I know what it’s like to be a new photographer. I’ve been there. Tinkering with my camera and taking an unbelievable amount of photos of my family because they were willing guinea pigs for me to test new styles. Just like any new skill, it takes time to learn and to feel confident. Give yourself space to be bad at first and then celebrate all the little successes that come along. But if you want some more concrete tips to keep in mind, here are 10 tips for new photographers I would share with someone.
1. Get to know your camera and settings.
There are many ways to do this. Use your camera frequently and at different times of the day. Watch youtube videos. Read articles. Do research and then start messing around with your camera. Read other articles for new photographers about what you should know.
2. Practice, practice, practice.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Keep going. Keep practicing. It’s okay to be bad at it, in fact, it’s actually kind of expected that when you do something for the very first time you might not be an expert! You’re a new photographer and that’s okay! Shocker! So just keep moving forward and you’ll start to see improvements.
3. Experiment with different angles, perspectives, and lighting.
Find those willing guinea pigs I was talking about before and do mini photography sessions. Bring your camera with you everywhere and see every moment as an opportunity to experiment with posing, perspective, angles, and lighting. Then go home and see if you struck gold or if something you did inspires you to try something new!
4. Pay attention to composition and framing.
Don’t cut off feet. Enough said! Watch out for those common new photographer errors.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and critique. This will help you improve faster as a new photographer.
I know it can be vulnerable to ask for honest feedback but it’s also critical to getting better. Ask what people like and dislike about your photos. Remember to take everything they say with a grain of salt. This means being reflective about their criticism and seeing if you should apply it or maybe it’s more of a personal preference.
6. Learn to edit your photos effectively (invest in a good quality preset).
Editing is one of the places you can really shine as a photographer and share your unique style. Invest in a good-quality preset and use editing tools like Adobe Lightroom to make your photos more professional.
7. Learn from other photographers. Be willing to invest in your education!
Taking courses and attending workshops were one of the best things that I ever did for my photography business. I gained new skills, networked with fellow photographers, became more confident and specialized in my unique style, and so much more.
8. Invest in good equipment when possible, but if you don’t know how to use your camera or edit, your equipment doesn’t really matter.
Your equipment and your skills go hand in hand. If you’re using weak equipment eventually your skills are going to pass and you won’t be able to take the kind of photos that you want. Likewise, you might have the most impressive equipment in the world but if you don’t know how to use the camera or haven’t spent time learning to edit your photos effectively, then the type of camera you have really won’t matter. Make sure your skills and your equipment are improving together.
9. Find your own style and niche.
I regularly mute people on Instagram that make me feel I’m not good enough. It’s not about them, they’re lovely, it’s about my own mindset and comparison. Protect your headspace and creativity. Following people for “inspiration” when in reality it just makes you feel insecure about what you’re producing, is not inspiring you or making you more productive.
10. Have fun and enjoy the process!
As always, deep breaths and enjoying each moment is important along the way. Treasure those early practicing days and celebrate all the victories along the way. Photography started as a hobby of mine and is now my full-fledged business. It’s been quite the process for me and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned along the way.