Portrait, event, commercial, and fine art photography by North Carolina photographer Deno Kontoulas
© 2013 48 Layers Photography
Deno Kontoulas: Photographer
Like many professional photographers, it began as a hobby. I had always been interested in photography, but just never tried it. I actually worked in a camera store for a few months while in high school, but I knew absolutely nothing about photography or camera equipment. If I had been asked what the difference was between ISO 100 and ISO 400, I probably would have said “300”. Finally, years later, I decided to just go get a camera and start taking some pictures. I found my first DSLR on Craigslist. There were a lot of buttons on it. The OFF/ON was pretty self-explanatory. I also knew that the M was for manual, and figured this is what all the pros use so I tried it out. I turned it from full auto mode to the M, and all this nonsense popped up on the screen. I took a few shots, turned the dial, adjusted some settings and finally figured it out... I figured out I didn't have a clue what I was doing. That's when I went out and got a DSLR for Dummies book. I'm not much into reading so I dreaded the thought of having to look at a bunch of words and think about them. Then, a miracle happened. I got so bored at work once that I actually finished it in two days. Ok, not much of a miracle, but me finishing a book is pretty close. Finally, I had some clue as to what all those buttons did on my camera. Everything I have learned after that is from trial and error, and YouTube tutorials. I did have a slight advantage starting out. I was able to turn my terrible photos into bad ones since I had been editing photos for about 6 years, and knew Photoshop pretty well.
I started out mostly shooting landscapes and buildings. I really got into HDR. If you don't know what HDR is, I talk a little about it on my 'Cell Phone Photography' page. I never had any interest in photographing people, but I eventually ended up doing some portraits for a friend. I actually liked doing it. Portrait requests started coming in here and there from friends, and some were trying to give me money for it. That's when I realized that maybe one day I could actually make a living at it. And, yada yada yada, here I am (Seinfeld reference). I've opened up a studio, and am getting paid to do what I love. When I'm not behind the lens, or in front of the monitor editing, I still consider photography a hobby. I still love shooting landscapes and buildings, and have really gotten into some macro also. I try not to limit myself, so if I think it's interesting I'll be there to shoot it. Being a photographer, whether for hobby or work, has allowed me to see some amazing things I wouldn't have otherwise. From Native American pow wows to auto races, it's been quite an experience. So please check out my photo galleries. I hope you enjoy them.