So you want to get into photography more seriously, huh?
I got you my guy. Below you will find some veryyy important tips that I wish someone had told me (or I wish I had done research on) before I jumped in head first. So buckle up, put your helmet on, and grab a canvas + oil paints. Just kidding, that's extreme. But you might benefit from writing down the points that stick out to you the most and keeping it in the space where your creativity flows.
#1. STOP the COMPArison
Wow, I really cannot stress this point enough (hence it being my #1). I know, I know. You've heard this a million times before. But don't scroll past it-- hear me out + get comfortable 'cause you might be here for awhile.
When I first became interested in taking photos, maybe like you, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (you might even be further along than I was with my little iPod touch + a magnetic camera lens the size of my pinky toe).
So I did what any millennial would. I followed a whole bunch of different photographers on the 'gram, looked at Pinterest photos, and watched YouTube videos until I was overloaded with information. But something I forgot to prep in going into all of that, was my mind. Listen to me (imagine me virtually shaking you up a little bit right here to get serious).
Comparison can and WILL kill your business. The time you spend comparing your life + skills, is time you waste investing and bettering your potentiality.
Regardless of if you're starting photography as a hobby, a side hustle, or a business-- this is something you ALWAYS need to keep in the front of your mind. The cold hard truth is- there will always be someone a step (or 100,000,000) ahead of you. There will always be someone with more experience, more knowledge, + more success than you. But if that's something you allow to hold you back from pursuing something you want, then you probably won't get very far.
YES, by all means, research your little keister off. Go attack all social media platforms for who/ what inspires you. But guard your mind. Use it to be an opportunity to grow + learn, rather than become discouraged and scared away. And remember, there's no such thing as perfect in the photography realm. Capisce? Okay nice- NEXTTT.
#2. it's an expensive hobby
I'm not gonna lie. Once you buy your first "real" camera, you're in a fairly committed relationship with photography (I'm talking a full frame DSLR here, but ultimately the camera you start with doesn't determine future success with your new business- but this is for another day + blog). It doesn't stop there. You then go on to purchase more professional equipment as well as the other services you need to have a business specified to your unique style of photography. But I will say this so loudly and clearly.
The equipment you use does not determine your success. The more money you spend on gear + services does not automatically get you to the peak of photography.
Ultimately, you could purchase thousands + thousands of dollars worth of equipment, but it really comes down to you rather than the gear you use. I bet we've all seen some iPhone photos we gasped at because they were so good, and some expensive full frame photos we've made the eek cringe face to (you know what I mean). I started taking pictures on my iPod touch and then moved to a hand-me-down cropped frame old camera. But with that old camera I developed my skills by learning the fundamentals of photography and stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things.
It's okay to start of small and build your way up. It's okay to buy used gear. It's okay to start off with the free version at first. It's so so so wise to go into any purchases in the photography business slowly and carefully so you aren't left with regrets in the long run.
BUT. If this is something you want to take to the next level, you need to put in the work + invest your time and finances properly in order to get there. When you out skill your gear is when you know it's time to upgrade.
#3. become bff's with your camera
Take that sucker everywhere you go. When I first started doing photography, there would be days I would tell myself that I didn't need my camera that day, and literally every time I did that- there was always an opportunity where I wish I would've brought it with me.
Once you start taking pictures, you begin to develop an eye for it wherever you go. Whether you have more of a talent for nature (landscape photography), lifestyle, or portraits, you should always be looking for opportunities to create art and further your skill.
Practicing is the ONLY way you will actually learn how to use your camera and develop a unique style based on who you are.
Learn your camera inside out + upside down. Learn the settings, the buttons, all your preferences. Learn about focus points, aperture, ISO/ exposure, RAW vs. JPEG, etc. However, while it is important to know what your camera does and how to change things- only when you take it off the table to dust it off and use it, will it make sense. I have talked to countless photographers who have taken many classes on photography- people who literally went to college to major or minor in this art- and 90% of them have told me that while the information was helpful to know, it's nothing they couldn't have learned by doing it hands on or learning through studying themselves. Please don't get me wrong- I'm not saying don't take a class/ go to college for it. All I'm saying is that there is only so much you can do with the information stored in your brain before it comes down to the hands on learning.
#4. shoot in manual
This one is short and sweet.
Shooting in manual mode is a game changer that the future you will thank you for (trust me). I'm gonna be honest with you guys- this was the scariest thing about my decision to step up my photography game. It's like when you wanna ride your bike with the cool kids but you gotta take off your training wheels first (yikes).
When you choose easy over hard, you don't leave any room for challenging yourself to grow.
What does manual mode even change that's such a big deal in the photographer's world? Ohhh let me TELL you. You will have so much control over your camera and images. You get to specify each setting to your style of photography, which helps you 1.) develop your style if you don't even know what that is yet, and 2.) helps (forces lol) you to learn what the settings mean + what they do/ how they work.
It's up to you. You can continue shooting in Automatic mode or Portrait mode, but there's only so much you can do there! I challenge you to step out and make the switch, you'll never go back!
#5. set goals
If you've made it to this one, congrats- you're getting serious about taking photography more seriously! (so sorry that was uncalled for).
Okay so here's the thing. You ever heard of writers block? Yeah well, there's 'creators block' too- and that one's for us (yayyy). You're gonna run out of ideas, you're gonna get frustrated with yourself, your equipment, your social media, you'll make a mistake, you'll feel like it's impossible to get inspired and motivated to do the thing and we all know without passion behind something, it doesn't last for very long (and we all know that because we had 893 things we wanted to be/ do when we were growing up).
So what do you do when this happens?
Don't give up. Set your work aside and focus on yourself for a minute to refocus, re-prioritize + set goals for yourself.
The worst thing you could do is to just throw in the towel. This is how a lot of people quit and give up following their dreams. Because they get into a block and in the moment it feels like it'll last forever. So you need to take time to yourself to find what inspires you, and remind yourself why you're passionate about it (write down the "why" behind your business)! Set practical goals for yourself. Maybe finish that unfinished project you left, or try something completely different than you've been doing. Get organized, write things down, find an outlet, and keep going :)
Setting goals for yourself will allow you to never get comfortable in staying where you are for too long, because that can be detrimental to your success.
Well, that's all for now! Thank you for joining me in my journey, which is always a work in progress. I appreciate you guys so much and your love + support!
Until next time,