|1. Use The Camera You Already Have.|
|2. Learn Which Setting Matters.|
|3. Take Your Time.|
|4. Meet Other Photographers.|
|5. Try Something New.|
|6. Have fun|
Use the Camera You Already Have.
Camera gear is not all that important.
There are countless cameras, lenses, and other accessories on the market today. We spend a lot of time reviewing them at Photography Life, and it’s true that some are better than others (or better suited for a given job). But once you’ve tested enough of them, the real takeaway is that pretty much everything today is excellent. The differences are almost always minor, especially at a given price.
So, use the camera you already have and don’t look back. In almost every way, today’s entry-level DSLRs are better than the top-of-the-line film SLRs ever were. Yet somehow those film photographers managed to capture beautiful, iconic photos that still look great today.
Much more important are your creative skills and knowledge of camera settings. Focus your effort on those, not on collecting camera equipment.
Learn Which Settings Matter.
There are a lot of camera settings, and it takes some practice to get them right, especially as a beginner. Even advanced photographers won’t always do everything perfectly. But it’s worth learning how to set your camera properly, and which camera settings matter the most, so you have the best chance to take the photos you want.
First, try practising with camera modes other than full Auto. You won’t learn anything if your camera is making all the decisions for you. It might be confusing at first, but hopefully, our articles on aperture, shutter speed, and ISO will give you a good head start. Those are the three most important settings in all of the photography.
Aside from aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, learn how to focus properly by practising with the different autofocus modes. You’ll probably prefer single-servo autofocus (also known as One-Shot AF) for stationary subjects, and continuous-servo autofocus (also known as AI Servo) for moving subjects. Don’t use manual focus unless it’s so dark that autofocus isn’t working.
Lastly, shoot in RAW if you want to edit your photos, or think there’s any chance you’ll edit
Take Your Time.
It’s easy to make mistakes in photography if you aren’t careful. The best way around this is to slow down and take your time whenever possible, particularly when you are first beginning to learn photography.
First, double-check your camera settings. If you’re shooting outdoor portraits on a sunny day, but you’re using last night’s settings for photographing the Milky Way, something is terribly wrong. Slow down and take the time to get it right.
Then, keep the same mindset for every other important decision. Is your composition as good as possible? Did you autofocus in the right place? Have you done everything possible to improve the lighting conditions?
And don’t listen to people who tell you to avoid reviewing photos in the field. Sure, it’s a bad idea to review photos when something amazing is happening in front of you, but you’ll almost always have some downtime between shots. Figure out the problems with an image in the field – not back at your computer.
Meet Other Photographers.
Meeting other photographers is one of the best ways to keep learning and improving, either for inspiration or for advice.
You’d be surprised how much people enjoy sharing their tips and techniques with other photographers. You’ll rarely encounter secrecy or disdain; even the great Ansel Adams wrote several books explaining his photographic techniques.
If you’re the type of person who prefers self-guided learning in photography, this still applies. Ask questions on online forums, email photographers whose work you admire, and otherwise save resources you find valuable. No matter what, don’t stop learning. There’s always more to learn.
Try Something New.
The more you experiment with photography, the more interesting it becomes. It’s easy to fall into a routine and take similar photos over and over, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also important to try something new from time to time.
Give macro photography a shot, or test some new lighting techniques. Branch out to a different post-processing style. Be spontaneous and drive to a location you’ve never photographed before. There are so many ways to try something new in photography, and you won’t regret it if you do.
Usually, you’ll discover something – either a new technique or a personal preference – that you can bring back to your regular photography for good results.
Photography is supposed to be fun. Even professional photographers chose this career, almost without exception, because they enjoy photography. Don’t let that spark die out.
Some of this is down to trying something new, as mentioned earlier – and also continuing to learn new skills. But it’s also about not taking photography too seriously, or getting caught up in camera equipment at the expense of photography itself.
I see a lot of people online get into heated debates about their choice of camera brand, or a good/bad/opinionated review they see from someone else on the internet. Who cares? All of this is contributing to exactly what you’re trying to avoid – making photography just another annoyance in your life, not a source of happiness or joy.
Instead, think about why you like taking pictures. It’s meaningful; it’s a way to see amazing sights and meet brilliant, creative people. No surprise, the best photographers I know are always the ones who have the most fun with it.