3 Photography Tips I Wish I Knew When Starting Out
One of the things I love the most about photography, is that there’s no right or wrong. It’s art where it’s all about YOUR vision. Same way, everyone’s learning process is different: some study photography at uni (me!); some learn as they go and pick up pieces of information from all over the place. That’s why everyone is equipped with different knowledge and an array of skills, which is amazing (we can learn from each other!). At the same time we may miss a certain ‘piece of the puzzle’ at the beginning of our photo journey and learn it later on. So today, I want to share with you my top 3 photography tips I wish I knew sooner, when I was starting out.
3 Photography Tips I Wish I Knew Sooner
Don’t focus on the gear so much.
There’s always a better camera/lenses out there, and new ones keep coming out all the time. Of course you can get yourself in debt and buy the BEST and most expensive gear. But at the end of the day, if you don’t know how to make the most of equipment you’ve got, it doesn’t matter.
Forget the idea that “great camera takes great images”. It’s simply not true!
(The same way my brother-in-law thinks the most expensive golf clubs will suddenly make him a pro-golfer).
It comes down to your creative vision, your angles, lighting, and HOW you use your photography gear.
Whatever you have right now – an iPhone, a point-and-shoot camera, or a cheap DSLR – learn to own it. Read the manual, or head to YouTube! I promise, you will find a couple of cool perks you didn’t know your camera was capable of! Then practice!
Get to know your equipment’s strengths and weaknesses. For example the quality of your images in low light will be drastically lower if you use phone or a pocket camera. Unless… you introduce an artificial light to the scene. You can always work around the weaknesses – make sure the lighting is great.
Let’s talk about light…
Light is the most important aspect of every image.
Remember, photography is the art of capturing light or ‘drawing with light’. The word itself derives from Greek ‘Photos’ (light) and ‘graphe’ (drawing).
Learn how to use natural light. At the end of the day, it’s the most basic and versatile light out there. And also the cheapest. By learning how to modify natural light – reflecting, diffusing and limiting it – you can get a variety of distinctive looks.
Again, you don’t need 5 speed lights/strobes when you are starting out. When you learn about natural light and how it behaves, you will be able to manipulate it with minimal kit. My go-to photography accessory is a 5-in-1 reflector (the first one I got was only £10! I take it everywhere. If there’s not enough light, I use silver side to bounce as much light as possible back on my subject. If the light is too harsh, I diffuse it with a translucent side of the reflector for a softer look.
When you feel that you have mastered natural light, go ahead and get a speed light/strobe. Getting a flash was actually a turning point in my photography – I started to get bookings and went pro. You can read more about it here.
3. KEEP EDUCATING yourself
There’s always something to learn. Always.
I remember the time (couple years ago) when I though I knew everything there is about portrait photography… And that was the time when I had no website, no clients, nothing. As a result – stagnation. The wake-up call was a time when I was talking photos and a model asked “what shall I do, how should I pose?”, and I genuinely didn’t know. AWKWARD!
What really helped me overcome this was opening my mind to reading blogs and watching videos by some of photographers I followed. There was so much inspiration and wisdom – bonus point: no need to look for specific topics! I was reading and making notes of concepts I wasn’t familiar with, and then I researched and learnt about them more.
Today, I’m still absorbing a lot from photography blogs and YouTube videos I come across. It’s my morning habit now – the first thing in the morning while sipping my coffee – I learn.
There are so many things you can learn: photography techniques, lighting setups, posing (this one is an evergreen topic for me – there’s never enough knowledge when it comes to posing).
I know, some days you just don’t feel like learning about technical side of photography. Why don’t you look into learning how to become more efficient at doing tasks you’re less passionate about (for example photo editing or skin retouching). Also, it’s always a good idea to learn about business side of photography, like setting up a business, social media marketing, sales… The list is endless!
And here’s a BONUS TIP!
Build a portfolio you are proud of
Keep testing/collaborating and experimenting until you have a solid body of work that represents you as an artist both in terms of quality and artistry. Find your voice and hone it to the finest edge while test shooting. You can learn more about the importance of collaboration in my previous blog.
That’s all for this week my friend. Thanks for checking out my blog, I really appreciate it! Are there any photography tips you wish you knew sooner? Let me know in the comments below!