Warning: What you are about to read could be create an addiction.
Because if you just landed on this page, you probably searched for “How to get into photography,” perhaps simply wanting to start a new hobby or even a new career. But once you’ve caught the photo-bug, there’s no stopping that bubbling passion to continue to make the next photo even better than the last. Still interested? Good, the photo bug probably already took a bite of you and there’s no cure for it now. Here’s what you need to know to get into photography.
Photography isn’t just about knowing how to use a camera.
Sure, knowing aperture and shutter speed is essential to creating good images. But mastering photography is different from mastering a camera. Outside of figuring out what all the buttons and dials on your camera do, truly getting into photography involves mastering concepts like composition, or what you leave in and what you leave out of the photo. Photographers have an eye for great images and great light. Learning how to use a camera is the first step, but it’s far from the last.
Photography is all about light.
The word photography is made up from two Greek roots that, when literally translated, mean, “writing with light.” Understanding photography, then, is all about understanding light. How does a photo change when the sun is behind you, to the side or directly in front of you? How do you use a flash to fill in the shadows? How do you use a flash to light a dark scene without getting weird shadows? How do you soften harsh light? Good photographers can recognize good light and great photographers can create good light.
Professional photographers solve problems.
Sometimes, it’s hard to find the line between an enthusiast and a professional photographer, but one big difference is that professionals need to know how to solve problems. Imagine a wedding photographer packing up their bags and leaving because the outdoor ceremony is at noon on a cloudless day. Shooting in harsh direct sunlight is one of the toughest conditions to shoot in, but a professional knows how to get good shots no matter what the challenge is.
To get into photography, you need a good portfolio.
If your goal is to one day be paid for your photographs, you’ll need a good portfolio. Once you’ve mastered the basics and you’re in the midst of learning great light and problem solving, start putting aside your best images. The photographer’s portfolio is like the “chicken and egg” question—you need a portfolio to get hired, but you need to get hired to take images—or do you? Get some friends and schedule a few fake sessions—you’ll get both essential practice and portfolio images. Another great way to learn while getting portfolio images is to work with an established photographer as an assistant or a second shooter, or take an in-person studio class with hands on assignments.
There’s more than one way to get into photography.
The field of photography is very diverse. As you start to learn photography, find where your passion lies and choose a more specific area to focus on. You could photograph portraits or weddings. You could travel as a landscape photographer, create tantalizing menu images as a food photographer, help companies grow with product photography or help sell houses as a real estate photographer. Resist the temptation to shoot anything that someone is willing to pay for and focus on both where your passion and best work is at.
Photography is addicting, often challenging and sometimes frustrating. But is getting into photography worth it? Absolutely.
Article by Hillary Grigonis
Additional points by Photographer Nick Wood
Being a professional photographer appeals to a large number of people – it seems to fit the dream job description or working for yourself, creative freedom and shooting beautiful people and objects. Reality is that few people see the dream through and stop once they receive their first knock back or because the phone doesn’t start ringing even though they have posted a picture on Facebook and got their brother to create a website for them.
In my experience, you need to look after the technical, creative and commercial aspects of becoming a photographer in order to succeed. Work on your camera & lighting skills, create a sound business plan and budget and start to develop a style of your own (this comes with time). Don’t be put off easily and fight your corner – demand for images is massive and there is space for you.
if you would like any help in setting up a photography business then please get in touch by emailing [email protected] or call 01245 494258. Unshaken Photography Training run short one day courses and a year long professional photography mentoring programme that can help you develop a thriving business.