New photographers have a lot to learn. That's normal. Every journey starts with the first step. While these aren't the ONLY 10 things beginners should know, they are 10 things that will absolutely help newbies get a better foothold on their photography. So without further ado, here's a list of 10 things every beginning photographer should know:
1. There is no magic camera that makes you a great photographer – no more than there is a magic set of golf clubs that will make you a pro golfer or piano brand that will make you a great muscician.
2. Well-known travel photographer David duChemin says "Gear is good – vision is better." How do you develop vision? Look at lots of published photos.
3. Study the craft and the art of photography before you spend a lot of money on gear. During your study you will come upon your own photo truth and this is necessary before making a big investment in camera gear. (If you want to make a smart investment - that is.)Try renting cameras for the first few months before you decide.
4. Start small. Its almost always good advice in any new pursuit but its especially important in photography, since any art form thrives on limitation. Stick with one camera and one lens for a while and see what you can do with that.
5. Make photographs that feature subjects you’re passionate about. Shooting from the heart always yields the best photographs. If something is moving to you, chances are it will be moving to others. Concentrate first on what moves YOU and let the audience find your work later.
6. Try to master each stage of photography before moving on to the next level. Theres a lot to learn. Don’t rush it. Make a commitment to learn and love one type of photography at a time. After youve gone through several genres – your favorite will stick out.
7. Try to think about your photographs as if they were hanging on the wall and do that BEFORE you press the shutter. Know what you want to accomplish. Take your time. Do it carefully and with serious consideration given to the end result.
8. Read your camera manual. Really. Every day. Become so familiar with your camera that its simply an extension of you.
9. Practice, practice, practice. This means shooting every day -- If only to make a photo of a beer can on the porch. Take your camera out of the closet, set it up, make a picture, do it every day and you won’t believe how much that simple act helps.
10. Don’t get discouraged. This takes time just like anything else. You wouldn’t expect to be a world-class golfer or musician overnight. You won’t be a world-class photographer overnight. But you can still have fun and enjoy yourself until you do – become a world-class photographer that is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Photo Courtesy Tracie Maglosky
Scott Bourne is President of US and Chinese Operations at Skylum Software (Makers of Luminar & Aurora HDR,) an Olympus Visionary, a professional wildlife photographer, author, lecturer and a signed Master Photographer at Studio of Masters, China who specializes in bird photography. He was one of the founders of This Week In Photo, founded Photofocus.com and is co-founder of the Photo Podcast Network.
Scott is a regular contributor to several photography related blogs and podcasts and his photography has appeared in more than 200 books and magazines. He is a trainer at both ThinkTapLearn and lynda.com, and is the author of 11 photography books.
Scott is available to speak to your birding group, photography group and for private bird photography workshops. For more information on engaging Scott as a speaker or workshop leader, or for image licensing and print information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.