As a beginner in ANYTHING, you need patience with learning the process. Every time you choose to learn something new, it requires to have patience with yourself and an understanding that mistakes will be made. Do not let this discourage you and stop the learning process. I put together a short read in hopes that it will encourage you to continue your photography journey. Remember that it takes time to master a craft, so here are ten mistakes you want to avoid as a new photographer.
Don’t spend on every piece of equipment you think is necessary
This was one of my first mistakes starting out as a photographer. I would see all these successful photographers showcasing their gear and equipment. Not to mention the new camera body or lens they just bought. So naturally, I felt the need to buy all this expensive equipment thinking it would make me a better photographer. Good equipment is not entirely bad; it really is about YOU as the photographer. You must be able to tell your expensive camera what to do, and YOU need to execute. It’s about the cook and what spices he uses to cook a delicious meal, if you know what I mean. So don’t feel pressured to buy the newest gear or accessory that hits the market. Only buy what’s necessary, allowing you to focus on your craft and what images you want to produce.
Photography is a form of art, therefore do not copy other’s work
This is another thing that I find very common among other photographers starting out. DO NOT COPY what others are doing! Unless you are taking a photography course and the assignment requires you to do so, please do not copy other people’s work. Photography is a form of art, and no one likes when others steal your art and do not give any credit to the artist who came up with it. Other photographers’ work inspires me in many ways, but I always try to be original. That is how you separate yourself from others.
Stop using Auto mode
You usually start on Auto mode if you don’t know how to use your camera. I mentioned this in my first point; you need to be able to tell your camera what to do. You can’t be using auto mode and hope to advance in your photography journey. This does force you to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Learn the basics; there is plenty of YouTube videos and content out there that you will find on the basics of Manual Mode.
This is another learning curve you must force yourself to learn. This is how you find your style and how you want others to know what your personal touch is regarding your work. There is a process that goes into photo editing (also known as workflow), and you can check out my other blog, “Learning your workflow,” which goes into more detail about it.
We all need constructive criticism when we are learning such art. Don’t get me wrong; not everyone will like your style of photography; however, we can all recognize the essential elements of photography. These should be included in positive feedback, such as good composition, focus, design, form, pattern, lighting, etc.,. This will be necessary if you want to enter a competition and put your work for the world to see. Do not be offended by the criticism rather take it and try to see if you can implement it into your work.
We all know education is always available to us. In fact, it is relatively accessible through social media and YouTube nowadays. I highly recommend you sign up for a photography program and soak in all the education you can receive because this is for your benefit. It also gives you credentials and the ability to get recognized amongst your local community.
Know what direction you want to go in
If you did get some education, this helps narrow down to what you want your niche to be. Find a few projects you would like to work on; this gives you a variety of work and an idea of whether you would like to offer those services. For example, you might be a landscape photographer and might not realize that you like portraiture instead. Personally, I developed a passion for taking photos of youth sports and portraiture overall. I do not offer weddings but I enjoy taking couples’ engagement photos. Take your time finding what type of work you like most and then focus on that.
Do not hesitate to start your journey
I made the mistake of waiting to start my journey after I received my photography degree. This was based on fear of not having things “perfect” or not having a big enough social media presence. DO NOT WAIT; the sooner you get started, the more of a rhythm you get and the more experience you’ll gain.
Have a plan
Once you figure out what type of photography work you want to produce, do something with it! Whether it’s a hobby or you want to offer services, you want to have a plan in place. If it’s just a hobby, I suggest you focus on competitions or selling your art. Who knows where that might take you? If you want to offer services, you want to ensure you are setting up your business. There is paperwork involved, marketing, social media, taxes, etc. Take one step at a time; no need to get overwhelmed as long as you have a plan well put together.
Know your worth!
I must remind myself how much I am worth and what my artwork is worth; therefore, this also applies to you. While others might not agree, remember that anything you produce is considered art. The time it took you to produce your work is a lot, and you should be compensated for it. Do not allow anyone to tell you any different. Someone will tell you, “Oh, I can go with someone cheaper,” and that’s fine. You make sure you let them know that your style is different and unique, so if they do not value you the same way, then they aren’t the correct client to work with. It is not just about pressing a button and taking pictures; it is about producing quality work!