeg, MB (the nearest big city to my home town). My mom gave me one of those cheap film cameras they sold at McDonald's for a while- it was film and bright, florescent red/pink. The advice she and my sister gave me was to only take pictures of my favourite animals, not to take pictures on the bus, and only take one picture per animal so I would have enough exposures to last the day.

  • Carly Harrison March 25, 2010 06:59 am

    Every summer vacation my mother bought disposable cameras and gave one to each of my siblings and I. It was great fun taking the family vacation photos ourselves. I distinctly remember getting home after one trip (I think to Disneyland - I was maybe 8) and my mother developed all of our cameras. She was exasperated with me because instead of the normal "touristy" shots (like family members, characters, the "Kodak moment" spots), I took pictures of flowers and landscapes. None of my photos had family members - it was all artsy! I still have the album I made out of it next to my portfolios I show clients - sentimental memories that remind me why I got into photography.

  • Eric March 25, 2010 06:21 am

    I don't remember my first photographic experience. However, to take the question a little differently, which experience led me to believe that this could turn into a hobby (and something I want to do a lot!) was this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericmeier/296488030/

    This was the first picture I took that ever made me go "Wow!". Been hooked since.

    It was a Canon Powershot 50, at Disney in Orlando. A wet, misty day, on our first vacation with my first child (he was about ten months old at that point).

  • David March 25, 2010 06:20 am

    My first camera was a Canon EOS film camera back in 1990. I thought I would be all arty and shoot black and white. I shot an old abandoned lime kiln and quarry. There were old cars, buses, all sorts of interesting sights.

    The development cost me a fortune and I never returned. I learned to consider each shot and despite going digital where shooting is in essence free I still look at each frame as if there was a cost to process.

  • EF mount March 25, 2010 06:19 am

    I was 12 and my dad handed me his Nikon film SLR. It was full manual only camera, but it was able to create astonishing imagery. We were photographing at Lipari islands, namely Stromboli and Gran Cratere volcanoes. Amazing experience.

    There was a bit setback afterward. I returned to photography at age 19 with Olympus C-770 digital ultrazoom compact for my first serious images. And at last, I purchased Canon 450D DSLR with set lens and nifty fifty, which has been my current camera for over a year now. I focus on portraiture and macrophotography (although only closeup shots as I do not own macrolens yet...) today...

  • Tyler March 25, 2010 06:18 am

    I'm 16, and I've always been interesting in photography, but never really got into it (I would take a couple of photos and be a bit creative) but last year, on a family trip to Florida, I decided I would take over my dads 400D. And got quite a few nice photos, and, then there came the Disney fireworks, and the shoots I got from that really started to get me interested in photography. So when I got back from the holiday I started doing research into how cameras work etc. Then I entered one of my photos into a local competition and won.

  • Matt Mathai March 25, 2010 06:18 am

    Good topic. I found my dad's old Rolleiflex camera on his desk and took it for a spin when i was about six.
    Lucky for me there was film in it, but I had just as much fun looking at things through the viewfinder on top.

    Luckily my dad wasn't upset that I'd burned all his film. He got it developed, and I found I had some photos of my dogs, a few of the grass, and one of my mother's hand.

    They were all works of art, naturally.

  • Stromwerk March 25, 2010 06:13 am

    My first photography experiense was somewhat similar to yours. When I was in 3rd grade I was going on an excursion with my clas for the first time. We were going to see some of the historic cities in my country. I was given the family camera, it was film, don't remember the brand, I just remember it was a simple fixed focus P&S. I wasn't given anything special to do except capture most of the momuments we see. I was given 2 rolls of film and the camera had about half a film in it alredy, so I was somewhat limited. I still keep those photos. It was very fun. I don't have anything I like for it's artistic value, but I love the class shots I made. They keep the memories.

  • CodeDude March 25, 2010 06:09 am

    I used a Canon point and shoot that my parents owned. They got so sick of me using my parent's camera, that they bought my one for myself.

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