So you got a new camera over the holidays?
I bet you’re wondering how to get started on your fun journey with photography.
The most important things you can do are also the simplest.
• Take photos.
Lots, and lots, and LOTS of photos.
The more photos you take, the better you’ll get.
Many professional photographers think the first one hundred thousand photographs they took were horrible.
(In other words – get busy!)
Nobody can take those first one hundred thousand photos FOR you.
You need to do it yourself.
• Use your camera every single day.
Yep, every single day. You want the camera to eventually become an extension of you.
(Your eyes, your brain, your vision, your arm, your body ….)
That’s not going to happen if you set the camera down for several weeks, shoot for a few days, and then set it down again for a month.
Even if you only take one photo per day, you’ll find your camera skills increasing rapidly.
• Take time every day to look at the work of professional photographers.
You can do this easily.
There are images all over the Internet.
You can look in magazines while you hang out in waiting rooms or airport terminals.
(You can even notice composition, lighting, etc., while watching TV and/or a movie.)
Some photos you see you will like – ask yourself WHY you like them.
Some photos you see won’t appeal to you as much. Ask yourself WHY NOT?
Soaking in the images of good photographers (whether you like their particular style or not) helps you grow as a photographer.
This is true for both the hobbyist and the aspiring professional.
I really can’t emphasize this enough –
Drink in the images from professional level photographers on a regular basis,
You’ll be surprised what you learn.
• Don’t shoot in automatic.
(By the way, it’s okay to take “bad” photos. That’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t.)
• Think before you click.
“Spray and pray” is when a person takes a zillion photos with the hope one or two might be keepers.
With a little forethought regarding your subject, composition, and lighting you’ll grow confident in getting the shot you want.
• Read the camera manual.
OK, I know you’re groaning at the thought.
The truth is, you need to learn what that little booklet has to say.
Try taking on one topic at a time.
For example, “Today I’m going to read about my camera’s focus points.”
Read the relevant pages of your manual with your camera in your hands.
If you don’t “get it” then re-read the manual and play around with the camera again until you do.
• Shoot what you love and shoot everything else.
Long term, you’re going to want to take photos of what you love taking photos of.
That might mean people photos or landscape photos or close-up shots of flowers, or who knows what.
Short term, you need to learn what your camera can and can’t do in various situations.
Stepping out of your camera comfort zone will help you achieve that.
• Have fun!
After all, isn’t that why you wanted a new camera?