My Top 5 Tips for New Photographers
Picture above: Me tinkering with an old camera.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how far I’ve come and how far I still need to go in my photography. Has my photography improved leaps and bounds? Absolutely. Has my business improved? Yes! But do I still have work to be done? YES! As photographers we are always growing and learning, it really never stops.
So to this point, I’d like to reflect back on being a new photographer and share with you a few tips that I wish I had known back then. Maybe you’re not a new photographer, but as I mentioned above, we are always learning and growing, and you might find something in here useful.
1. Don’t beat yourself down, someone will ALWAYS be better than you.
I honestly don’t care if you’ve just picked up a camera or if you’re Annie Leibovitz, someone will always do it better. When I was in college there were all these other photographers that were better than me, in some ways it was inspiring, but most of the time it got me down. I thought, how am I ever going to make it with all these other people who are so much better? The answer is by having your own style and by persevering. You will stand out to customers who are looking for your personal brand and style. You just have to hang in there and compare yourself to yourself, not others, as cheesy as it sounds.
You have to shoot all the time. Period. End of section.
Just kidding, I’ll elaborate. You have to shoot a lot. Like anyone who will stand in front of your camera. Bribe them with candy if you must. The number one tip I can give for improving your photography is to practice. Look up photographers that you admire and follow them. See what they are doing differently. Remember, don’t tell yourself how much “better” they are than you, just notice what the differences are and note why you like it. Try implementing those differences in your own work. Did it help your work or hinder it?
3. But how do I find people to practice on?
This was actually a huge struggle for me when I started shooting family sessions. I would offer free sessions, but still, it was difficult to find families to practice on. I tried to do model calls, but without that initial base of clients, no one would even see my model call posts. And then I had an epiphany! There are a lot of blogging mommies on Instagram who need family photos! So I started searching in my area for moms on Instagram and sending them DMs. I would say that I am a new photographer looking for families to practice with and I had a great response rate!
4. Don’t buy too much gear you won’t need
You really don’t need much to start making stunning photos. I recommend getting a good camera and a 50 mm lens. I highly recommend going to a store like B&H and asking the sales representative what they recommend. Tell them what kind of photography you want to do and your budget and they will show you the best cameras for you. They are extremely knowledgeable in a store like B&H and can help you out tremendously. As for the lenses, I think a simple 50mm 1.8 is a great start. It’s lightweight, versatile and not too expensive. Down the line, you can look at getting an 85, which is also amazing for portraits.
5. Pay attention to the light.
This is very important, you simply must pay attention to your light. Don’t shoot at high noon if avoidable and don’t put your subject in direct light with the sun shining on their faces. No one likes squinting into the sun with their eyes burning and it just doesn’t make for pleasant portraits. If it’s very sunny out, move your subject to the shade.
I hope these tips helped you a little. If you have any questions or comments feel free to comment below. I’m always learning and growing and I’d love to hear from you!