December 13, 2023

Isaac’s Story: Photography — Portraits, Landscapes, and Animals

“GripTape is a good way to test out a career. Photography is something I want to do, and now I know I can continue going down the path.”

How did you learn about GripTape, and what made you decide to apply? My sister told me about it, and my cousin had completed a GripTape Challenge and told me I could get $500 to do something I was interested in. So I applied. 

What Learning Challenge did you choose?
Photography. I’ve always been interested in photography, but didn’t have the money for a camera. I wanted to take pictures of the land and animals in my area.

Why did you choose this Challenge? I’ve always been fascinated with technology, and I like the art of photography and creating new things.

How did you approach your Learning Challenge? Once I had my camera, I wanted to learn all of its settings and adjustments. After that, I focused on how to do portraits. I learned how to use lighting and the different modes. There was a lot of trial and error! I met a lot of people out on my hikes, and that’s been good for me. One hiker asked me about how I put the camera on its tripod. I showed him how to do it which was really cool. I felt professional. In the end, it was not only helping him but helping me, too. 

How did you use your funding? I asked for the full $500 and that is exactly what my camera cost. I watched a bunch of tutorials on my top three choices. My camera actually ended up being the top camera of 2023.

What was it like to work with a Champion? My Champion was helpful and super inspiring to me. She’s really good at communicating. She also takes photos and sends them to me to inspire me. I really lucked out with my Champion!

What did you set out to learn and what did you learn? I thought going into the Challenge that editing pictures was going to be easy, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I want to be a graphic designer so it’s been helpful to me to learn how to edit. It’s been a bit frustrating, but it's helping me learn how to do it. I also learned that I have to have patience and that I have potential. I feel now that I can make a living off of photography. I gained confidence through my Challenge by taking photos and talking to people. 

What advice would you give young people who are thinking about applying?  It’s life-changing. I was going to be a linesman but after learning more about my topic, I feel like I can do better. GripTape is a good way to test out a career. Photography is something I want to do, and now I know I can continue going down the path. In fact, I told my friends about the Challenge, and they let me take photos of them for Instagram. Some of them even say they’re going to apply!

What impact did the Challenge have on you? Now, I think I can go to art school for photography and make a good living off of it. I feel like I have a path in front of me. I would have never thought to go to art school before the Challenge. Doing GripTape impacted my family, too. I grew closer to them by taking pictures and talking to them. I usually don't talk to my grandparents that much, but I had more of a chance to be with them while driving to take photos. It really increased my respect and love for them. I even learned that my grandma had 10 siblings! Most of my portraits are of my family. I may even do my sister’s senior photos. 

Isaac is a high school student who plans to study photography.