*image by Jamie Rubeis
The Click Pros in our community are wildly talented with varied experience.
Some are in business while others are hobbyists. Some photograph families, others shoot weddings and some document their everyday life or beautiful nature they come across. Even when it comes to editing, their tastes and software vary.
Within this group of hundreds with varied experience there comes loads of knowledge. Knowledge they are happy to share with others, especially those new to the wonderful world of photography. We asked them just one question and boy did they deliver! That question was…
What advice would you give to new photographers?
“Practice makes better….”…I mean “GOOD” practice makes better!!! So learn your camera and do not rush. There is nothing worse than practicing the wrong things for hours at end!!!..and most of all HAVE FUN!!
Your journey is not a race. Stop comparing your journey to others and continue at your own pace, as comparing will only trip you up.
Amy Lucy Lockheart:
Celebrate the small and simple successes along the way. Learning photography and building a business is a marathon, not a sprint.
My #1 piece of advice is always to seek out helpful critique. It can be scary and it can even sting sometime, but you cannot grow if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. Put yourself out there and ask for critique and then apply the advice you get on future shoots. Over time, you’ll gather bits and pieces of great advice to help you on your journey. I also think new photographers only want to hear from experienced photographers when they look for critique, and that’s a mistake. Newer photographers as well as people with no photography experience can offer you a “real world” view and insight into how your photos are received by an audience. When I can’t decide between two photos when culling, I often ask my husband which he prefers; he can give me the perspective of someone similar to a client and that feedback is just as important as technical feedback from the most seasoned professional.
My piece of advice would be to take it slow! Break off learning in to small easy to manage pieces. Learn about the technical side of photography bit by bit. Once you are comfortable in one area move onto learning something new. There will always be something to learn and someway in which to grow and develop your skills. Enjoy the journey of learning.
Notice the world around you. When you are going out and about in the evening and something looks pretty to your eyes, try and notice what direction the sun is coming from. Or when you are perusing your favorite blogs look at a great image and see judging by the shadows, figure out where the light is coming from. There are a lot of elements that make up a great picture, and lighting is a biggie!
I took a business class here on CM at it was the best thing for me. Because of that class, I and other people have respected my business. And try everything that sparks your interest! The more types of photography you try, the more likely you will find what you love and be able to hone in your style and passion for certain types photography. I also really believe in 365 projects to help with that last piece of advice. Shooting everyday will not only help you practice, but also help you try a lot of things, since you are shooting everyday!
Learn your camera inside and out. Practice practice practice. When the technical side if photography becomes a second nature, your creativity is free to fly high!!!
Find a mentor. They can see things that you don’t notice. As artists sometimes we become so attached to our work that we miss seeing things. Once they are pointed out they are obvious.
My top piece of advice would be to practice practice practice. Shoot anything and everything you can. Ask lots of questions and ask for feedback on what you are shooting. While workshops and tutorials are great, there is no better teacher than experience!
Learn to shoot in manual mode. Practice every day until you can do it in your sleep. Learn to use your camera to its capacity before upgrading, as the camera does not make the photographer. Learn to use an editing program. Learn the basics first, and then move on to the next thing. Realize there will always be a next thing; that photography and art requires continual learning and practicing. Understand that there will be steps forward and steps back, but that you will see growth and it will be so rewarding when you do.
Leave learning editing skills until later, much later. Instead of wasting hours trying to fix problems in Photoshop, spend that time shooting and practising technical aspects, learning about composition and observing light. Once you have a collection of good photos, editing to enhance them will be quick and enjoyable.
Technicality is not everything. Learn it just to learn it but you don’t always have to follow the rules.
Just breath. Slow down and breath. There’s so many things to learn and know in photography and it can be very overwhelming, particularly when you’re just starting out. Pick one or two things at a time to build your skills in and then step back and look at all the progress you’ve made!
Engage in positive self talk. Learning photography can be overwhelming. There is so much to learn about your camera and it’s functioning, composition and art, and editing. It is easy to think you aren’t smart enough, aren’t talented enough, don’t have what it takes to see like a photographer. Don’t fall for this. Continually tell yourself, verbally if necessary, “I can do this. I am capable of learning this. Many others have learned it, and I am equally capable. If I break it down into small chunks, I can tackle them one by one and do this. I can learn at my own pace, but I will get to the point where the vision I see in my mind matures and matches what I am able to create.”
Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. Your style will define itself if you stay true to yourself and shoot what you love.
Don’t start a business unless you like running a business. If you aren’t going to charge real prices and treat it like a business, keep it as a hobby.
My advice is to be yourself. Don’t worry about being as good as those around you! Be the photographer you want to be in that moment. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparisons, but the only photographer you should compare yourself with is your past self.
It’s not the camera. It’s not the lenses. Or the post-processing, the poses, or the props. While all of those things might contribute to your vision, what makes a great photograph is YOU. Your knowledge, your heart, your skills. Learn about your camera, shoot in manual, and learn how to see and harness the available light (or make your own). This will get you closer to your vision than any new camera body ever would.
Study, practice, study some more, and practice what you’ve studied … and the best subjects to practice on, don’t ALWAYS have to be your kids …
Get to really know your camera and the equipment that you already own inside and out by shooting regularly whether that be daily or as part of a project. Joining a project helps you put your work out there among your peers and really helps you see the growth and your voice emerge. Don’t compare yourself to others, it is so hard to do when we are surrounded my so many amazing artists and can’t help but wonder what camera, lens, or secrets they have. They too began somewhere and everyone’s journey is much different, you want your art to reflect you and not mirror those around you. And, most importantly be patient with yourself and be willing to listen to critique from photographers who’s opinion you value whether they be a pro or not!
