Today’s article is mainly for the beginner photographers, who want to succeed in their photography career. In this article we’ll discuss about 7 tips for a beginner photographer to succeed in photography. Neurologist Daniel Levitin writes: “From numerous studies, the following picture emerges: no matter what field is involved, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve a level of skill commensurate with being a world-class expert.”
10,000 hours is 416 days of continuous time, or 10 years of lessons of 3 hours every day. Really a lot. If you devote so much time to one thing, then you will almost certainly become a specialist.
My first 10,000 frames are far behind, and about half of the expert 10,000 hours have passed. And I think Bresson is right. Nobody wants to show the first pictures after ten years.
At the beginning of the journey, we are all in doubt and in search of a key, a secret knowledge that will make us really cool. Striving to become better is a huge impulse and motivation, thanks to which we get through the initial period and do not give up what we love, despite disappointments.
By analyzing my experiences and observing students in the Fundamentals of Photography course, I have compiled a list of the biggest mistakes you can make early in your photography career. I hope to warn you against these pitfalls so that you retain faith in yourself and the energy to move forward.
1. Have Patience and Courage
When you just start studying photography, everything seems new, useful and you want to absorb information quickly so that tomorrow you will be better than today. I would like to immediately avoid mistakes in the camera settings, choose the right lighting. You think, “I look like a newbie when I press these buttons all the time and dumb over the camera.” Yes, that is right. And that’s okay. New knowledge and skills are not acquired in one day, it takes time. And mistakes will happen. It is better to spend a few more seconds or even minutes on adjusting the settings, but act calmly and with concentration. It’s also better than mindlessly slapping the shutter, sweating, getting nervous and not getting the results you expect. Speed will come later. Quality first is your goal.
Take your time to learn the basics, no matter how easy they seem to you. Make sure you really understand and can explain how it works. In photography, as in any craft, skill comes through hands. Take time to practice, the more the better. The faster you shoot your 10,000 frames, the faster you will move to the next level. And please don’t be afraid of mistakes. Always remember: you are not a pilot or a doctor, there are no lives in your hands. When you are wrong, nothing happens. In addition to giving you the chance to learn something new.
2. Invest in Development, Not Technology
Of course, we love photography because of the beautiful frames that make us sad, happy, reflect, and admire. But photography is also a technique, high-tech modern cameras. Advertising promises that the cameras themselves will take great pictures. We spy on what technique our idols are filming and think that having this equipment, we can get closer to them. These are all deception and very dangerous traps.
It can be compared to racing cars. In a Formula 1 car, there is no stability control system, parking assistant, ABS and other electronics that prevent you from killing yourself on the road if you make a mistake. On the contrary. To drive a car at high speed, you need special skills, years of training and great physical shape.
Also, with cameras, although they are not so dangerous. The more sophisticated the camera is, the more knowledge and experience it will take to get the most out of it. Start with what you already have. Focus on perception, sense of composition, and other photography-related things. Expensive equipment isn’t what you need when you start out.
3. Stop Zooming – Move
A zoom lens is indispensable when shooting a reportage and greatly simplifies the life of professionals. But this oversimplification is a danger to aspiring photographers. For the first time taking the zoom in hand, they begin to use it to get a larger image. However, zooming changes not only the size of objects in the frame, but also the perspective. It takes some time to realize all the changes. It is better to learn to notice these changes on prime lenses, with one focal length.
And if you decide to ignore the previous advice and fork out for equipment, then I recommend getting a lens with a fixed focal length (for example, 50 mm). The fix will make you move, come and go, and as you move, you will notice how the connections between objects in the foreground and background change. In addition, from the constant change of the shooting point, the photographs become diverse.
A zoom lens can be thought of as a switch between different focal lengths. There are many different rules for choosing the right one, not only the size and cropping of the image. Having learned to work with a fix of 50 mm, you can easily master others. Remember, the photographer must be in constant motion to find the best vantage point.
