How I’m Pushing Myself to be a Better Photographer

I started my business in 2012. That makes this my 11th year of photographing families and events. Over the years, I have developed a specific style and approach so that I have a consistent portfolio. While this is great for attracting potential clients, it can stifle my creative growth. Plus I spend the majority of my time with a camera working and don’t often make time to focus on becoming a better photographer.


Additionally, I don’t have a degree. It wasn’t my path after high school back in the 90s. However after I moved to NY in 2001, I did start attending a CUNY. But after a few semesters, I got pregnant and decided it was best to focus on my babies. Eight years later, I started Leslie Levine Photography which allowed me to be around for my kids while still contributing to the family finances. It was an ideal situation, dream come true.

Next Chapter

That leads me to now. My kids are big; one is a junior in college and the other is a junior in high school. In a very short year and a half, my youngest will be off to college. I already have more time to pursue more things, let alone after the next is empty. I am currently in the preface to my next chapter.

Back to School

With all of this in mind, I enrolled in Queens College to major in Photography and Imaging. I will have my BFA in a couple of years! You might be asking why I would bother when I am already a professional photographer. I have a couple of reasons that inspired me to do so.

Better Photographer

First of all, I am self-taught in a specific lane, and I firmly believe that I have tons to learn. Here is a list of ways that college will help me be a better photographer.

  • The influence of the Professors who have their own approach and experience
  • The assignments that make me utilize new and seldom used techniques and approaches
  • Seeing other creatives work
  • Feedback from said creatives

Career Upgrade

Secondly, I do have the hopes that my over a decade of experience as a photographer combined with a degree will allow me to upgrade my career. Now that I am in school, I have a strong desire to teach my skills. It is not easy for a middle-aged woman to break back into the workforce after 20 years of not having a boss or being employed. Yes, I run a small business but so far that has not seemed to impress anyone who has the power to hire me.

Because I Want to

Lastly, I have always wanted a secondary degree. There is much debate as to the necessity and effectiveness of college degrees these days. I would agree that most are not worth going into debt for. But it is something that I have always wanted for myself. I love to learn and I found a way to do it relatively affordably. Thank you CUNY system. So I am all in and ready to dedicate myself to excelling in the college setting.

Additionally, I have been solepreneur for a long time now. I crave the social aspect and group environment school provides. I firmly believe a community of artists will have a very positive effect on my creativity.

Take a Look

So far I have taken one digital photography class and have already started thinking of photography as a creative medium again. Check out some of these images that resulted from my first semester as a photography student. And I will continue to take you along for the ride with regular updates.

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