5 photography tips from one amateur to another
By Jill Meagher, Contributor
Photography can be a tough hobby to get into — it took me forever before I finally got a shot that I actually liked. However, it is extremely rewarding and by far my favourite activity. I believe that everyone should learn how to shoot, whether it be for fun or as a possible career. I have only been in the eld for about four years now and therefore I’m still new to the craft, however, along the way I’ve picked up a few tricks. Here are my five major tips for any beginner.
Get out, shoot and explore
There is no better way to learn a trade than by actually physically going out and doing it. Shooting once a day or a few times a week allows you to grow. You learn to become more comfortable behind a camera and then you start to find your style. The best advice I have ever received was to use my camera everyday and take at least one photo in order to watch myself progress. This has helped me realize what may have gone wrong in photos I’ve taken before and what to do in order to capture the image I’m looking for. Go out and explore your city — the best part about photography is that it can take you to new places you have yet to find. I have been to so many locations I didn’t even know existed within Calgary by following this tip.
Know your equipment and invest in it
I am not much of a technical photographer but I have learned that an important part in achieving great photos is to know your camera. I suggest reading books and articles as well as watching YouTube videos. Chances are, if you don’t know something, someone else in the photo community will and they will be more than happy to help.
Knowing your accessories is important as well. The amount of different lenses, flashes and even cameras can feel overwhelming but don’t let that intimidate you. Eventually, you’ll start to learn and find what brands and styles work best for you. Equipment can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re a student like me, but it is an investment. I don’t believe that equipment makes a photographer better, however, I do think it allows you to have a larger range when shooting. When editing, it is handy to have access to tools such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop — these apps take your photos to the next level.
Network through social media
Meeting other photographers is one of the best ways to improve and gain inspiration. I am constantly emailing or messaging photographers whose work I admire — our community is such a fun one to be part of because everyone is so willing to share tips and techniques with one another. Going out and collaborating, especially with a seasoned vet, is one of the best things you can do. You learn so much and are able to see how others work, which helps you to understand how to handle yourself at your own shoot. Look for inspiration online, too — if I’m in a slump sometimes I’ll go to Instagram to try and catch the creative bug. There are so many talented photographers that inspire me daily to go out and shoot even if I don’t have a subject. Instagram is a good way to get your name out there and to collaborate. It’s easy to find models and it’s a good way to reach out to other photographers.
Find your style
It can be daunting trying to live up to your own expectations, especially in the beginning. I still look at other photographers on Instagram and get discouraged because my photos don’t look as good as theirs, but we’re all learning. I’ve learned that I have my own style as does everyone, so do not panic if you think your work isn’t up to standard — there are no standards. Find what works for you and continue to build your skills.
To me this is the most important tip I can give. Photoshoots are meant to be fun for the model and the photographer. Don’t take it too seriously — if you do, you’ll end up making your client and yourself feel uncomfortable. An awkward shoot makes for awkward photos, so have a good time and don’t stress. Having someone love a photo you’ve taken of them is the best feeling. Seeing them smile because you’ve made them feel confident and comfortable in their own skin is the best reward.