Getting Started in Photography: 5 Things You Should Know First

Getting Starting with Photography

Getting started in photography can be quite scary, I know it was for me when I first started. I started by investing in a DSLR, and I figured everyone would purchase my images. In reality it is a bit more difficult and if I wasn’t so passionate about photography, I probably would have given up a long time ago.

 My first photography session, practicing with my (at the time) step-children

My first photography session, practicing with my (at the time) step-children

Just like any art, photography has to be learned, and practiced – a lot. It is a trial and error process, we all start at the bottom and build our way up. We find other artists or photographers and we try to reproduce the same quality while developing our own style.

If your photographs are not coming out the way you imagined them to be, then try a different approach. Just try something. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Education

Photography to some is a fun hobby or to others, can be an extremely rewarding career. Regardless which path you’re walking, it is a lot of hard work. The first tip I can give you is to absorb as much information as possible. How do you do that? Well you have so many free resources on the internet, and all you need to do is take advantage of it. Since you are reading this, then you’re on the right track.

 Photography education is most important thing you should start with

Photography education is most important thing you should start with

By resources, I mean articles online, magazines, and YouTube tutorials. You can learn so much in less than 30 minutes.

If you’re looking for a faster method, try hiring a mentor to guide you on your journey. Mentor’s are great resources for knowledge and normally have a wealth of information.

Photography workshops are also a good way of learning about photography. Some workshops even offer hands-on training during the session to help you understand the concepts and material you just learned.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment on your own. Take your camera, maybe a friend or two and just practice.

Try All Kinds of Photography

Speaking of experimenting: don’t focus on only one type of photography. Of course, if you like “portrait” photography then do that. What I’m trying to say is, that when you’re first starting out, you should explore all the possibilities in photography. It’s important to discover what you really gravitate towards. When I first started photography, I thought I was going to be a 5-star wedding photographer, turns out that I don’t really enjoy photographing weddings. However, I did discovered that I love shooting private events.

 DeVos Institute of Arts Management Event at LINE ATX in Austin Tx

DeVos Institute of Arts Management Event at LINE ATX in Austin Tx

Photography is an extension of your personality and creativity, so photograph things you enjoy doing!

You may be surprised by the results you get. From my experience, the more you learn, the more you’ll be able to do things. It’s better knowing how to do five things than only one when starting out. If you don’t try, you will never know if you like it or not. Experimenting is very important for growth.

Photography is an Expensive Investment

The third thing you should know is that photography is an expensive investment. You will need to buy lenses, camera bodies, possibly tripods, and maybe some filters, which will add up very quickly. If you are not smart with your decisions, then your bank account can end up in tears.

 Buy only what you need, not what you want.

Buy only what you need, not what you want.

It may seem confusing when I tell you to try different types of photography, but then warn you about buying too much gear. If you want to try macro photography, don’t buy a macro lens right away. Just rent one from your local camera store until you know for sure if you are serious about macro photography. Renting a preferred lens will cost a lot less, and your bank account will thank you later for it.

I started photography with a phone, then moved up to an entry level DSLR, and now I own a full frame camera. But, it took me a few years to go from my phone to full frame, so don’t go out and buy the best DSLR ever, find something that will suit where are you starting first.

I get asked this question a lot, “ What is the best camera to buy for getting started in photography?” Without knowing what genre of photography that person is in, I typically respond with “which ever camera feels the most comfortable in your hand”.

The reason is because all cameras pretty much do the same thing, but not all of them feel the same in your hand. You want to make sure you have a camera that is comfortable if you plan on using it a lot.

Retouching Your Photos

The fourth tip is to learn about post-processing. Most beginning photographers underestimate the power of post-processing. It can make or break an image, that’s why my first point is important. You have to learn and fail in order to succeed – once you learn how to understand software like Adobe Light Room or Photoshop, your photography will become more like a process. You will start to automatically think about how you’re going to retouch your image while you are in the middle of capturing it.

Before-After-Anthonyjohnsonphotography.jpg
before-after-Anthonyjohnsonphotography-01.jpg

For post-production, I also recommend learning about the same topic from different sources. There are a lot of different ways to do the same thing, you just have to find which way works the best for you. It doesn’t matter how you do it, the important thing is the end result. One of my favorite websites to learn from is PiXimperfect, this man is a genius when it comes to Photoshop!

All these options can be quite scary because there are so many tools, but once you become familiar with the software, you will be able to work on your worst shots and get the best out of them.

I would like to add that I believe retouching your own photographs is an extension of being an artist, because you are sharing with the world your vision for that image.

Hobbyist to Professional

If you’re still with me and you’re interested in going from a hobbyist to something a little bit more professional. You will need to learn all about running a business. You will also need to be able to deliver positive results every time. Not half of the time, not some of the time, but EVERY time!

 That moment you look at your soon-to-be spouse and realize everything is perfect.

That moment you look at your soon-to-be spouse and realize everything is perfect.

And most importantly, you will need to know how to solve your client’s problem with your photography! For example, A bride might be looking for images that are creative yet elegant while capturing her personality. She doesn’t want flat, boring or distracting objects in the background of her images. It can be tough sometimes, but if you’re interested in learning more, let me know in the comments below and I may even do a whole post dedicated to answering your questions.

Summary

So if you’re just getting into photography, consider these five things as you begin your journey. Learn everything you can from multiple sources, try different kinds of photography to see what you like, don’t get caught in buying the latest and greatest in gear, don’t be afraid to retouch your images and remember being a professional photographer is more business than photography.

 Hey, that’s me! Hope you enjoyed this blog and looking forward to seeing you again.

Hey, that’s me! Hope you enjoyed this blog and looking forward to seeing you again.

Where are you at in photography? What advice would you offer to new photographers?
Please share in the comments below.