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Tips for New Photographers

Hi there friends! I thought  I’d share the five most important lessons I have learned since deciding to become a professional photographer not too long ago.  If you are deciding to start your journey into professional photography, jump in with both feet, but be prepared to get wet.

Tip 1: Photography is a science, learn it.

This is the most important step when starting any new venture. There are so many great websites (both free and paid) that offer tutorials on exposure (e.g., ISO, shutter speed, aperture), composition, lighting, and even how to adjust your specific camera! Google is your friend. Actually Google AND YOUTUBE are going to be your BEST FRIENDS!

Wikipedia but also my Physics Textbook

Wikipedia but also my Physics Textbook

After you get comfortable with the science behind your camera, subscribe to Adobe. It is $10 a month, but worth every penny. There are other great photo editing softwares available such as Alien Skin Exposure, but Adobe is a great place to start! I started watching many Youtube videos on how to use Photoshop and Lightroom. YOU WILL NEED TO DO THIS TOO! These programs are not intuitive, but then again nothing computer related is (at least for me). I am still trying to unlock the power of Lightroom and Photoshop. I'll have another post later about my thoughts on presets.

Tip 2: Attend a workshop, but not just any.

Attending the Over Yonder photography workshop in Asheville, NC was probably the best thing I did for my photography. Of course I was super terrified, considering I had no shooting experience what so ever, but it was a really great experience. Be brave and sign up for one. They are expensive, but I promise, they can be worth it. Not only will you gain knowledge about the photography business, but you will get shooting experience, and pictures to help you build your portfolio! Photographers are always hosting workshops so finding one near you or in your price range won’t be hard! Many even offer one-on-one mentoring via Skype. Word of caution! Before you invest in a workshop or mentoring session, make sure the photographer shoots in a style that like and also that you envision yourself shooting. So, for example, if you love the bright and airy look, don’t go to a workshop taught by a dark and moody photographer, and vice versa. Capisce? (pronounced kah-peesh)

Tip 3: Join photography groups to be inspired by others.

There are lots of groups and resources for photographers on Facebook. Groups like Looks Like Film, and The Rising Tide Society are great! But don’t spend more time there than out and about shooting. I am hesitant to promote joining these groups because they can be a huge pitfall. To avoid falling in to the abyss of "I'm not good enough," don’t compare your work to the work you see there, and don’t feel bad when you post a picture and no one comments/likes. That in NO WAY means what you posted was bad. Use them for inspiration and to connect with other photographers in your area so you can create your own magic. Don’t use them to measure your work against.

My friend  Khiara LaBrie !  We met on the Rising Tide Society Facebook group.

My friend Khiara LaBrie!  We met on the Rising Tide Society Facebook group.

Tip 4: Know your rights!

You may not know this (I certainly didn’t), that everything that comes off your camera is your property. It does not belong to any other photographer. Protect the images on your SD card. It is so important as a new photographer that you get credit for the images you took. Clearly set expectations and sign contracts ahead of time when you decide to collaborate with another photographer, even if you second shoot for someone. Be careful who you trust. This is one of the most painful, but most important lessons I have learned far. #communityovercompetition is a trendy hashtag, but don't be fooled.

Tip 5: Practice! Practice! Practice!

I cannot stress how important this is. Watching tutorials isn’t enough; you need to go out and expose yourself to as many different shooting and lighting situations as possible. If you have a friend who is also a photographer, set up shoots together, or go for walks downtown. Even better, practice on each other! You will both benefit by beefing up your portfolios! Building your portfolio is going to help you immensely with setting up your social media platforms and getting clients. And don't be afraid to ask your friends to model for you! Friends (well, good friends) want to support you and your budding business. 

Like all new things success comes with time. Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and create your art!

My first attempt at double exposure during a walk in downtown Durham with my fellow photographer friend Melissa. Obviously we stopped and had donuts at Rise, too. Did you even have to ask?

My first attempt at double exposure during a walk in downtown Durham with my fellow photographer friend Melissa. Obviously we stopped and had donuts at Rise, too. Did you even have to ask?