Considering picking up a camera and entering the world of photography? There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said before, but I speak here from my own personal experiences since I started out.
Here are some tips that I hope help you along with way:
1. LEARN YOUR CAMERA/DSLR INSIDE AND OUT. Just about every photographer will tell you this one! I remember how overwhelmed I felt when I picked up one of these cameras for the first time! To me in the beginning, the camera looked like a contraption covered in buttons / knobs / dials, etc. I had no clue what I was doing but I was determined to learn. Study your manual and learn how much your camera has to offer! :)
2. ESPECIALLY IN THE BEGINNING, TAKE YOUR CAMERA EVERYWHERE. If you’re super new to photography and want to break free from a small point and shoot and move on to one of the big boy (DSLRs), you’ll have to get used to the feel and weight of it and how to photograph in all types of different settings. If you have your camera with you on the go, there is no excuse not to photograph everything around you! This will help you in the long run.
3. DON’T FEEL THE NEED TO PURCHASE EXPENSIVE GEAR IMMEDIATELY. Expensive cameras and lenses will not make you a good photographer alone. What will make you a good photographer is skill, knowledge, and a bit of passion. My first DSLR (old 20D) I bought used and outdated and I never parted with it. I took some of my favorite landscape photos with that camera (one of Brooklyn Bridge, see above!) and actually have them hanging on my walls. I’ll give you an analogy. Ladies, have you ever seen a makeup challenge on YouTube where the artist is using cheap dollar store makeup and they still hit it out of the park? How do they do that? They developed their skills as artists. They don’t need expensive tools to produce something beautiful. “Fancy” gear will come in due time.
4. TRY TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY. Every day try to expand a step further from what you already know. There are so many aspects to this craft. Want to learn a cool new trick on Photoshop? Google a tutorial and give it a shot. Have you always wanted to photograph the moon? Then look up the settings to use, go outside when the moon is full and start shooting. Interested in setting up a studio in your den? Get reading! And remember PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! I never stop practicing. Try to be better today than yesterday, and try to be better tomorrow than today.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS. I would never know as much as I do without asking questions of those who knew more than me. Everyone is different, but I learn a new skill more easily when someone is actually showing me what to do in person rather than reading it online in some tutorial.
6. MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS WILL TELL YOU TO FIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY “NICHE” BUT I DON’T AGREE WITH THAT. If you have a specific interest, then yes of course you should put more focus on it, for example some photographers only do newborn sessions solely, and that's OK! But remember, there are so many different types of photography and you owe it to yourself to at least try different aspects of it before dismissing them.
7. REMEMBER PHOTOGRAPHY IS A DISCIPLINE! And an expensive one! If you want to pursue it as a side hobby that’s great! However, if you want more out of it, it is a commitment. Nothing will come overnight and will take some dedication on your part. You owe it to yourself, your craft and your future potential clients to give everything you have.
8. KEEP CALM AND TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME. I don’t think people realize how many countless hours we spend practicing and learning. There are so many elements here, acquiring new gear (along with trial and error on how to use it), learning how to pull off a plethora of different types of sessions successfully, learning photo editing software (yikes!), and not to mention the time it takes to EDIT! Sometimes hours to days for ONE photograph! Then on top of that learning the ins and outs of business / advertising / reaching new clients! (but that's for another post haha). Just take one day at a time, and set small goals and it will get easier, I promise.
9. MOST IMPORTANTLY REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN! Yes, photography is an art and it can be overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I’m on information overload. Remember to have fun! You are doing what you love. Keep it light and make some friends along the way.
Always remember to never stop learning,