9 Practical Tips for Beginner PhotographersApr 18, 2022
Are you 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! 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 everything your camera has to offer so you can get the most out of it.
2. TAKE YOUR CAMERA EVERYWHERE
If you’re super new to photography and want to move on from a small point-and-shoot to one of the big boy DSLRs, you’ll have to get used to the feel and weight of your camera. If you have your camera with you on the go, you'll have no excuse not to photograph everything around you! This will help you learn how to photograph in all types of different settings in the long run.
3. DON’T FEEL THE NEED TO PURCHASE EXPENSIVE GEAR IMMEDIATELY
Expensive cameras and lenses alone will not make you a good photographer. What will make you a good photographer is a skill, knowledge, and a bit of passion! I bought my first DSLR (old 20D) used and outdated and I never parted with it. I took some of my favorite landscape photos with that camera and actually have them hanging on my walls. To illustrate, have you ever seen a makeup challenge on YouTube where the artist uses 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. LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY
Every day, work to expand your photography knowledge and skills a step further. There are so many aspects to this craft. Do you want to learn a cool new trick on Photoshop? Then, search for an online 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. Are you 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 you were yesterday, and work to be better tomorrow than today.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
I would never know as much as I do now without asking questions to those who knew more than me. Everyone is different, but I tend to learn a new skill more easily when someone is showing me what to do in person rather than reading it online.
6. MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS WILL TELL YOU TO FIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY “NICHE” BUT I DON’T AGREE WITH THAT
If you have a specific area of interest, like portraits or weddings, then yes, of course, you should put more focus on that type of photography. For example, some photographers only shoot newborn sessions, and that's OK! But, there are so many different types of photography niches and in the beginning, I believe you owe it to yourself to explore different types of photography before dismissing them.
7. REMEMBER PHOTOGRAPHY IS A DISCIPLINE
If you want to pursue photography as a side hobby, that’s great! However, if you want to pursue photography as a career, then remember that it's a commitment and an expensive one at that. You won't become a professional overnight and developing as an experienced photographer will take dedication on your part. You owe it to yourself, your craft, and your future clients to give everything you have.
8. KEEP CALM AND TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME
I don’t think most people realize how many countless hours photographers spend practicing and learning. There are so many elements to photography, like acquiring new gear (along with the trial and error of learning how to use it), shooting different types of sessions successfully, and mastering photo editing software (yikes!). Not to mention the time it takes to EDIT! Sometimes hours to days for ONE photograph. Then on top of all that we still have to learn the ins and outs of the business along with advertising and reaching new clients. Just remember to take one day at a time and set small goals and things will get easier, I promise.
9. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN
Photography is an art, but trying to master all of the moving parts can get overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I’m on information overload. Remember to have fun! You're doing what you love, so keep it light and try to make some friends along the way.
Written by Dara Weedo