4. Forget About Automatic Modes
Actually, the title says it all 🙂 Auto mode is already a mistake. He promises to do everything himself and give a good result. However, this will only happen by accident. The thing is, the camera doesn’t know what kind of result you want to get. It comes from some average preference, which is not what you want. Only by controlling aperture, shutter speed and ISO can you be sure of getting the desired result. Until you ditch the automatic mode, your photos will not get better.
Even more evil is automatic focus point selection. It’s important not to be confused: autofocus is good, you press the shutter button halfway and the camera will focus. But where exactly it aims depends on the selected focus point. The camera never knows what you want to draw the viewer’s attention to. It is your sole responsibility and privilege to decide which part of the frame to sharpen.
Yes, it takes a little longer, but go back to the first point.
Your First 10,000 Worst Shots Makes You A Pro Photographer.Henri Cartier Bresson
5. Don’t Use Flash
How often in the dark have I seen a scene when tourists, photographing buildings or mountains, flashed with built-in flashes. And when they saw the result, there was obvious bewilderment on their faces. It just won’t work. No matter how hard you try.
And even if you don’t find yourself in such a situation, sooner or later everyone tries to take a good picture using the built-in flash of the camera. Once again, it won’t work. Built-in flash as an “emergency lamp”. Suitable for shooting something in complete darkness and if the subject is close enough. Shooting with additional lighting is a useful and important skill, but it takes some study and immersion.
If you are at the beginning of the journey, I advise you to completely abandon the flashes and learn how to properly work with the available lighting. Later you will learn how to work with pulsed and combined light.
6. Learn to Process Pictures
There is a popular opinion that the photograph should be completely finished inside the camera. As if processing is something alien. However, retouching appeared ten years after the invention of photography, and from that moment processing has become an integral part of it.
Yes, of course, a good photographer tries to make the picture as high quality as possible even while shooting. He thinks about composition, harmonious colors in the frame, lighting, the pose of the model. Already during the shooting, he corrects everything that is possible. A good photographer, first of all, knows how to work with light, because changing the cut of light is not so easy.
Nevertheless, any photograph, to one degree or another, needs processing. In the days of film, proper development and printing was as important as shooting. Professional laboratory technicians were prized by photographers. During development and printing, the contrast, brightness of the image was increased, and the details of the image were hidden or removed. It is a big mistake to think that “everything was better in the past; the pictures were true and not processed.” This is simply not true.
Processing in Lightroom, or another editor, is necessary to add highlights, balance colors, and remove distracting details. This kind of editing has always been a part of photography. What comes out of a digital camera is a raw picture, like a film negative that is not finished yet.
7. Don’t Over Complicate the Plot
A common mistake of novice photographers is the excessive amount of detail in the picture. In an effort to show as much as possible, to complicate the plot, superfluous people and extraneous objects that are not related to the motive are placed in the frame. All this distracts the viewer from the main plot. Treat each photo as an offer. A complex sentence, with a large number of embedded thoughts, clarifications, is difficult to perceive. A simple sentence is easy. The fewer distracting details in the image, the better the viewer perceives the photo.
For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that multifaceted photographs with a lot of detail attract attention, they are interesting to consider. But to master the art of visual storytelling, you need to learn how to tell simple stories. Gradually complicating your photos. Therefore, if you want to include several ideas, plots or meanings in a photo, break the photo into a series of shots with one idea in each. Later you will start increasing the number of information layers by adding details to the photo on different planes. Then you will know that not a single part of the picture of the “great old masters” was accidental, everything was carefully planned.
You may also like to read: The Basics of Wildlife Photography for Beginners
Please do not take these tips for a beginner photographer as a direct guide to action. Think about personal experience. Analyze how and what you are doing now and what skills you want to improve. I am sure you will find ideas that respond to your desires and want to apply them. Try and watch the changes. I will be glad if my recommendations make your movement easier.
Let’s continue this list and help others learn from your mistakes. Tell us what misconceptions have you encountered?