Photography is something that is a very captivating and joyful experience. If you are one of those people who is starting photography as a hobby, focusing on the basics would be the best place to start.
Make sure you have the basic gear that will help you take great pictures. Practicing taking pictures in manual mode would be the best place to start. Use a tripod for steady shots and make sure to compose the images well. A good composition always draws the viewer into the pictures and makes them more interesting.
If you are one of those photographers with some experience and you’re considering taking it to a professional level, then strengthen your basics and have clear business goals.
Collect Basic Camera Equipment
Make sure to pick a camera according to your comfort level. A point-and-shoot camera would also be a good starting point if you are just starting in photography. Megapixels do not matter, nor does the price of the camera.
Start with an affordable option and keep upgrading gear as and when you keep growing and getting better with your skill set. What one can consider is a used or refurbished camera; it would be a cost-effective option. The owner’s manual is a very important thing to read after you have purchased your camera.
Knowing your camera well will help you get the best out of the gear. Remember, there will be something unique about your camera, so be sure to get to know your gear well.
If you have a DSLR camera, buy a prime lens
A prime lens will always help you isolate your subject and get the focus of the viewer. It also helps make the background blurry and more cinematic in appearance. These types of lenses don’t have the zoom option.
Most professionals prefer using a prime lens for how they render colors. Most people prefer to start with the 50mm 1.8L.-most The more memory cards, the better to handle the data and backup storage.
Usually, people think that just having 1 big memory card is all that you need. But due to unforeseen circumstances, we can end up losing a card or the card failing on us, so it’s always good not to depend on just one card.
Have multiple cards of different storage sizes and have them in your camera bag. These memory cards usually last between 3 and 5 years, depending on usage. You might have to replace them occasionally.
Having a tripod helps in capturing crisp images.
Tripods are a must-have in your camera bag. They help you make sharper images because they help you stabilize your shots when you use longer shutter speeds. Blurry pictures will be a problem no more.
Also, low-light photography will be easy as a tripod will help you with long exposure shots. Also, if you think a tripod is beyond your initial budget, switch to DIY and use objects like a stack of books, a wall, etc. Be creative!
Having a camera bag is a must
Your camera and the lenses need to be stored in a safe place when on the move. Camera bags or backpacks are great options. You can also carry your memory cards, an extra set of batteries, and a tripod in the same bag.
Many camera bags include separate compartments for lenses, cameras, and flashes. This way, the safety of your gear won’t be compromised.
Software for photo editing
Taking good pictures is not sufficient to create art. Polishing your images and making them eye-catching is also an art. This is where photo editing software comes in great help.
You can edit your images, and change and adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation to make the picture stand out better. There are a lot of available tools that one can use, the most popular options being Capture One Pro, Adobe Lightroom, Gimp, and Lightroom.
If something inspires you, capture it
Find out what you are interested in and what you’re passionate about capturing and invest time in photographing them. This will develop your skills and interest in photography.
Let’s say you love food or traveling and you are genuinely drawn towards it, then start capturing food pictures and do more travel photography. Over time, this will help you specialize in a particular genre.
Work on your frames and the right composition
While in the act of taking pictures of your interests, pay attention to what you see in your viewfinder. Make the frame interesting.
To help you with this, there is a concept in photography called The Rule of Thirds. Mentally divide your frame into three by three, horizontally and vertically. Place your subject of interest on these lines.
Let me explain this concept for better clarity. Let’s say you are shooting your pet dog. Do not place the subject in the center of the frame; this is not very appealing to the eye of the viewer.
Instead, place the subject on the bottom left or on the bottom right of the frame, keeping the reference rule of thirds square in mind. Now you have better composition and the viewers’ eyes are drawn to the subject.
Also, when you are taking macro or close-up shots, such as of flowers or an ant, use the macro mode on your camera, if available. This will allow you to capture sharp and minute details.
Framing your topic
After you have found something interesting to shoot, compose and take a few pictures in different compositions. Move closer and further away from your subject to frame it better.
If needed, also walk around the subject. This always helps you get the best possible shot and makes the frame very interesting.
Moving around your subject and recomposing the frame according to the background and the subject helps make better images.
If the subject is dark and the background is also dark, then the frame would be an uninteresting one. So make sure all these details are taken care of and the pictures you make will surely draw the attention of the viewer.
Take control of the exposure triangle
People usually start taking pictures in their camera’s automatic mode. The exposure triangle is balancing out the picture using ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Adjusting each parameter to get the desired image and exposure is vital to learning photography.
It’s a good point to start using auto mode because you get familiar with what settings the camera is using for you to get the picture rightly exposed; the shutter speed, ISO, etc. This will give you a good baseline for your future images.
Find time to sharpen your skills as a photographer
Going out and shooting as often as you can and consistently doing this is what makes you a better photographer. Give yourself challenges now and then. This task will help your mind think differently and get the best out of the situation and get better images.
It’s always good to show your images to your family, friends, or mentor to see if you’re heading in the right direction. Good feedback is essential for growth. Try new genres each week to keep things interesting, like trying nature photography, fashion, or street photography.
It’s also a good idea to enroll yourself in a photography class or a workshop to get a one-on-one session with a mentor who can shape your skills better and help you head in the right direction.
Playing with different photographic styles
If a photography career is what you’re considering, by now you may already be aware of what style of photography suits you best. If you’re still unsure, spend more time trying different genres and decide in what direction you’d want to head. Here are a few genres for you to try.
- Nature and the landscape
- Weddings and other special occasions
- Fine food products and product styling
A solid portfolio is very important
Once you’ve shot a lot of images, select your best work from different genres, and this now becomes your portfolio.
Pictures from your main interest or genre should be included more and the other genres should be included. This will tell the person viewing your portfolio what your interests are and what you’re good at.
It would be a good option to have your work in a printed format for the clients to look at it. Having an online portfolio is a good option as well.
Being an active user on social media is a key factor in promoting your work and showcasing your skill set to the people on these platforms. Regularly posting your images will help you get a following, which in turn will help you build a client base.
Photography is also a business, so be skillful at business
Considering photography as a serious career option requires a lot of hard work and preparation. Knowing the business aspects of photography is very important.
If you’re not great at business, then there is nothing wrong with it. Partnering with somebody good at business is also a good option to start with. People skills are as important as business skills.
If you are a shy person, make sure you prepare yourself and be more approachable. This will help you grow better.
Be sure to set realistic goals
Photography isn’t an easy career option; it is as demanding as the other career options. You need to be dedicated and put in hard work.
It’s very easy to get frustrated if things aren’t working out. Take it easy and one step at a time. Gradual growth is the best way to go. Have short-term and long-term goals set for yourself and follow the path.
This will ensure you’re heading in the right direction.
Good luck to you!