Written By: Dani Vaughan
Photography has become such an accessible hobby for people to enjoy. Each year, technology that goes into cameras continues to become more and more advanced. While the bells and whistles of the newest camera are a great tool, you still must have a base of some key components when it comes to photography.
I started learning photography right as the era of film cameras was coming to an end and digital cameras were more and more prominent. A lot has changed since then. Now most cameras in cell phones are at least 5x that sensor size of the digital cameras from 15 years ago. Modern digital cameras also now have a plethora of newer features.
Many of the tricks that I have learned when it comes to photography are things that I learned along the way. I have had a few great mentors who have also helped steer my journey, but ultimately it is up to YOU to decide your final path. I have 5 tips that I want to share that have helped me on my journey and continue to help me today.
1. FIGURE OUT YOUR AREA OF FOCUS
When I say this, I am talking about your subject. Do you want to take photos of landscapes? Portraits? Action? Weddings? Etc. While every photographer has almost always had experience in each of these fields, it is a good idea to pick the one you like the best and make it your focus. This is not to say you will never take photos of the rest, but become an expert in your chosen area or two. You want people to come to you for those specific types of photos. Pick the one that brings you the most enjoyment. I have personally found the greatest enjoyment in action and portrait photography but will still take a photo of a landscape when the moment arises.
2. ALWAYS MAKE THE PHOTOS YOUR OWN, NEVER COPY 100%
As creatives, we get very protective of our own work. We pour our souls into our work and are proud of the outcomes when we are finished. Take inspiration from other creators since there are tons of photographers out there and they produce AMAZING work. Learn from them and take inspiration, then make it your own.
3. THE MOST EXPENSIVE GEAR DOESN’T MEAN THE BEST RESULTS
While new gear and technology is a great tool, it does not mean you will be successful just because of that. If you hand a painter a paint brush and paint, they can create something amazing. Hand those same tools to someone that may not have the same knowledge and experience, and the results are going to be very different and probably not as good. Learn how to best use the gear that you have access to and become a master with it. Upgrade your gear when it can pay for itself.
4. NEVER STOP LEARNING
I encourage you to never lose the desire to learn more and avoid thinking that you have everything figured out. There are always changes and improvements that can be made. Learn from other photographers, continually read about new techniques, and just try new things.
5. REMEMBER THE JOY
On those long shoot days, endless nights of editing, or questioning the amount of money that you have spent on gear, always remember what got you into photography in the first place. Whether you are trying to be a full time professional or a hobbyist, there will be hard days. Remembering what made you start in the first place can sometimes really help you through those heavy workloads.
I have been a hobbyist photography for about 10 years and didn’t really get my chance to work professionally in the space until about 6 years ago. I still considered myself to be a beginner and am working to continually improve my craft. This list of 5 things are pieces of advice that I would have liked to hear when I was just starting out.
You never know if you like something until you try. If you are wanting to get into photography professionally or just wanting to get better with taking photos with your phone, just get out there and see what you can create.