New Photographers: The Sooner Your Learn These Lessons, The Better
Everyone is new to photography when they first start out. But there are definitely a few lessons new photographers should learn fast, so they can stop being "new photographers" and start honing their craft.
Now, these tips aren't meant for just those looking to turn pro. These tips are also geared toward amateur photographers and parent photographers just looking to take better photos. Let's face it, we're all photographers and anything we can do to up our game will make taking and sharing those moments that matter even more special. Let's get started!
Want to be a great photographer? Practice!
"How did you take such an awesome photo? Can you teach me how to do that, too?"
First, thank you, and second, probably not.
Photography isn't such an easy subject to teach. Yes, budding photographers can be taught such "rules" as the rule of thirds in photography, but in reality, photography is more art than science. In my personal experience, it's best to just "do" and that means practice! The more you practice, the better you'll get and the sooner you realize that and just dedicating time to practicing the sooner (and faster) you'll become a better photographer.
Editing your photos is important for a 'polished' final look.
I'm willing to be the vast majority (99%+) of the photos you saw that gave you a, "wow, that photo is so awesome" initial response were edited - some of them, very edited.
Editing photos is actually a pretty controversial topic in photography. Some professional organizations have actually specified codes of ethics that prevent them from modifying images too much.
However, if you're shooting photos for your own purposes - to post on social media or maybe even have a few photos printed to hang on your walls, then editing them is a must.
The photography equipment you use isn't as important as your perspective.
One of my pet peeves is when someone compliments me on a photo and then immediately asks for a list of gear I used to take the shot.
I always interpret that to mean, "...if I use the same stuff you did, I can take the same shot."
Yes, the gear you use matters, but it's not the most important element of photography. You perspective, your shooting style, the angle you take, the lighting conditions in that moment - all these elements matter, too.
To drive this point home, I found a perfect story to illustrate the fact that the gear will only take you so far. A few years ago, a pretty famous fashion photographer named Lara Jade used a toy 0.3-megapixel camera on a photo shoot.
The 'rules' of photography are meant to be broken.
Rules in photography aren't really rules - they're more like guidelines, at best. That's both liberating and confusing all at the same time.
Some of the best photos I've seen follow the rules and some of them were taken specifically to break the rules.
As a new photographer, you should learn what these rules are and understand them, but also know and decide when it's appropriate or even a good (artistic) idea to break those rules.
If we all followed the same rules, wouldn't all of our photos look the same?
Some photos just look better unedited.
Do you remember up above when I said 90%+ of the wow-inspiring photos you see are likely edited? Yeah, well not all of them are, and part of being an experienced photographer is knowing when (or how much) to edit a photo and when to just leave it alone.
I've seen some really great photos that could have stood on their own without editing be cheapened or even ruined through over-editing.
Great photographers don't let fellow photographers over-edit their work.
The best camera is the one you have with you.
We're going to go back to the great gear debate in photography for this one. There are cameras out there that cost many thousands of dollars, and professionals can have tens of thousands (or more) invested into their camera gear.
One of the most popular photography related searches on the web relates to, "what is the best camera?". What's the best camera for landscape photography? What's the best camera for portraits? Who is better, Canon or Nikon (an age-old debate).
The truth is that the best camera is the one you're carrying with you when a photographic moment arises. That could mean your smartphone camera, a Polaroid or your high-end SLR. If you don't have a camera on you, then the best camera in the world won't do you much good if it's sitting on the shelf at home.
Mobile phone cameras take perfectly fine photos.
Have you seen the Apple iPhone "One Night" commercial yet? You know, the one where they show you awesome photos and videos and at the very end they tell you they were all taken using an iPhone?
At the end of that commercial, were you like, "no way - that wasn't taken on a mobile phone!"
The fact is that most photos taken today aren't taken on a fancy camera - they're taken using a mobile phone. And Apple's campaign was launched to drive home the fact that mobile phones can take some pretty awesome photos. So stop walking around with the excuse "I only have my mobile phone camera" and start snapping more photos!