So you just bought a new camera or want to try out photography as a hobby. Here are 11 tips to get you started.
1. Take lots of Photos
To bend the learning curve upwards, as a beginner photographer it is extremely important for you to take as many photos as possible. This does not mean that you will put on burst mode and randomly start taking pictures. But take photos of anything that interests your eyes. Like any skill, practice is absolute and given that you aim to learn, taking pictures will help you hone this skill of yours.
2. Try to get Feedback of your Photos
There is no point in taking thousands and thousands of photos if you are not correcting your ways and improving your photos step by step. Keep asking for constructive criticism from people when you post your photographs somewhere. Sometimes, people will probably not like your photo and might bash you but it is extremely important to not get disheartened. Try to take whatever you can from the feedback and apply appropriately in your work. Take things that you think will help you and reject things that you think will not help your work.
3. Watch and analyze photos of other photographers
It is extremely important to see pictures alongside taking them. And ask yourself how they took the photograph. Analyze the photograph; what was good; what was bad; what, where and how the photograph was taken; if it could have been better. You can go to sites like Flickr, 500px Imgur, and even Instagram to see photos taken by other photographers. Follow works of good photographers. You have no idea the things you can learn by seeing works of other photographers.
4. Don’t obsess over equipment and gear
It is not the camera that makes the photograph it is always the man behind the camera. Sure, equipment knowledge helps a lot but it is important to know that at the end of the day your camera is merely a tool. It will not do anything on its own unless you make it do something. So there is no point in obsessing over gear and equipment where you can utilize that time working on your skill to take photographs. Your knowledge regarding gear and equipment will increase automatically as your progress as a photographer.
5. Master YOUR equipment
It might look paradoxical seeming this point right after ‘Don’t obsess over equipment’ but there is a fine difference between the two. Knowing the mechanics of the equipment you have with you will help you make the best use of what you have. Understand how the camera works and try to get off the auto settings as fast as you can. Auto settings of your camera will not allow you to take what you see. You may see a lot of things in a frame that you can bring out using manual but your camera may not (in most cases, will not) see it. So bring out what you want, it is important to know the mechanics of the equipment you will be using.
6. Take Proper Care of your Equipment
Your equipment is like your best friend. You will make and keep numerous memories with it (literally). It is important to take care of your companion. Take proper care when changing lenses; do not make a habit of giving your equipment to anyone who asks for it. Try not to give your equipment to someone who does not know how to handle your equipment at all. However, do not be overprotective and put your camera on a shelf. A camera is not meant to be locked and kept away in a shelf. It is meant to be used. When camera manufacturers make a camera, they do not make it fragile. They understand that the camera will perhaps go to adverse situations and will need to take on some load. So do not miss your shots by safeguarding your camera for eternity.
7. Keep in touch with other photographers
If you have photographer friends, talk to them about what you shoot. If possible, go on photo walks with them. You have no idea how much you can learn from a fellow photographer. If you do not know any photographer, there is nothing to worry about. There are many platforms for photographers to meet and connect. You can also connect with other photographers via social media.
8. Experiment a lot
Experimenting with different genres of photography will help you learn, explore and develop your own style. Try everything; what you end up specializing will come later but firstly, it’s important to try everything and experiment a lot.
9. Think before you press the shutter
As you keep taking pictures, at some point you will find your hands automatically pressing the shutter of anything interesting but if it’s not a fleeting moment, try to gather your thoughts before you press the shutter. Think about your shot, your composition, the elements in the shot; visualize it. Think of unique ways to take that shot. When you put your thoughts, your photographs will come out more refined and a better representation of what you wanted to portray.
10. Take advantage of free resources
There are countless free resources you can tap into to gain knowledge regarding photography. There are free tutorials, blogs, competitions, workshops, seminars etc. through which you can give your hobby a new horizon.
11. Enjoy the process
Learning photography is an amazing journey. As you progress as a photographer, you will start to see the world very differently. You will come across moments that will leave you awe-struck and many of your philosophies about life will change. Enjoy the journey as much as possible.
We wish you all the best in your journey as a photographer. If you have a question or leave an idea/opinion please comment below in the comment section.