Turn off the outside noise. Find your voice. What kind of photographer do YOU want to be? Not what your clients want, what others want or what you might think others want, but what do YOU want? Once you figure that out…don’t stop at anything to be exactly who you want. Don’t remain stagnant. Keep learning, striving and growing. Oh. And shoot daily. Not kidding, pick up that camera every single day. You won’t regret it.
My piece of advice that I have actually given to new photographers is to invest in education and critque. I cannot stress it enough… be open to learning, always. Seek out other photographers who will give you honest, objective critique. Put away the tendency to be defensive and open yourself up to learning from others who really want to see you succeed. Because, truthfully, even when you feel like you’ve learned all there is to know, there is a mountain of more things to learn just around the corner!
Embrace the grain. Don’t be afraid to push your ISO to get that sweet shot. Better to have some grit, than to have out of focus images. Better to have some grain, then have nothing at all.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be a “real” photographer until you go into business; artistic vision and technical mastery, not a business license, make someone a great photographer.
Invest in yourself before investing in equipment or other things that you think will make your work better. Invest in workshops, classes, breakouts before investing in lenses, actions/presets, props, etc. Give yourself lots of time to practice and learn. Become involved in the forum and make friends to learn and grow with!
My advice to new photographers would be to not buy every great new camera that comes on the market! Invest in good glass that will last you for years!
Slow down….way down. The excitement of beginning photography may have you wanting to do it all. You are probably scouring social media and websites of experienced photographers and yearn to shoot images like what you see on their pages. You’ll get there! But first be patient and kind with yourself because everyone of those photographers started at the beginning too. So slowly work your way through the technical, practicing every chance you get, letting the basics sink in first. Enjoy the learning process. Patience will never look so good!
My advice would be to pick up your camera everyday. Doing a 365 was a game changer for me. It made me really think about what it was i wanted to shoot, as well as how to shoot it and how not to shoot it. Also, never think you have learnt everything you can learn. Just as you arrive at a place where you love what you take and you are consistent, it is easy to sit back and I would say keep challenging yourself because there is always more to learn.
Read your manual.
Always stay true to yourself and your vision. If you are in a setting and your heart is telling you it’s the perfect opportunity or moment to take the photo but your head is telling you no because (insert reason here), listen to your heart and take the photo. Over time you will begin to grow and your hearts vision will expand. Keep listening. It won’t let you down!
Find yourself a small group to interact with regularly. For me, that came via two different facebook groups.This will help you share your experience, ask questions, and share your work in a safe environment where you grow to nurture and love each other’s work on a much more personal level. The comradery offered is often different and more reassuring that that which we receive in our personal lives. For me, my friends didn’t always understand how much work I was putting into photography and didn’t really get the frustrations or victories that came along with it. Finding a group of people I can now call my friends is the best thing I did for myself – that and taking classes!
My advice is don’t go into business before you are ready. Take it slow and make sure that you have a plan, set goals and have everything together before you start charging for a session. Practice on friends and family before you take on any clients to build a good portfolio.
Find your style and stay true. Don’t edit a session with 15 different styles. Be different to set yourself apart.
If you are hoping to earn money from photograhy one day, my advice to you is start to learn the business side of things right away! Even if you are the best photographer out there, if you don’t know how to brand and market yourself, how to put a price on your services, it will be much more difficult for you to make a living out of this Art. Photography is really competitive and talent won’t just cut it. Educating yourself about business is the best gift you can give yourself if you want to make a living in the photography Business one day.
My advice would be to not worry about what others think about your work. In the beginning we are learning so much that it is overwhelming and you will constantly comparing your work to others. You will learn how to shot in manual, compose and edit a picture, and eventually find your style. It takes time, practice, and patience, but you will get there.
Respect your fellow photographers. Don’t steal, don’t copy, and don’t trash talk. There’s plenty of room for everyone.
I don’t think this has been said yet, but one thing that helped me was looking at photos I admired and first, figuring out what I was drawn to in the photo and why, then second, trying to figure out how the photographer got the shot by breaking down the photo. Ask questions like, “Where is the light coming from?” “What did they expose for?” “What is the subject composition and why?” “Did they use a wide-angle or telephoto lens?” “What about it catches your attention? (the light, the connection, the perspective, something else?)” Dissecting photos you are drawn to helps you figure out what you love, where you want to go with your work, and how to start accomplishing that.
Turn your camera to manual and at that moment begin a 365 project. Every few weeks then look back at your work from when you started to see your growth. Many times you might feel you are not growing and evolving but you truly are.
My advice would be to get a mentor. No matter where you are in the game. Find someone who is an expert in the genre of photography that you are most interested in and learn everything you can from that person. The return on this investment is truly priceless.
The first step towards taking good photos is understanding what your camera does. I encourage you to read your camera manual and study what your camera can and can not do. Get a solid understanding about exposure, white balance, lighting and editing programs. I would not suggest to invest a lot of money in presets and actions in the beginning of your journey. Presets are great timesaving tools, but you need to have a better understanding of what those presets do to your images if you want to enhance them. By educating yourself in all aspects of photography you will have more control over your images.
Don’t obsess over getting the perfect shot. Just shoot. And keep shooting. Move around. Keep trying different angles and settings until you learn what works and what YOU like. Some days you may not like any of your images and others you may love so many it’s hard to choose a favorite. The only way to get better and to develop your eye and style is to keep shooting. A LOT!
Take it slowly. Learn your camera inside and out. Make it an extension of you and what you see. Seek to make your audience see the beauty in what you are photographing. If you follow your heart, YOU will shine through.